Apple’s developer conference may be overshadowed by possible EU agreement for common charging port for all mobile devices
Apple management could be facing an unwelcome distraction this week ahead of its annual developer’s conference, WWDC 2022.
Reuters reported that EU nations and lawmakers this week are set to finally agree on a common charging port for mobile phones, tablets and headphones sold in the bloc.
The fight to ensure a common charging port for both Android and Apple devices has been a very long one, lasting over a decade.
Indeed, the issue of a universal (or common) charger has been on the EU agenda for 13 years, after the majority of smartphone manufacturers (including Apple) adopted the voluntary Micro-USB standard back in 2009.
The final micro-USB design charger was officially agreed in 2010 with ten mobile phone makers including Apple, Samsung, Huawei and Nokia (remember them?), so that they could standardise their chargers for new models of smartphones coming into the market in 2011.
But that ambition and timeframe was never achieved, and in 2014 the European Parliament gave its formal support for an universal charger for smartphones, tablets and other portable electronics.
Apple however had already introduced its 8 pin Lightning connector in back in September 2012 (with the iPhone 5) to save space on its previous 30 pin connector design.
And the iPad maker took advantage of a loophole in the European Union 2010 agreement (it was only a voluntary memorandum of understanding) to carry on using its Lightning connector, which are still in use on all iPhone models.
Apple has opposed the EU charging port move for a while now.
It insists the EU proposal will create a mountain of waste if consumers were forced to switch to new chargers.
But the change looks inevitable after the European Parliament’s Internal Market and Consumer Protection Committee in April officially agreed with the Commission’s proposal on the common charger, paving the way for an assembly vote.
And now Reuters has reported, citing people familiar with the matter, that EU nations and lawmakers are to meet this week to discuss the proposal.
The meeting is slated for Tuesday, the day that Apple’s annual WWDC 2022 conference is slated to begin, where many changes are expected to be unveiled for the iPhone and iPad operating systems.
The EU lawmakers are also seeking a 2025 deadline for a harmonisation of wireless charging systems.
This is likely to less controversial for Apple, as it finally included a wireless charging capability based on the existing Qi standard, with its iPhone 8 handsets back in 2017.
Apple’s late arrival to wireless charging in 2017, came after the technology had been around for almost a decade prior to that – most notably it was one of the main selling points of Nokia’s ill-fated Lumia range.