Apple forced to change chargers in Europe as EU approved overhaul

BRUSSELS—Apple will have to change iPhone chargers in the European Union from fall 2024 to comply with new rules introducing a single charging port for most electronic devices.

The reforms, passed overwhelmingly by the European Parliament on Tuesday, are the first of their kind in the world and could strengthen the EU’s role as global standard-setter for telephony. This vote confirmed previous agreements between EU institutions.

New rules will make the USB-C connector used by Android-based devices standard across a block of 27 countries, forcing Apple to change the charging ports on iPhones and other devices.

Many manufacturers are already using USB-C as it will apply to laptops from 2026, but manufacturers will be able to adapt longer.

Apple is expected to be the most affected of the major providers of electronics to European customers, but analysts say shoppers will buy the US company’s new gadgets rather than USB-C-less ones. If you can encourage them to buy, the impact could be positive, he said.

Shares of European semiconductor makers rose Tuesday after the vote, including shares of Apple suppliers STMicro and Infineon.

Analysts say the deal could also affect Samsung, Huawei and other device makers as it also covers e-readers, earphones and other technologies.

Apple, Samsung and Huawei were not immediately available for comment.

Under the reforms, mobile phones and other devices sold after autumn 2024 must be compatible with a single charger, said EU MEP Alex Agius Saliba, who led the reforms in the EU parliament. Stated. However, older chargers are not illegal so that older model chargers can still be used.

The size of the EU market means that new regulations can bring changes to other countries.

phased out

Saliba said at a press conference that outlawing old chargers would have a disproportionate impact on consumers and the environment, but the change is expected to lead to the phasing out of older products. Ru.

By fall 2024, a total of 13 categories of electronics will have to adapt.

Parliament has expanded an original proposal from the EU’s Executive Committee to cover only seven types of devices. Lawmakers also added laptops from 2026.

Apple has warned in the past that the proposal would stifle innovation and create a mountain of electronic gadgets.

The change has been debated for years, and was prompted by complaints from iPhone and Android users that they needed to switch to a different charger for their device.

The European Commission estimates that a single charger could save consumers about €250 million ($247.3 million).

Half of the chargers sold with mobile phones in 2018 had a USB micro-B connector, while 29% had a USB-C connector and 21% had the Lightning connector used by Apple. I was.

Bloomberg reported in May that Apple was working on an iPhone with a USB-C charging port that could debut next year.

The European Commission has also been mandated by parliamentarians to assess the possibility of regulating wireless charging, but EU officials have said the technology is not yet mature, and no decision has yet been made. I said no.

($1 = 1.0106 EUR)

Francesco Guaracio