apple cable

Photo by Cheryl Kahla/

Apple resists European Union proposal to scrap Lightning cables

Apple recently spoke out against the European Union (EU) proposal to force smartphone manufacturers to pick one port for everyone, and claims that it would create higher prices and e-waste.

apple cable

Photo by Cheryl Kahla/

The European Union has put forward a proposal that would force cellphone manufacturers to all agree on a single standard cable or connector for charging.

Apple are possibly the only company which decided to continue with their proprietary Lightning cables when the rest of the cellphone manufacturers agreed to adopt the USB standard.

One standard for all

It’s worth noting that several companies – including Apple, Nokia and Samsung – signed a pledge in 2009 to make their chargers compatible with the micro-USB standard.

Apple retained its Lightning port and shipped their devices with a USB adapter. Most other manufacturers adopted the micro-USB standard outright and included installed micro-USB ports in their devices.

Apple have now come out in opposition to the proposed move that would compel them to change their charging port.

“We believe regulation that forces conformity across the type of connector built into all smartphones stifles innovation rather than encouraging it, and would harm consumers in Europe and the economy as a whole.”

Possible spike in e-waste

In addition to customer service concerns, Apple also warns that switching charging standards could result in a large spike in electronic waste as users replace millions of Lightning cables with USB.

According to an Apple spokesperson, more than one billion Apple devices have shipped using a Lightning connector, in addition to an entire ecosystem of accessory and device manufacturers.

“Legislation would have a direct negative impact by disrupting the hundreds of millions of active devices and accessories used by our European customers and even more Apple customers worldwide, creating an unprecedented volume of electronic waste and greatly inconveniencing users”.

Different proprietary chargers of yore

Apple’s statements on this matter make some sense except for the fact that the company has already started moving to the USB-C standard. The iPad Pro tablet and Macbook laptops have all shipped with USB-C installed.

Slightly older readers will remember what an absolute pain it was pre-2009. Before manufacturers moved to the micro-USB standard, it was a free-for-all with every manufacturer having a different proprietary charger.

At that point, it was common for chargers to not even be uniform for a single manufacturer. As a result, if you forgot your charger, you normally wouldn’t be able to borrow one from anyone unless they had the same make and model.

Apple’s insistence on sticking to its proprietary Lightning port is the last reminder of the bad old days, and I for one think it’s time to channel Bradley Cooper: “Maybe it’s time to let the old ways die”.

Also read: iPhone 11 Pro: Small device packs a powerful punch