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European lawmakers may force Apple to use USB-C charging standard for the iPhone

Rumors about Apple adopting USB-C in the iPhone have been popping up for some time — but now it looks like the company may need to move a little quicker. Members of the European Parliament have overwhelmingly voted to urge the European Commission to draft new laws that would ensure smartphone manufacturers — including Apple — adopt a common charging standard.

The European Parliament voted 582-40 in favor of the new legislation.

Ultimately, the parliament has a few different goals. For starters, it wants to reduce the amount of electronic waste that’s created when users have to constantly switch to new charging standards. On top of that, it wants to ensure that customers can switch to a new phone without having to buy all new charging cables.

Of course, there’s currently a lot that’s unclear. While the Parliament is asking the European Commission to draft new laws, it’s not immediately clear when those new laws might go into effect. Not only might it take a while for the commission to put together those new laws, but the laws themselves might include a grace period to allow companies like Apple to switch to USB-C. The European Parliament has asked the commission to write new laws by July.

Apple, for its part, has argued against lawmakers forcing a switch to USB-C. According to the company, the industry is already moving to USB-C anyway, and forcing companies to conform to a common standard would stifle port innovation. Not only that, but Apple says that an abrupt switch to USB-C would also create a lot of electronic waste, as Apple users would need to buy USB-C cables and get rid of their Lightning cables. Apple would be most impacted by the vote, considering that the vast majority of modern Android phones already use USB-C connectors.

The European Commission has been pushing for a common standard since 2009, when it asked manufacturers to voluntarily conform. Commission officials say that the voluntary approach isn’t working.

The European Parliament is also pushing for a common wireless charging standard. While most smartphone manufacturers use Qi wireless charging, there are other standards out there. Notably, Apple uses a propriety standard for the Apple Watch, despite using Qi for the iPhone.

We’ve reached out to Apple and will update this article when we hear back.

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