Apple: Why Europe wants to force the tech giant to stop using its “lightning” cable


Lightning, the characteristic connector cable for charging and synchronizing many Apple devices, could have its days counted in Europe.

The members of the European Parliament (the legislative body of the European Union) urged the European Commission (the executive) on Monday to force the technology giants to adopt a universal charging method.

Android devices, for example, use two other charging cables, the USB-C and the micro-USB.

What the legislature wants is that all manufacturers use the same and that users do not have to have different varieties for each device.

European regulators will vote on the matter on a date not yet determined, but Apple says the proposed regulation would stifle innovation and be harmful to consumers.

How likely is it to happen?

If the regulator applies the proposal, Apple devices sold in Europe would need to have a new charging method.

It is likely that Apple adopts the USB-C, taking into account that for the iPad Pro 2019 he opted for this technology and set aside lightning. This is also the type of port that comes in most newly manufactured Android phones.

Another alternative would be to completely eliminate ports and cables and use wireless charging instead.

Why the change?

The European Commission has been campaigning for the last decade to have a single charging method. In 2009, there were more than 30 types of chargers in the market. Now, that number has been reduced to just three. The European regulator is determined to reduce electronic waste generated by obsolete cables, which are estimated to generate more than 51,000 tons of waste every year.

“This is very harmful to the environment,” said European MP Alex Agius Saliba. “A common charger would fit all cell phones, tablets, e-book readers and other portable devices.”

Has this happened before?

Apple, along with 10 other technology leaders such as Nokia and Samsung, signed a memorandum of understanding in 2009. In it, he promised to provide consumers with compatible chargers with micro-USB ports.

However, Apple took advantage of a legal vacuum that allowed it to continue using its own charger cable if it also offered a micro-USB adapter.

In 2014, the European Union approved the “Radio Equipment Directive”, which called for a “renewed effort to develop a common charger.”

Apple insisted that its thinner devices could not adapt to the new USB-C technology. According to the company, meeting the desired standard would cost up to US $ 2 billion.

And the wireless charging?

Apple and many of its rivals, such as Huawei and Samsung, have already launched products that charge their devices wirelessly. Although technology is still in diapers, new developments have made it now able to compete with traditional loading methods. Some analysts even predict that Apple could completely eliminate its charging ports and, in the future, launch iPhone and iPad models that rely solely on wireless charging.