The EU tells Apple which iProduct chargers it can use

After ten years of working hard to promote innovation and consumer welfare, the European Union has done so. revealed his bold plan: to force device manufacturers to use a single charging standard.

Eurocrats are now working hard, patting themselves on the back for this glorious decade-long result. “trilog for the common charger“By 2024, cable devices sold in the EU are needed use the USB-C charging port and will not be sold with a default charger. This aims to “reduce e-waste” and give consumers “more choice”. Do you feel the innovation? Never say that the EU does not dream big.

Unless you are one of 56 million or so Europeans who use the iPhone won’t change much. Private companies have been approaching common standards for years. Most, if not all, of your devices can already use the sleek USB-C charger, which is not only small and symmetrical, but also allows for fast charging at startup.

And some Apple products, like my own MacBook Air, also use the USB-C standard. It’s good to be able to easily charge my phone and laptop without having to deal with extensions.

The problem is in iProducts. Most, but not allof these known (or shameful) use Apple’s own Lightning connector, which is incompatible with other companies’ devices. iPhone, iPad and iPod typically use Lightning connectors, which means people need to have a separate charger for these specific products.

The Lightning charger has few fans today. It is patented, does not always allow fast charging and you will pay a lot for the privilege. The haters – and there are many – will be tempted to applaud this move by the EU.

But as usual, EU intervention will almost certainly have the opposite effect it intends. Instead of “limiting e-waste”, this ban will create millions of useless chargers which will soon head to the landfill.

E-waste is a retro-sounding name for old electronic equipment that will not be reused or recycled. He goes straight to the dump where he sits and maybe throws nasty chemicals in the ground. The EU makes hay through chargers, but most e-waste includes larger items such as appliances, as well as obsolete computer equipment, lighting and HVAC devices.

Obviously banning something makes it useless. These Lightning chargers, which could otherwise take several more years to run, will now go to landfill. “Experts on e-waste“I agree that the EU ban will lead to a short-term increase in useless cables that sink into landfills.

But is this short-term cable break worth it? Maybe this will dramatically reduce cluttered drawers at home in the long run if everyone has to use the same refueling standard.

Although the nest of this rat from old chargers in your nightstand is aesthetically pleasing (and awful), it’s obviously not a big contribution to this e-waste problem. According to 2020 Global E-Waste Monitorchargers account for about 0.1 percent of the 53.6 million metric tons of process waste produced each year.

As usual, the EU is devoting a lot of time and effort to something that is not such a big issue in the big picture. Indeed, Eurocrats probably produced more waste – both electronic and analogue – during their decade-long pursuit of proxies, multilingual reports and brochures, PowerPoint presentations and flights to and from Brussels every few quarters, trying to deal with this mechanical threat.

Apple is not a big fan of the rules, as it claims that the ban on non-USB-C chargers will limiting the types of innovation can offer to their customers. This may not convince the general anti-lightning community, but it is a little richer that professional bureaucrats who have not even opened a business in their lifetime would be able to tell some of the world’s most successful technology companies how to design their products.

Well, maybe Apple may miss the port altogether. The new EU rules will only apply to charging cable devices. If the devices are equipped with wireless charging, such as Apple is rumored to be considering, they are exempt and could probably be serviced by the company’s own charging standard. So much for waste reduction! The EU may have to return to the drawing board for another ten years. That was them timeline so far.

The mandate of USB-C is not as large or kills innovation as the Privacy Act of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), whose main effect is to attract Internet users with pop-ups for a cookie agreement. But they show a similar bias against open innovation.

Europe tends to watch from the sidelines as mostly foreign companies grow and lead in their industries. Years later, they passed laws to limit this growth in strange and counterproductive ways. Then wait for the next big growth zone before starting the process again.

It is unfortunate that the EU does not pay attention to the ways in which its own laws restrict innovation and consumer welfare.

If the multinational governing body of the European continent was really interested in reducing “e-waste”, it would be better to consider the ways in which their many “green regulations“Limiting the efficiency and life of large appliances, which in some way they end up dying much earlier than before.

Subpar refrigerators and washing machines take up a lot more space and waste a lot more resources than a modest mobile phone charger. The deliberate deterioration of large appliances means that we pass through them much faster than in previous decades. The way to reduce e-waste is to allow manufacturers to make the best possible products. This is not the position that the EU and most developed countries have on large appliances, unfortunately.

All this is very disappointing, but this is the bureaucrat’s way. Their regulatory standards are far from “green” or “innovative”, but it is also not immediately obvious how they are lowering our way of life.

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