It is a European directive that Apple does not like.
The European Commission wants to impose a universal charger for mobile phones and other small electronic devices, in the name of consumer rights and the environment, according to a draft regulation unveiled on Thursday.
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The directive proposed by the EU executive, which will have to be approved by MEPs and member states, aims to harmonize charging ports for smartphones, tablets, cameras, headphones, speakers and handheld game consoles. "This regulation would stifle innovation instead of encouraging it and would harm consumers in Europe," responded Apple.
This project had been launched in 2009 by the Commission, and was the subject in January 2020 of a resolution of the European Parliament, but it has so far encountered strong reluctance from the industry - and this although the number of existing types of chargers has been greatly reduced over the years.
From around thirty in 2009, they have grown to three: the Micro USB connector, which has long equipped the majority of telephones, USB-C, a more recent connection, and the Lightning used by Apple.
"A victory for consumers and the environment"
The EU now wants to impose the USB-C port on all electronic devices, which would make it possible to use any charger indifferently, while the harmonization of the technologies used will guarantee the same speed of charging - which can currently be clamped when used with a device of a different make.
Logically, Brussels intends to decouple the sale of electronic devices and chargers: "A victory for consumers and the environment (...) Europeans are fed up with incompatible chargers piling up in their drawers", declared the Commissioner European Competition Officer, Margrethe Vestager, quoted in a press release.
"It is time to put an end to this sea serpent," added Internal Market Commissioner Thierry Breton at a press conference.
Apple, which claims that its Lightning technology equips more than a billion devices across the globe, immediately reiterated its opposition: “This regulation would stifle innovation instead of encouraging it and would harm consumers in Europe and elsewhere. the world, ”the Cupertino group said in a statement to AFP.
The firm at the apple, which estimated last year that such legislation would generate "an unprecedented volume of electronic waste" by making obsolete some of the chargers in circulation, is alarmed by the proposed 24-month transition, judged precipitated, and the upheaval of its current recycling channels.
The Commission retorts that European consumers, who spend around 2.4 billion euros per year on purchases of chargers alone, could save at least 250 million euros annually, and that waste from unused chargers, valued at 11 000 tonnes per year, could be reduced by almost 1000 tonnes.
Brussels also ensures that technological innovation is preserved - in particular in wireless charging techniques, precisely excluded from the draft directive because they are still considered to be largely developing in a market that is currently "not very fragmented".