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European Union launches single charger from 2024 (including Apple)

End of incompatible chargers clutter boxes? According to the agreement reached on Tuesday, June 7, between Member States and MEPs, the EU will introduce from 2024 a universal wired charger for smartphones, tablets, consoles and digital cameras, unfortunately Apple, which opposed it.

By the autumn of 2024, a series of devices with cable recharging – mobile phones, tablets, e-readers, headphones, digital cameras, portable game consoles, portable speakers… – must be equipped with a USB-C port to be sold in the EU, regardless of manufacturer.

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One laptop charger also

By the spring of 2026, laptops will be subject to the same requirements for using a single charger. The political agreement reached on Tuesday after lengthy talks will be formally approved after the summer by the European Parliament and the Council, the body representing the states.

The text also paves the way for the future standardization of wireless charging technologies, which are currently in full swing.

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“Consumers will no longer need a different device and charger every time they buy a new device, they will be able to use one charger for all their small and medium electronic devices”excluding unnecessary accessories, the parliament explains.

The text stipulates that the charging speed will be agreed for devices that allow fast charging to prevent it from being limited when using a charger of another brand. The labeling will be improved to better inform consumers who will be able to buy a device with or without a charger.

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According to the European Commission, this regulation could save European consumers, who spend 2.4 billion euros a year just on chargers, at least 250 million euros a year. Unused waste from stores, valued at 11,000 tons per year, could be reduced by almost 1,000 tons.

Apple condemns “suppression of innovation”

This project was launched by the Commission in 2009, but has long faced resistance from the industry.

However, the number of types of existing chargers has decreased significantly over the years. From about 30 in 2009, they moved to three: the Micro USB connector, which has long been installed on most phones, USB-C, the latest connection and charging technology Apple Lightning.

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The California group, which claims that Lightning equips more than a billion devices worldwide, has consistently resisted, believing that the European text “Stifle innovation”and reduce the EU – subject to the choice of standards “outdated” – from the rest of the world.

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Disqualifying some chargers and smartphones in circulation, Brussels “Will cause significant losses to producers, reduce consumer choice and create electronic waste” In addition, Apple insisted on Tuesday.

“Let’s be clear: if Apple wants to sell its products (in Europe), it will have to respect our rules. […] We need to think about the environment “replied Internal Market Commissioner Thierry Breton.

Wireless chargers will soon be standardized

Welcomed by the ANEC Association, which protects consumer rights on issues related to technological standards “Agreement” WHO “Simplifies the jungle of options that have hitherto been imposed on consumers”.

ANEC regretted that the original draft did not address wireless charging systems, but the final agreement includes provisions to set a common standard in this niche, which is set to become a majority in the next few years.

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Accepted text “Prepare for the future […] so as not to pass a law on technology that is already disappearing “assured Alex Agius Saliba, Member of the European Parliament (S&D, Social Democrats), speaker.

Thus, as wireless technology spreads, the Commission will be empowered to develop “Delegated acts on the compatibility of charging solutions”that is, rules that can be applied directly without a vote in the Council or the European Parliament.