What will Apple do after the EU’s ok to the single charger

With 602 votes in favor13 against and 8 abstentions on European Parliamentin the session of 4 October 2022, gave thefinal ok at the “Radio Equipment Directive: Standardized battery charger for electronic devices“, better known as USB single charger directive. In a nutshell, with the new directive, within a couple of years all the most popular electronic devices will have to have the USB-C port for charging and, in addition, they will have to use a single standard for fast charging.

According to the EU, this directive is “un great advantage for the environment and consumers“, because if the chargers are always compatible with the devices, you avoid having to buy new ones (e throw out the old ones) each time a device is changed. It will probably be like this, at least at the beginning, but there is a company that comes out heavily defeated by this session of the European Parliament: Apple.

Single charger: the approved directive

Before understanding why Apple is struggling with the approval of the new EU directive, it is necessary to understand what it provides. According to the new legislation, a huge amount of consumer electronic devices, by the end of 2024, must have the USB-C port for charging and any data transmission. Every proprietary solution It will be abandoned from their respective manufacturers.

The new directive concerns devices with recharge up to 100 Watts of powerof the following categories:

  • smartphone
  • Tablet
  • digital cameras
  • earphones and headphones
  • handheld video game consoles
  • portable speakers
  • ear phones
  • e-reader
  • keyboards
  • mouse
  • portable navigation systems
  • rechargeable laptop by cable

Virtually the entire consumer electronics market, at least the one with wired charging, is therefore affected by this important novelty. Also because manufacturers will also be forced to create a single standard for fast charging, to avoid the problem of reload “strangled.

Today many smartphone manufacturers (practically all except Google, Apple and Samsung) are focusing on very high charging powers: 100, 120, 150 or even 180 Watts. But their devices only reach that charging power when they’re plugged into the their original charger.

Officially for the sake of safety: a lot of power means a lot of heat generated and a lot risk of explosion and fireso each manufacturer enables fast charging only with the power supply they have tested (their own).

From the end of 2024, however, all devices will have to recharge at theirs maximum power with all chargers that can reach that power.

In practice it will go towards the universal fast charginga bit like what is already happening in China where the standard was formalized UFCS (Universal Fast Charging Specification).

What will Apple do now

Today Apple uses three wired charging standards: Lightning (for iPhones), USB-C (for iPads and some MacBooks), MagSafe wired (for other MacBooks). It also has only one wireless charging standard, which is always called MagSafe.

In September 2024, Apple will present the range iPhone 16which will have to say at this point goodbye to the Lightning connection in favor of mandatory universal USB-C. For Apple all that is “universal” it’s a big loss of moneybecause he can’t ask royalties to those who produce accessories: today, for example, those who produce (compatible) iPhone chargers must pay a certain amount to Apple for each piece produced.

Apple, therefore, has never frowned upon the new European directive and has always said that it risks limiting technological development and hinder competition. Apple’s response to the single charger, therefore, could be striking: eliminate wired charging altogether.

For some time, in fact, there has been talk of the possibility of seeing a iPhone “portless, that is, totally without ports, not even the charging one. Apple may choose to integrate on its smartphones MagSafe wireless magnetic charging only, and Bluetooth or WiFi for data transmission. More difficult, but not impossible, to apply such a solution to MacBooks currently equipped with MagSafe wired charging.

Single wireless charger?

That Apple also has this option on the table, and that it can decide to implement it, is a bit of Pulcinella’s secret: everyone knows it, even in Europe. But one could arrive precisely from Europe second thorn in Apple’s side: a specific directive on universal wireless chargerwhich would make the engineers from Cupertino go back to square one.

Already thecurrent directivethe one just approved by the European Parliament, provides thatthe introduction of harmonization of charging interfaces and communication protocols for charging should also be considered in the future in relation to radio equipment that could be charged by means other than cable, including charging by radio waves (wireless charging)“.

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About Eric Wilson

The variety offered by video games never ceases to amaze him. He loves OutRun's drifting as well as the contemplative walks of Dear Esther. Immersing himself in other worlds is an incomparable feeling for him: he understood it by playing for the first time in Shenmue.

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