Europe might force Apple to ditch Lightning Cable

These MFi-certified Lightning cables are sheathed in steel and designed to last forever

The Commission has been trying to get mobile phone companies to use the same charger for almost a decade, citing both customer inconvenience and 51,000 tons of yearly electronic waste from old chargers as the primary reasons. It turns out that the Commission has ordered a study to determine if and when punitive actions have to be taken against companies that refuse to standardize the chargers that go with their electronic devices, phones included.

The move comes in a bid to put an end to both the "inconvenience to consumers" and charger clutter, with gadget users chucking away 51,000 tonnes of old chargers every year. Then, most smartphone vendors, including Apple, submitted a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to the European Union pledging to use micro-USB as a universal charging port across all mobile devices. Such studies are conducted to estimate the need for the Commission's own actions and analyze the impacts of the possible options. After this agreement expired in 2012, a new letter of intent was signed by the same companies in 2013 and 2014. Apple's mobile devices use a Lightning Connector whereas most Android phones today use either micro-USB or the newer USB-Type C making chargers incompatible with each other unless adapters are used. The EU clearly directed companies to coordinate and come up with a universal type of charger; micro-USB was the mutually decided type then.

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Californian-based Apple has embraced USB-C [Thunderbolt 3] on its MacBooks, however, thus far has refused to swap the Lightning port on mobile phones.

The EU's competition chief Margrethe Vestager said on August 1st in the EU Congress that the European Commission "will shortly launch and impact assessment study [on the mobile charger situation] to evaluate costs and benefits of different other options", as reported by Reuters.

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