Apple Hit hardest?
A proposal set by the European Union could mean that devices such as smartphones, tablets, handheld games consoles and cameras will be required to use a standard USB-C charger in an attempt to reduce e-waste.
The new rules have said that it would add a new level of convenience to charging and it would mean that the production and disposal impact of these chargers would be reduced as there is already around 11,000 tonnes of this kind of equipment ditched every year in the EU.
However, the law would also require manufacturers to offer new devices without chargers as most common households will already have a USB-C charger in the household. If they make the switch to a common charger, it would mean that e-waste would be reduced by 1,000 tonnes on an annual basis in Europe although this would still leave 10,000 tonnes of waste. The legislation will not impact the likes of large devices such as laptops.
A recent study by the World Health Organisation estimates that the increase in e-waste over the years has had a serious effect on the health of millions of children around the world.
The majority of smartphones sold around the world already use USB-C technology but there are those companies that don’t, such as Apple. As a result, these companies are now resisting this change with Apple saying that the strict regulation stipulating that one type of connector should be offered only works to stifle innovation as opposed to encouraging it and that will have an impact on consumers around the world.
Apple: Thinking Differently
Apple is known for doing things differently, especially when it comes to developing different connectors. In 2007, when the first iPhone was launched, it came with a 30-pin connector that was designed by the company itself.
Most other smartphones at the time used a Micro USB. Then, in 2012, the company replaced this connector with another invention which they called the Lightning Port, this was symmetrical in design, making it possible to plug in the cable either way. In contrast, other USB cables could only be used in a certain way although the USB-C connector soon followed suit with a similar design.
EU legislation that could come into force in the future could mean that new standards are adopted although there is no provision for this in the newly proposed regulations. If there was to be any change, it would be likely that these changes would be slower than if tech companies were able to make changes or developments whenever they wished.
So, suggestions have been made that tech companies will be given two years to make the change to USB-C although Apple has claimed that it has concerns that the switch is too fast even though it releases new models every year. It argues that older models of its phones still remain on sale as they provide a cheaper alternative for customers. So, it is likely that any change would only be implemented on models that are sold around the world instead of manufacturing models that would be considered different in the EU.
Like this story? – Why not check out another story about Apple – HERE!