What you need to know
- The European Union recently established a new policy for a common smartphone charger by 2024.
- This would require companies to use USB-C with small and medium-sized electronics such as smartphones, tablets, and other devices.
- U.S. senators are urging the Department of Commerce to establish a similar policy for the country.
It looks like more regions are looking to take after the EU’s example in making our lives easier by establishing a standard charging port. A letter to the U.S. Department of Commerce on Thursday urges for there to be a similar policy in the United States.
The letter, penned by two Democratic senators, points out the economic and environmental benefits of switching to a common charging port, noting the inconvenience of dealing with incompatible chargers.
“In our increasingly digital society, consumers frequently must pay for new specialized charging equipment and accessories for their different devices,” the letter states. “This is not merely an annoyance; it can be a financial burden. The average consumer owns approximately three mobile phone chargers, and around 40 percent of consumers report that, on at least one occasion, they ‘could not charge their mobile phone because available chargers were incompatible.'”
“Innovation should benefit consumers. It should not come at their expense, saddle them with incompatible accessories, and compel them to purchase different charging equipment for each device they own.”
The letter specifically cites the new EU policy, which would require devices — including iPhones — to adopt USB-C by 2024. This means Lightning would likely be phased out with each generation of iPhone as consumers upgrade their phones to newer models, requiring them to switch to USB-C cables. And while the letter doesn’t specifically name USB-C, it will likely be the obvious choice if/when the U.S. draws up similar legislation.
Apple has been openly against the move to switch to USB-C on its iPhones, despite utilizing the port on its other devices, arguing that it would hinder innovation. However, analysts agree that it’s time to get with the program and that it makes sense to enforce this change, especially given that Apple uses two different ports across its devices.