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Friday, February 21, 2020

Here’s why Apple doesn’t want to switch to USB Type-C

Some members of the European Parliament are showing interest in the fact that all smartphone manufacturers should adopt a universal port, to reduce waste. Apple is opposing this.

Written by Karanveer Singh Arora | New Delhi | Updated: January 27, 2020 8:42:19 am
Apple, Apple Lightning port, common charger for all phones, EU common charger proposal, European Parliament, Apple iPhone charger, USB Type C charger Here’s why Apple is resisting EU on the decision of having a single port on all smartphones. (Image: AP)

Some members of the European Parliament are showing interest in the fact that all smartphone manufacturers should adopt a universal port, to reduce waste. However, Apple is opposing this by saying that this would only create an “unprecedented amount of electronic waste”.

Android smartphone manufacturers have mostly moved to using the Type-C connector port on their devices, with just a few budget variants now coming with the old standard micro-USB connector port. Apple also uses the Type-C port with its iPad Pro lineup and latest MacBooks, which it claims to have shifted, because “professionals” prefer having a Type-C port to connect their accessories too. However, iPhones are still using Apple’s proprietary port.

To recall, European politicians over the better part of the last decade have been campaigning for all manufacturers to use a single type of charging port to maintain consistency. They also give the reason that according to the European Commission almost 51,000 tonnes of electronic waste is generated per year only with obsolete cables.

In a statement Alex Agius Saliba, a European Parliament member, said “this is hugely detrimental for the environment.”

To recall, in 2009, there were over 30 different charger connectors available in the market. Due to which many major tech firms including Apple, Samsung and Nokia voluntarily pledged to provide micro-USB chargers. However, Apple back in 2012 introduced its Lightning port, exploiting a loophole, which allowed companies to design their own ports as long as they offered a micro-USB adaptor for sale.

Why is Apple not wanting to make a switch?

The lightning port makes the company a lot of money. For example, if a user was to break his lightning charging cable (which is very fragile), he can get one from Apple at $19 (approximately Rs 1,355), whereas, a generic USB Type-C cable costs around $1 to $5, which is comparatively cheaper.

Keep in mind a user, unlike a generic USB Type-C cable, cannot purchase a generic Lightning cable as it might not work with his iPhone. Apple has protection mechanisms set into its iPhones, to detect and reject Lightning products if they are not Apple authorised.

Apple in an answer to the European Parliament said it has shipped over a billion devices with Lightning connectors and millions of compatible accessories. Due to which the legislation would disrupt millions of active devices and accessories. It states that if European law-makers force manufacturers to use a single connector it would restrict the advancement of technology.

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