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Universal charger, the EU ultimatum to Apple

By Giacomo Martiradonna Monday 24 February 2020

ue-apple-charger-universale.jpgFebruary 24, 2020 update Update: Following the failure of the 2009 recommendations to try to bring the market independently to a single connector, the EU returns to speak on the subject, and it does so with a vote that could have profound repercussions on Apple and other global smartphone manufacturers. With a result of 582 votes against 40, the Commission approved a new Radio Equipment Directive in which it offers "renewed efforts to develop a common charger"; a position that Apple rejects with the objection that would limit user convenience and innovation, without a real environmental impact. We do not know how to evolve the situation, but for the moment the options on the plate would provide for the adoption of USB-C on the device (with the consequent abandonment of Lightning) and on the charger.

Despite an explicit initial aversion, in 2009 Apple was convinced to sign the letter of intent that would lead to a universal charging port for all mobile devices on the European market.

The reason behind these pressures was the willingness of regulators to make charging smartphones and tablets more convenient with aone cable the same for everyone; it would have lowered the costs for the end user and above all would have given a sigh of relief to the planet, reducing the environmental impact due to the production and disposal of the chargers.

At the time, Apple and the others had agreed to find a shared, Micro-USB-based solution by 2011; senonch, in Cupertino they introduced the Lightning door, and in 2012 everything simply fell by the wayside.

And it is not surprising that things went like this, given the turnover that revolves around the accessories Made for iPhone. But the EU has an elephant's memory, and is now back on the attack, assuming to force producers to honor their commitments by law.

And true, as someone points out, that the technology is advancing rapidly, and that if we had adopted the Micro USB at the time, we would have delayed the launch and diffusion of USB-C, a superior standard in all respects (which all – except Apple, as usual – are already spontaneously adopting). But the EU has never vetoed this or that standard, and nothing forbade companies from making one technologically improved counter-proposal. The spirit that animates the law is not the Micro-USB in itself, but theadoption of a common standard.

Which does not happen for sinister economic return, in spite of the containment of user costs and the protection of the environment. a bit of a bipolar behavior: on the one hand expensive Unibody metal chassis instead of plastic, and on the other glued batteries that cannot be replaced; on the one hand only recycled materials and on the other index of subzero repairability. as if the green soul of the apple were leaving with alternate plates.

To us, honestly, the EU proposal seems like an excellent idea: what do you think? Tell us in the comments, on Twitter or on our Facebook page.