LONDON -- Tuesday's agreement by European Union officials was a sign of new rules that require a standard charging cord for smartphones. This will make it easier for consumers who are tired of searching through a maze of cables to find the right one.
EU negotiators announced that they reached a provisional agreement for a single charging solution. This is part of an overall effort to make products in the bloc of 27 countries more sustainable and reduce electronic waste.
These new rules will be in effect from fall 2024. EU consumers will need only a single USB Type-C cable to charge small and medium-sized portable electronic devices.
These devices include smartphones, tablets, ereaders, earbuds digital cameras, headphones, headsets, handheld consoles and portable speakers.
Laptops are also covered, however manufacturers will need to take extra time to comply.
Apple did not respond to a request to comment. The company previously stated that it was concerned about the rules limiting innovation and causing harm to consumers. Apple iPhones have a Lightning charging port. However, newer iPhones can also be charged using cables that plug into a USB-C socket.
The EU regulations also set standards for fast charging technology. Consumers have the option to purchase new devices with or without a charge. According to EU estimates, this will help consumers save 250 million euros ($266 millions) per year.
Another goal is to reduce electronic waste. According to the EU, 11,000 metric tonnes of electronic waste is generated each year in Europe by chargers that have been discarded or not used.
Over a decade, the EU tried to persuade the electronics industry to adopt a common charging standard. This effort reduced the number of charging plugs to just a few until the European Commission, which is the bloc's executive arm forced the issue to be addressed with draft legislation in September last year.
After the summer break, the European Parliament and European Council will likely give their formal approval.