The European Commission has announced new plans for legislation today that will require all mobile devices, including smartphones, tablets, cameras, headphones, portable speakers and handheld video game consoles, to conform to the USB Type-C standard for charging.
This goal is to reduce e-waste from a large number of differing chargers, and may also have the added benefit of ending those times when you can't find the right charger for your phone at a friend's house. The transition period will be 24 months once the European Parliament passes the new regulation.
Fortunately, the move to Type-C has already become mainstream with most smartphones incorporate Type-C for charging already. The same can be said of tablets, USB headphones, and speakers as well. So once the legislation is set in motion, all major device manufacturers should be ready for it.
What About the IPhone?
However, this leaves one major player left to make the transition, iPhones. Apple is still using its home-brewed Lightning port, years after most smartphone manufacturers made the transition to Type-C. Of course, many Apple customers own these cables, as well as accessories that use the connector.
MacRumors believe Apple has no plans to switch to type-C any time soon. If anything, we might see a completely wireless iPhone before Type-C comes to the phone.
It's possible Apple can sell an adapter for future iPhones to allow charging with Type-C chargers to comply with the legislation, though we don't know for sure how that would work with the proposal. Apple could also accelerate its wireless plans and make all iPhones fully wireless by 2023. Or, Apple could simply compromise fully and change plans by making a Type-C iPhone.
Fast Charging Uniformity:
Along with the Type-C uniformity, the Commission is also proposing a harmonized fast charging technology that will be compatible with all Type-C chargers and devices to ensure charging speeds will be the same when charging any device. If we had to guess, this will probably be related to Qualcomm's Quick Charge technology which is already very popular in the mobile landscape.
The Commission is also proposing unbundling charging bricks from smartphone sales to further reduce e-waste. This is something Apple is already doing with its iPhones and Samsung is doing with Galaxy smartphones.
The final proposal is to improve information pertaining to charging statistics for both devices and chargers. The Commission wants to make details perfectly clear on how fast your device charges and whether or not it supports fast charging.
According to the Commission, over 11,000 tonnes of chargers are wasted every single year from incompatibility problems and consumer reports say that at least 38% of people have problems finding or buying the right charger in the first place.
For now, this legislation only applies to the European Union, but we wouldn't be surprised to see other countries following suit with similar agendas down the line.