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Current Affairs

EU rules on common chargers

Date: 27 September 2021 Tags: IT, Mobile & Computers

Issue

To force manufacturers of mobile phones and other electronic devices to develop a common charging structure, the European Commission (EC) has proposed a new rule.

 

Background

Buying of chargers and other charging related equipments constitute a major part of electronics waste in the region.

 

Details

  • The biggest effect of the move would be felt by Apple, which will have to redesign its flagship phones to comply with the rules.

  • The rules apply to consumer electronics devices like smartphones and tablets that will be sold within the 27-nation bloc. 

  • Once the rule comes into action, companies will be forced to use USB-C as the common standard for almost all phones and other small mobile electronic devices. 

  • The voting in favour of adopting a common adaption charger has already taken place in the EU Parliament in 2020. It will be debated before formal legislation.

 

The law

  • The legislation will be named revised Radio Equipment Directive proposal and the companies will have 24 months to make necessary changes.

  • The proposal will also ask companies to use fast charging technology while designing their product.  Charging standards suitable for the device has to be mentioned for customers.

  • The legislation is in favour of unbundling chargers from new devices. This will affect smartphones, gaming consoles, tablets, music speakers etc.

 

USB-C

  • Universal Serial Bus is an industry standard for short-distance digital data communications. The USB-C is the latest version of this technology.

  • The port is designed in such a way that cable can be inserted either way. This port allows transmission of data, audio, video and power.

 

Problem for Apple

  • The currently running iPhones make use of Lightning connector for charging instead of the USB-C. However, many latest devices have been upgraded to USB-C port.

  • Once the legislation gets through, iPhone will have to design its power port from scratch. This will be within the rules as well as suitable for customers.

  • Stopping Lightning connector suddenly will affect the accessories business. Many industries survive by manufacturing Apple products and they will be helpless.

 

Options for Apple

  • Apple has two options. Either to switch to USB-C port or develop portless charging, which is currently used by its rival Samsung.

  • Apple already has hinted at wireless by introducing MagSafe, the wireless charging system. This system need not have a lightning conductor.