The European Commission, the executive arm of the European Union, has announced plans to force smartphone and other electronics manufacturers to fit a common USB-C charging port on their devices. The proposal is likely to have the biggest impact on Apple, which continues to use its proprietary Lightning connector rather than the USB-C connector adopted by most of its competitors. The rules are intended to cut down on electronic waste by allowing people to re-use existing chargers and cables when they buy new electronics.
In addition to phones, the rules will apply to other devices like tablets, headphones, portable speakers, videogame consoles, and cameras. Manufacturers will also be forced to make their fast-charging standards interoperable, and to provide information to customers about what charging standards their device supports. Under the proposal, customers will be able to buy new devices without an included charger.
The proposals only cover devices using wired, not wireless, chargers, EU commissioner Thierry Breton said in a press conference, adding that “there is plenty of room for innovation on wireless.” A spokesperson for the Commission subsequently confirmed to The Verge that a USB-C port is only mandatory for devices that charge using a cable. But, if a device charges exclusively via wireless, like Apple’s rumored portless iPhone, there’d be no requirement for a USB-C charging port.