Europe gives Apple a hefty slap in the face as it standardizes USB-C power delivery


One of the many ways Apple makes its billions is by only offering proprietary software and hardware. These aren’t just the obvious products like macOS or iPhones. Anything Apple can claim – like the shape of a tablet – so it can charge you more, it will. For example, an official Apple 1-meter USB-C to Lightning cable costs $19, while the The best USB-C cable PC World found in a recent roundup costs $13.

For Apple, it’s all about the money. But the The European Union (EU) seems to have had enough.

The European Commission, made up of 27 nations, has decided that its citizens deserve a common charging cable standard for their smartphones and all other devices. (The Commission has been working on this issue since 2019.) She argues, and I agree, that having many incompatible fee standards is a waste of money and resources.

And I might add, it’s seriously annoying. When I travel, I need to take a USB-C, Mini-USB, Micro-USB, USB-A, Lightning and Qi charging pad for all my devices. Inevitably, I waste time plugging the wrong cable into the wrong port — and that’s before I start dancing the “which way is up USB-A fandango” dance?

Under the new law, which is now set to come into force in the fall of 2024, “mobile phones, tablets, e-readers, earphones, digital cameras, headphones and headsets, handheld video game consoles and portable speakers that require a wired cable, regardless of manufacturer, can be used with be equipped with a USB Type-C connector.”

That means you, Apple.

Everyone else has switched to USB-C. You’re not that special, and neither are Lightning cables.

In fact, USB-C cables and the USB-C standard are better than Lightning in almost every way. First, there’s the obvious. Lightning only works with Apple devices. USB-C works with pretty much all other modern devices. Oh, and by the way, Apple can easily support USB-C. It has been used in third generation iPad Pro models since 2018. Of course, Apple will also sell you a Lightning to USB-C cable. How accommodating.

USB-C can also support data transfer speeds of up to 40 Gbps. Lightning outperforms when communicating with USB devices at 480 Mbps. That’s a small difference.

USB-C with Lightning also cleans the floor when it comes to power. With its Power Delivery fast charging standard, USB-C supports 3 to 5 amps, making it much faster than traditional Lightning cables. Lightning only supports up to 2.4 amps. For this reason, Apple offers a USB-C to Lightning cable with most products. When paired with a 20-watt or larger power adapter, USB-C allows Apple users to quickly charge iPhones.

If that sounds a little weird, have you actually looked at Apple’s charging situation? To power my relatively small Apple collection of Macs and gadgets, I need Lightning, USB-C, and MagSafe cables. Oh, and a proprietary Apple Watch charger.

It’s all too much!

Maybe it’s just me, but I assume the standardization could only be a good thing for Apple’s customers and European users.

So far, Apple has said nothing about this new law. In the past, however, the Cupertino crew has claimed that Abandoning Lightning would create an “unprecedented amount of e-waste.”“I’m sure they’ll sing a similar song this time.

But we already waste a lot of chargers in landfills every year. Well, except me. I’ve got a closet full of the damn stuff! If we could just get everyone to use one standard for all chargers now, wouldn’t that save waste in the long run? Why yes, I think so.

Perhaps the European Commission should look into this particular hardware issue next.

Copyright © 2022 IDG Communications, Inc.

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