Just last week, the European Union official agreement reached on making the USB-C charging port the mandatory standard from 2024. Now a group of senators in the United States wants to follow suit and is calling on the U.S. Department of Commerce to adopt a similar policy to address the “lack of interoperability standards.” for charging and other device accessories.”
USB-C charging requirement in the United States?
The letter was sent to Gina Raimondo, the United States Secretary of Commerce, and is signed by Senators Ed Markey, Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders. In the letter, the three explain that the lack of an interoperability standard in the United States leads to e-waste and environmental damage, but also a burden for consumers (via The edge†
“We urge you to follow the EU’s lead by developing a comprehensive strategy to tackle unnecessary consumer costs, reduce e-waste and restore the process of purchasing new electronics in a healthy and secure manner,” explains the letter out.
According to the senators, proprietary charging standards such as Apple’s Lightning port are an example of “planned obsolescence” that is “expensive and frustrating for consumers, and fuels the spread of electronic waste.”
When it comes to tackling this problem, the senators write that the United States need look no further than the EU. The new common charger law in the EU is an example of “picking up powerful tech companies” to reduce e-waste and “help consumers who are tired of rummaging through junk drawers full of confused chargers to find a compatible charger or buy a new one.”
The letter concludes with an urgent request to the Secretary of Commerce to address the lack of a common U.S. charging standard to address these issues:
We urge you to work with offices and agencies within the Department of Commerce to develop a comprehensive plan that will protect both consumers and the environment by addressing the lack of a common US charging standard. We cannot allow the consumer electronics industry to prioritize proprietary and inevitably outdated charging technology over consumer protection and environmental health.
Apple Response: USB-C iPhone in 2023?
It is important to remember that it took years and years for the EU to finally adopt its own agreement on a common charging port. When the efforts first started to gain traction, the plan was to standardize on microUSB as the common standard for charging ports.
Apple has regularly harked back to the EU’s common narrative about chargers, saying such a requirement would lead to more e-waste and stifle innovation.
Whatever it thinks about EU law, reports indicate: that Apple plans to switch to USB-C charging for the iPhone 15 in 2023. However, the company’s end goal is to make the iPhone completely portless.
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