MEPs vote for universal phone connection and an end to Apple Lightning

MEPs vote for universal phone port and ban on Apple Lightning connection
(Image credit: Apple)

Members of the European Parliament have voted in favour of introducing a single charging connection for mobile phones, going against Apple's wishes to keep using its own Lightning port.

The resolution passed with 582 votes in favour to 40 against, reports the BBC. MEPs will now urge the European Commission (EC) to adopt the new rules.

Last week, the EU called for Apple to abandon its Lightning connection and adopt a common charger, and now a vote has reinforced that belief.

Apple responded to the vote with a statement: "Regulations that would drive conformity across the type of connector built into all smartphones freeze innovation rather than encourage it. Such proposals are bad for the environment and unnecessarily disruptive for customers.

"More than one billion Apple devices have shipped using a Lightning connector in addition to an entire ecosystem of accessory and device manufacturers who use Lightning to serve our collective customers.

"We want to ensure that any new legislation will not result in the shipment of any unnecessary cables or external adaptors with every device, or render obsolete the devices and accessories used by many millions of Europeans and hundreds of millions of Apple customers worldwide."

Members of EU Parliament have been campaigning for a common charger for over a decade, with mixed success. Now, the European Commission is being encouraged to force electronics companies to adopt a universal charging type, with the USB-C port used by Android phones the most likely choice. 

Apple, meanwhile, insists that regulation isn't necessary as the industry is already moving to USB-C through a connector or cable assembly. Indeed, the firm's iPad Pro already boasts a USB-C charging port.

Apple has even commissioned a study that claims that consumer harm from a regulatory-mandated move to a common charger would cost at least 1.5 billion euros, outweighing the 13 million euros in associated environmental benefits.

An ultimate solution could, in fact, come from Cupertino. Apple is said to be developing an iPhone for 2020 that will use only wireless charging. Problem solved.


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  • scene
    Personally I think both sides of the argument are bogus. There's plenty of adapters for usb-c to lightning and lightning to usb-c and they're are options (like I use) where you get cables with magnetic ends and plugs that go into your device, which remove one of the biggest points of failures on devices (the power socket, or even pulling it off the table and breaking the screen).
    People will still throw away tons of cables, as they'll break them - probably the biggest reason cables get thrown out. Making Apple use usb-c sockets won't stifle competition -(think of all those adapters people will be trying to sell...) - but it will stop Apple charging grossly inflated prices for 1m of cable, because it has a proprietary plug on one end.

    Standardisation is a good think for utility items. USB cables have become a utility item. Enough said.
  • jjbomber
    scene said:
    - but it will stop Apple charging grossly inflated prices for 1m of cable, because it has a proprietary plug on one end.

    Cr-Apple will be selling super-duper expensive adaptors on the back of this, before forcing people to 'upgrade' to their new models with usb-c. This is a huge cash cow for Cr-Apple and they are secretly thrilled to bits by the ruling.
  • simonali
    I bet CrApple do away with it altogether and just have induction charging on all their phones.

    I really don't get their beef anyway. Their laptops already use USB-C, don't they? And they've always been a massive pain for introducing and then discarding connectors anyway, so it serves'em right!
  • laftyjabs
    Surely the big win is to make any cables optional at purchase. I have a drawer full of cables for everything from bike lights to baby monitors! So even if Apple phones came with USB-C they would still go in the drawer.