USB Type-C charging and data delivery port must for all major electronic devices, rules EU: One cable to rule them all?

USB Type-C Port European Comission Apple Inc. iPhone Lightning Cable
One port to charge them all? Pic credit: Maurizio Pesce/Flickr

The European Commission has decided that USB Type-C port should become a common standard for charging and data delivery across the European Union. The EU had previously released a similar mandate with a Micro USB port.

The EU has announced plans to harmonize and standardize the charging and data delivery port. Needless to mention, the European Commission may have once again managed to upset Apple Inc. The company is steadfastly holding onto its own proprietary “Lightning” port.

All major consumer electronics with rechargeable batteries will need to have a USB Type-C port, recommends European Commission:

The European Commission has announced it intends to bring in new legislation, dubbed ‘Radio Equipment Directive’ to mandate USB Type-C ports on all consumer electronic devices. The regulation is currently limited to the European market; however, it could obviously set a global mandate.

Needless to mention, at the heart of ruling, are smartphones. However, the rules will apply to other devices like tablets, headphones, portable speakers, videogame consoles, and cameras.

The legislation could make it illegal to sell consumer electronic devices that lack a USB Type-C port. Incidentally, the legislation would not prevent devices from having additional ports for charging. However, they will need to have a UBS Type-C port that will accept charging.

The new legislature also recommends shipping electronic devices without a power brick. Additional mandates reportedly include a “harmonized” standard for a fast-charging technology. Incidentally, some companies have already started selling smartphones without power bricks to reduce waste and cut costs.

To become law, the revised Radio Equipment Directive proposal will need to pass a vote in the European Parliament. If adopted, manufacturers will eventually have 24 months to comply with the new rules.

Interestingly, the law currently restricts itself to devices receiving power. The commission plans to mandate even power bricks or charge delivery equipment to have a USB Type-C port in the near future.

Apple could still wriggle out of the new Radio Equipment Directive:

It is amply clear that the proposal to mandate a USB Type-C port for charging will have the biggest impact on Apple Inc. The iPhone maker has long fought such regulations, recommendations, and guidelines.

Apple Inc. still continues to ship an iPhone with a Lightning port for charging and data transfer. Strangely, an Apple iPhone is currently the only mainstream Apple-branded device that sports a proprietary port.

Apple has begun shipping MacBooks, Mac PCs, and even iPad tablets with a USB Type-C port for charging and data transfer. It is not immediately clear why the company refuses to abandon the Lightning port in favor of the USB-C port.

Apple Inc. does offer a USB Type-C to Lightning port adapter. However, the company could still circumvent the potential piece of legislature.

The EU exempts devices that purely rely on wireless charging from having a USB Type-C port. Hence, Apple Inc. could simply start manufacturing an iPhone that’s completely devoid of any ports. Future iPhone models could only accept wireless charging.

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