Categories: MobilitySmartphones

Apple ‘Asks For Rethink’ On India Universal Charger Rules

Apple has told Indian authorities that it will be difficult to reach local production targets if the country drives through broad implementation of a universal charger rule in mid-2025 as planned, according to a report.

The European Union is requiring all mobile phones to use a universal USB-C charging port by December 2024, and India wants the requirement implemented domestically six months later, in June 2025.

The requirement is intended to reduce e-waste and costs for consumers, but affect Apple more than other manufacturers as it offers a proprietary Lightning charging and data-transfer port on most iPhone models.

In a private meeting on 28 November chaired by India’s IT ministry Apple asked officials to exempt existing iPhone models from the rules, Reuters reported.

Domestic production

Otherwise the company said it would struggle to meet domestic production targets under the country’s production-linked incentive (PLI) scheme, which offers incentives aimed at expanding the  domestic manufacture of products such as consumer electronics and electric vehicles.

Apple suppliers including Foxconn have used the scheme as they expand iPhone manufacturing in the country.

“If the regulation is implemented on earlier models of mobile phones, they (Apple) will not be able to meet the PLI targets,” the minutes of the meeting reportedly, quoting Apple’s regulatory and product compliance executives.

Apple reportedly did not quantify the production impact at the meeting, with the IT ministry deciding to review the request and reach a decision later.

Key market

Only the new iPhone 15 offers the new charging port, with older models continuing to be manufactured with the proprietary port. Apple said at the meeting the design of the older models could not be changed, according to meeting minutes.

The company reportedly told officials it wants existing models to be exempted from the charging port compliance deadline, but would need until mid-2026 to comply if not.

Apple has expanded its market share in India to 6 percent from about 2 percent four years ago, but consumers in the country typically buy older models, whose prices typically drop with new product launches.

India is seen as a key emerging market for Apple after China, both for its expanding base of smartphone consumers and as a manufacturing hub.

The company has sought to diversify production away from China in recent years and Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo estimated iPhone manufacturing in India could rise from 12-14 percent this year to as much as 25 percent in 2024.

Matthew Broersma

Matt Broersma is a long standing tech freelance, who has worked for Ziff-Davis, ZDnet and other leading publications

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