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EU Could Force Apple To Accept Universal Charger

Steve McCaskill is editor of TechWeekEurope and ChannelBiz. He joined as a reporter in 2011 and covers all areas of IT, with a particular interest in telecommunications, mobile and networking, along with sports technology.

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EU committee votes to end ‘mobile chaos’ by introducing universal charger

Apple could be forced to abandon its eight-pin ‘Lightning’ charger in Europe after MEPs voted unanimously to adopt a single universal charger for smartphones and tablets in the EU.

All 35 members of the EU’s Internal Market and Consumer Protection Committee said radio equipment devices and their accessories, including chargers, should be interoperable, and have proposed new rules that would make a universal charger obligatory.

“We urge member states and manufacturers finally to introduce a universal charger, to put an end to cable chaos for mobile phones and tablet computers”, said the committee’s rapporteur, German MEP Barbara Weiler.

Universal charger

Apple lightningThe majority of smartphone manufacturers already support such a proposal, with the MicroUSB standard adopted by the EU back in 2010. But Apple continues to use its eight-pin proprietary connection and could be forced to comply.

The iPhone manufacturer had not responded to TechWeekEurope’s request for comment at the time of publication.

While a universal charger would undoubtedly make things easier for consumers, it could also have a positive impact on the environment.

Operator O2 estimates there are 100 million unnecessary chargers in the UK, amounting to 18,700 tonnes of components, 124,274 miles of copper wire and plastic covering and the volume of landfill required if they were thrown away would be enough to fill four Olympic swimming pools.

It has launched the ‘chargers out of the box’ programme which has seen it ship a number of smartphones without a charger, claiming the majority of users already have the required equipment. Users can still purchase a charger separately from O2 at a discounted price, but the operator says 82 percent have decided the provided USB cable is all they need.

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