The European Commission is planning legislation to introduce a universal charging cable for all mobile phones, tablets and other electronic devices, it announced on Wednesday.
The long-awaited move is intended to avoid the massive electronic waste that results from every household having dozens of cables.
The market has undergone massive change in the past decade and now only three of the several dozen types of jacks used 10 years ago remain: the now largely obsolete Micro-USB, the newer USB-C and Apple’s thinner Lightning connectors.
The European Parliament called on the commission to introduce uniform charging technology at the beginning of 2020, though the issue has long been in the sights of EU institutions.
In 2009, 14 mobile phone manufacturers – among them Apple – agreed on a uniform standard for power supply units in a voluntary commitment brokered under pressure from the commission.
Since then, however, consumers have waited in vain for a standardized jack.
The proposal is bad news for Apple, which wants to retain its own Lightning connector, currently built into all iPhones and some iPads.
Apple argues that the forced mothballing of the Lightning connector would create a huge amount of additional electronic waste, the opposite of the proposal’s entire goal.
Apple no longer includes a power adapter with its current iPhone models as most households already have them. The EU said it would also be looking at whether all devices should be sold without charging cables in the future.