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Apple could be forced to ditch the Lightning port as MEPs call for a “common charger for all devices”

To reduce electronic waste, MEPs want binding measures for chargers to fit all mobile phones and other portable devices

The days of Apple’s Lightning connector could be numbered after members of the European Parliament submitted proposals for a common charger for all mobiles. 

While the majority of gadgets are charged via USB – micro USB and USB Type-C being the most common – the majority of Apple’s most recent iPhones and iPads use its proprietary Lightning connector.  

As part of the 2014 Radio Equipment Directive, EU lawmakers called for a common charger to be developed and gave the Commission powers to pursue this. Then on Monday, the directive was debated by MEPs.

 “To reduce electronic waste and make consumers’ life easier, MEPs want binding measures for chargers to fit all mobile phones and other portable devices,” the briefing explains.

“The Commission’s approach of ‘encouraging’ industry to develop common chargers fell short of the co-legislators’ objectives. The voluntary agreements between different industry players have not yielded the desired results.”

The MEPs added that, according to estimates, old chargers generate more than 51,000 tonnes of electronic waste per year and they are now insisting a common charging standard be introduced that fits all mobile phones, tablets, e-book readers and other portable devices. A vote will be held on a yet-to-be-determined date. 

Apple has previously said that the proposed regulation would “stifle innovation and be disruptive to consumers” but it recently moved away from exclusively using Lightning connectors with the launch of the 2019 iPad Pro.

This iPad uses a USB-C cable, as does Apple’s recent range of MacBooks. 

If the vote is passed, it would mean Apple would be forced to comply – but only in Europe. It could also see an increased focus on wireless charging too, in which charging ports could be removed completely.  

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