USB-C mandatory across the European Union! Is Europe at war with Apple?
A rather high-profile legislative effort is certainly not in favor of the Cupertino-based company. Is it a utility convenience or blocking innovation? Is the European Union deliberately playing on the nose of the company founded by Jobs? Hybrid war and war for influence under the guise of cable entry in devices? Today we will consider this issue.
Protocol reports that the European Union wants USB-C to be the only charger in the world. In line with this approach, EU governments have proposed a revised Radio Equipment Directive. The new regulation would make this type of port as standard on all electronic devices such as smartphones, tablets, cameras, headphones, portable speakers and video game consoles. As you can see, the new law doesn’t literally cover all electronics, but it’s safe to say that the majority of Apple’s production is taken up by lines dealing with the above. What’s more, the Commission also wants to prevent chargers from being included in the box with these devices. He cites inconvenience to market consumers as official reasons for this, as well as a desire to care for the environment by reducing electronic waste.
Regulators cite universal standard as greater user convenience. Increase accessibility and save resources by reducing competition. Although economically speaking, state interventionism, or perhaps rather a collection of them, is not desirable, and the laws of the free market clearly prohibit one-product-one-solution situations. Most important in the rhetoric of the European patriarchs, however, is the availability of cable. Such provisions would limit situations in which people, when asked about a charger, would say that they have another one. Gone are the moments when we look for the lightning connector in tears at the one percent battery life in winter. According to Protocol, the Commission is confident that in the last ten years the number of available cell phone chargers has fallen from 30 to just three. Presumably the cables are USB-C, Micro USB and the Lightning port of the iPhone. As you can see, it wants to get rid of most of it through new legislation.
E-waste as an environmental problem
Unifying the type of port for phones is not the only idea of the Commission. There is also a proposal to separately sell chargers for each new electronic device. This will supposedly have a positive effect on prices, save resources and reduce electro-waste. Interestingly, you don’t see much talk of reducing the carbon footprint, as was the case when Apple abandoned attaching chargers to its products. Probably in the face of the outcry raised by users about the futility of such a translation. After all, packing chargers and transporting them separately generates much more emission footprints than the previous method. It is puzzling that the very Commission that quacks about environmentalism does not heed the attention. Perhaps e-waste is a more serious problem.
– Let’s empty our drawers full of unnecessary chargers! On average, an EU citizen produces 16 kg of electro-waste each year. With a unified charger we will be able to significantly reduce the amount of waste Róża Thun, a former PO MEP and co-author of a resolution on this issue, said.
Telepolis points out that the European Commission has calculated that European consumers bought 420 million cell phones and other portable electronics in 2020. At the same time they were issuing 11k. tons of electro-waste. Protocol confirms these figures by adding a statement from Margrethe Vestager, in which she noted that “European consumers were frustrated by incompatible chargers piling up in their drawers.”. Nearly 40 percent of. consumers once experienced a situation where they could not charge their cell phone due to the lack of a compatible connector nearby. EU officials also claim that Europeans may spend as much as 250 million euros a year on the purchase of chargers, which in light of the new regulations may turn out to be unnecessary.
War on Apple?
USB Type-C is the best choice possible because of its capabilities. However, it is not desirable for countries to interfere with the market in aspects such as hardware and innovation. It sounds like an oxymoron for old political structures to decide how modern devices should be designed. In addition, wireless charging technology, e.g. in the form of induction is still in development. Although the EU called this evanescence as “an emerging technology with low market fragmentation”.
“We are concerned that strict regulations mandating only one type of connector are stifling innovation rather than encouraging it, which in turn will hurt consumers in Europe and around the world,” – reported Apple in a statement to CNN, which unfortunately as Mobile Trends Editors we have to agree with.
Some will grin and say that soon the company with the logo of the bitten apple will not have a single port in the armor of their products. Although looking at what regression iPhones have been in lately and how long we’ve been waiting for the Apple Car, we’ll see what the future brings.
Part of a hybrid war?
It sounds absurd, but willy-nilly, one can conclude that as Europe we are in the midst of a trade war with the Americans. There is already dialogue in the political arena about wanting to mitigate it. A suggestion came to mind, bearing in mind how the US banned Huawei in the face of an escalation between the two superpowers. Europe may be flexing its muscles in a similar way with Apple. However, I would put this statement between fairy tales, and treat it as a loose analogy with even humorous overtones. In reference to the topic of hybrid conflicts, there are a whole bunch of those in the world, and as residents of the country on the Vistula River, we experience such actions ourselves. Many analysts see the current actions of Polish politicians as an escalation of these.
Why we mention it? Well, a good portion of such acts are related to mobile technology activities, cyber security and artificial intelligence activities. As a society we should pay more and more attention to what is happening in the world, because not everything is as it seems at first glance. Let’s ask more questions and analyze reality in search of answers. Coming back to ports and imposing restrictions in this aspect. The idea seems to be worth attention, but state regulations should not be dominant for technology development.