The European Parliament has overwhelmingly voted in favor of a new law that will compel manufacturers, including Apple Inc., to equip all portable electronics devices sold across the European Union with a USB-C charging port.
The rule, which passed the Europen Parliament by a vote of 602 in favor and 13 against with eight abstentions, does not apply to mobile phones alone. The rule applies also applies to tablets, digital cameras, headphones and headsets, handheld video game consoles and portable speakers, e-readers, keyboards, mice, portable navigation systems, earbuds and laptops that are rechargeable via a wired cable.
Exceptions to the rule apply for devices that are too small for a USB-C port, such as health trackers, smart watches and some sports equipment. For exempted devices, companies must clearly label the devices to inform consumers that the device does not use USB-C.
The vote in the European Parliament does not make the rule official, with the proposal now going to the European Council for a final vote. However, given the overwhelming support, the council vote is considered by some to now be a forgone conclusion.
Proposals to force a common charging standard on manufacturers in the EU go back nearly a decade but finally became a solid proposal in September 2021. At the time, European Commission Executive Vice President Margrethe Vestager said that consumers “were frustrated long enough about incompatible chargers piling up in their drawers” and that the EU had given the industry “plenty of time to come up with their own solutions.”
The rule, as it stands, would require the adoption of USB-C by the end of 2024.
“We have waited more than ten years for these rules, but we can finally leave the current plethora of chargers in the past,” European Parliament member Alex Agius Saliba, said in a statement. “This future-proof law allows for the development of innovative charging solutions in the future and it will benefit everyone – from frustrated consumers to our vulnerable environment.”
Knowing that the rule was coming, Apple has been rumored to be looking to switch to USB-C on iPhones since 2019, with a report in May claiming that iPhones with USB-C charging were likely in 2023. Apple already offers USB-C charging on a number of iPad and MacBook models.
The new EU rules do not apply to using USB-C cables alone with standards also set for fast charging. Under the rules, all devices that support fast charging have to have the same charging speed, allowing users to charge their devices at the same speed with any compatible chargers.