The United States government has decided to follow the European Union’s lead and mandate the use of USB-C connections for charging beginning in 2024. Senate Democrats want the US Commerce Department to demand that all manufacturers utilize the same universal standard, but they aren’t claiming that USB-C is required.
According to The Verge, Ed Markey (D-MA), together with Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) and Bernie Sanders (I-VT), wrote to Commerce Secretary Gina Raimond to tell her that the department should investigate into compelling tech companies like Apple to use a universal charging connector. The letter states that “the EU has correctly moved in the public interest by taking on big technological giants over this consumer and environmental issue,” before going on to argue that the US should do the same.
Apple’s iPhones and iPads, as well as its AirPods and other accessories, such as the Siri Remote for Apple TV, all use Lightning instead of USB-C, which is now the industry standard for Android smartphones and tablets. Smartphones and tablets, in particular, are the focus of this letter, though other accessories may be overlooked.
In today’s increasingly digital age, people are frequently forced to purchase new specialized charging equipment and accessories for a variety of their electronic gadgets. As a result, it’s more than just an inconvenience: it’s also an expense. The average customer owns three mobile phone chargers, and over 40% of users claim that they “could not charge their mobile phone because available chargers were incompatible.” Consumers should reap the rewards of new technologies. It shouldn’t be at their expense, and they shouldn’t be forced to buy incompatible accessories or different charging equipment for each gadget they possess.
The EU contends, as it does in this letter, that customers’ discarding old charging cables when they purchase a new phone contributes to the rising problem of e-waste. If you’ve ever had a problem with charging your phone between Android and iPhone, a common charging port would solve that.
All of this comes at a time when there have been mounting rumours that Apple is working on adding USB-C to its iPhone 15 in 2023 anyway, and given the criteria of the EU, it seems probable that the United States will profit from the transition even without the government becoming involved.