EU Wants to Ban Apple Lightening, Quick Charge

John Lister's picture

Officials in Europe want all phone companies to use the same technology for charging mobile devices. If the rules go ahead, it could mean Apple has to ditch its custom 'Lightning' port, and Qualcomm's 'Quick Charge' (used by Android devices).

The European Union is running an "impact assessment study" to decide whether to push the policy and if so, whether to seek a voluntary agreement or impose rules. If it opts for the latter, manufacturers might decide it is easier to use the relevant charging port format worldwide rather than make specific handsets for Europe. (Source:

Unlike many of the EU's technology rulings, the move isn't primarily about business and competition, even though Apple makes a lot of money from selling Lightning charger cables. Instead, officials argue that a common charger format would have environmental benefits as people would be less likely to ditch old cables and buy new ones when they change phones.

Apple Sidestepped 2011 Deal

That was the thinking behind a similar exercise in 2009 when the major manufacturers voluntarily agreed to adopt the Micro USB format in all new handsets made from 2011. The agreement was only set to run until 2012, the idea being that once manufacturers made the switch, they'd not bother going back to previous formats. In reality, Apply didn't quite stick by the deal, instead giving customers a Micro USB adaptor for phones.

Now the EU says the voluntary approach hasn't done enough to ensure a common format. However, even if it does come up with a new set of rules, it will still need to make several decisions.

Micro USB vs USB-C

One is whether to stick with the widely-used Micro USB or make the newer USB-C format the standard. USB-C has several technical advantages, but for ordinary users the big benefit is that it can be plugged in either side, ending the frustration of fiddling about to find out which side fits the socket properly.

Another decision is whether the rules would only cover phones or if they'd extend to other USB-enabled devices such as tablets. Regulators would also need to consider the effects of any change on wired headphones that use the charging port to connect and how it would affect 'fast chargers' that carry more power than other models. (Source:

What's Your Opinion?

Would you like to see a standard charger port format on all mobile devices? If so, should manufacturers be forced to use the format? If you favor a standard format, which would you prefer?

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Dennis Faas's picture

This is a waste of time, unless they can agree on using a future proof cable capable of delivering an insane amount of voltage for the next 10-15 years or so. The problem is that new standards are constantly being developed which transfer more data faster and use more (or less) wattage when charging a phone. The type of charge depends on what protocols the phone supports and whether you're using the proper cable. All of this is difficult to gauge especially with the way technology changes. Quick Charge 3.0 by Qualcomm can output up to 18 watts max as it is which is a lot of juice for a phone, but 5 years from now the power requirement could increase two fold as batteries improve. Again, all of this is difficult to gauge.

Navy vet's picture

What about making wireless charging the norm-no cables?

Brian's picture

A universal charging standard across ALL portable electronics would be a great convenience and potentially money saving.
Instead of having to buy a power supply for each device, one power supply would be sufficient.
A standard voltage could be chosen and the device would be responsible for limiting the current if Ohm's law I=V/R is not correct for the battery. Current limiting could be done by interrupting the charging to achieve a rate that will not overheat the battery. The problem is that different battery technologies require different voltages to charge. About the closest we have to a standard is USB charging but a phone battery, because it is smaller is usually charged at a rate (Current)of one ampere, while a larger tablet battery can be charged with a 2 ampere current without overheating.
Making matters even worse are manufacturers that insist that charging with any charger other than the one they supply will void their warranty. So great, I have five devices and I need five chargers and if I forget one that device is out of use until I get the correct charge. Now i have five chargers and I can't remember which charger goes with which device and the manufacturer in their great wisdom has not labelled them. Now what do I do?
The entire system is a mess and the manufacturers are to blame. Of course so are the users who buy these devices.