3aIT Blog

3 phones on a desk with USB C cables plugged into themThe EU has now set a deadline for all manufacturers of phones and other portable electronic devices to move over to USB-C charging ports if they're not already using them. From December 28th 2024, all "small and medium-sized portable electronics" must be using this port. This includes phones, tablets, headphones and handheld consoles.

This law is largely targetted at Apple. They have a history of using proprietary cables for their devices. They would suggest that this gives them better control over their ecosystem. Cynics would argue it's an excuse to charge well over the odds for a simple power cable.

It's not the cost that the EU have objected to here, but the waste. Their logic is that the universal USB-C standard is more than capable of charging all these devices, so if everything unifies round this one port, people will need fewer chargers if the same one can charge everything they own. Certainly pretty much all modern Android devices use this port, along with more recent Kindles and a variety of laptops.

For their part, Apple have already said they will comply with this change. Additionally, it looks like this will be universal. While the UK government said it had no intention of mirroring the EU's ruling here, Apple have unsurprisingly come to the conclusion that they're not going to make a non USB-C version for the UK market only.

It remains to be seen how adaptable this ruling will be. Whilst USB-C currently seems to be well suited to powering today's devices, there's a clue within that acronym that this hasn't always been the case. Before USB-C came both B and A versions. It certainly doesn't seem unreasonable to predict there may be a USB-D one day, or equally some other sensible non USB universal connector. Will the law be able to move at the speed needed to account for the rapid pace of change within the technology world, or could it end up stifling it? It seems inevitable that we'll find out within the coming years.