EU Vote Could Change Global Smartphone Market Forever
The global mobile phone market could be set for a major overhaul if the European Union votes to force all new devices to adopt a ‘common charger’, which could massively affect iPhone maker Apple, still clinging to the 8-pin MFi Lightning connector.
‘One mobile phone charger for all’ campaign has been in the works for the last ten years, with an estimated 500 million phones being used in Europe in 2009.
Currently, the three major connectors in use around the world are micro USB, USB Type-C and Apple’s Lightning connector.
According to the EU, in 2009 there were over 30 different connector types.
Many major brands including Samsung and LG have already adopted the USB-C connector type, with many other devices switching from micro-USB.
Apple, however, is fighting against the vote, as they believe the forced adoption of a common charger will stifle innovation and lead to further eWaste.
Although if rumours about a wireless connection iPhone are to be believed, then perhaps Apple may skip the USB-C revolution altogether, despite incorporating the port on a number of their devices.
Senior Government Affairs Manager for Apple, Claire Darmon, told the EU that such regulations would ‘freeze innovation rather than encourage it’.
‘Such proposals are bad for the environment and unnecessarily disruptive for customers’.
The argument stands in direct contrast with the EU who are looking to ‘reduce electronic waste and make consumers’ life easier’.
‘MEPs want binding measures for chargers to fit all mobile phones and other portable devices’ the EU explained in a statement regarding the potential vote.
According to EU estimates, ‘old chargers generate more than 51,000 tonnes of electronic waste per year’.
EU parliament member Petra De Sutter took aim at Apple saying, ‘we cannot let the interests of private profits overrule the interests of the people and the planet’.
‘We need to seize that opportunity and come with a sustainable solution as fast as possible’.
While no vote has been officially set, the EU has set the matter aside for a ‘future session’.
The commission is planning a ‘legislative approach’ to the issue, with Commissioner Maros Sefcovic surprised at the ‘unanimous opinion in the debate’.