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Could Universal Chargers Be On Their Way? MEP’s Vote

Members of the European Parliament have voted for a single universal charging solution for small portable devices, despite Apple cautioning against the move.

The resolution was passed with 582 votes in favour to 40 against. MEPs are now set to urge the European Commission (EC) to take up the new rules.

The MEPs want consumers to be able to use a single charger for all smartphone and tablet models, instead of multiple different cables which are currently used in the market.

But it won’t be easy – the devices themselves still use different ports to each other.

The motive behind the move is to ‘decouple’ the sale of a charger for a new device and instead enable consumers to re-use those they already own.

Global tech giants have long been scrutinised for charging their charging cords and have been accused of deliberately redesigning new ports and models just to make a profit from reselling new products.

Currently, Apple packages its iPhones with charging plugs that have a USB-A port for their Lightning cables.

But by contrast, some Android phones, including Google’s Pixel 4, come with a wall charger that features a smaller USB-C port to be used with a corresponding USB-C cable.

Apple also sells a calbe that has a USB-C connector at one end and on the other end a Lightning, meaning the company could easily switch its adaptors to the new technology.

It’s high-tier smartphone, the iPhone 11 Pro Max, comes bundled with a USB-C power adaptor, in fact.

(Photo by Alex Milan Tracy/Sipa USA)

However, the move would also mean that most existing Lightning cables, and other types of cable with USB-A connections, would require an adaptor to work with the new chargers under the changes.

For the past decade, European politicians have campaigned for a common standard of chargers, with the EC estimating that obsolete cables generate over 51,000 tonnes of waste every year.

But they did acknowledge that the situation has improved from the past, when some proprietary charging cables came hard-wired to their plugs, making the adaptor redundant beyond using it with the device it was purchased with.

(Photo by Alex Milan Tracy/Sipa USA)

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