Under a provisional agreement, the European Union will require technology companies to incorporate a common charging port, USB Type-C, in all smartphones and tablets by 2024 and laptops by 2026.
The move leaves Apple, which has bucked the shift to the more common USB-C in favor of the Lightning cable, with no choice but to change the charging point on its new devices if the technology company wants to sell them in the EU.
Apple’s biggest competitor, Android, and a host of other technology companies already use the USB Type-C charging ports on devices.
The European Parliament and Council settled on the law Tuesday, noting in a statement that the agreement is an amendment to the Radio Equipment Directive that requires a single charging solution for certain small- and medium-sized portable devices.
The law, which will need to be formally approved, is part of a larger initiative the EU has been working toward to become more sustainable and less wasteful. Parliament said the move is also intended to benefit the consumer who will “no longer need a different charging device and cable every time they purchase a new device, and can use one single charger.”
According to Reuters, Apple said in earlier statements that the change in charging ports would stifle innovation and cause waste from devices that have outdated charging ports and the cords that would no longer work with changed devices.
The article noted that analysts said the move could, however, contribute to Apple’s bottom line by encouraging Europeans to buy new devices that would support the new USB Type-C charging port rather than seek used or older devices from resellers.
According to Bloomberg, Apple has already been working on a new iPhone equipped with a USB Type-C charging port.
Parliament alleges the new agreement to shift to a standardized charging port will save Europeans 250 million euros ($267 million) a year, as chargers will work on devices like mobile phones, tablets, earbuds, digital cameras, and portable speakers.
The Washington Post reported that iPhones were the most widely used smartphones in both Germany and France, the top two biggest economic countries in the EU.
“European consumers were frustrated long with multiple chargers piling up with every new device. Now they will be able to use a single charger for all their portable electronics. We are proud that laptops, e-readers, earbuds, keyboards, computer mice, and portable navigation devices are also included in addition to smartphones, tablets, digital cameras, headphones and headsets, handheld videogame consoles and portable speakers,” Parliament’s rapporteur Alex Agius Saliba (S&D, MT), said in the statement.
“We have also added provisions on wireless charging being the next evolution in the charging technology and improved information and labeling for consumers,” Saliba added.