EU lawmakers drafting legislation that could force Apple to change its Lightning plug


EU lawmakers agreed yesterday to draft legislation that will force all mobile phone manufacturers to consent to the use of a common standard for battery chargers which can fit any device. The draft could be voted on by the EU Parliament as early as March 2014.

While many see this as a huge win for consumers, who would no longer have to purchase new charging accessories for different devices, it would be a huge blow to Apple. The company uses a propriety plug, the Lightning connector, in all of its iOS product lines…

 Yahoo News’ David Gilbert (via Tuaw) reports:

“The draft EU legislation could be voted on by the EU parliament as soon as March 2014, and if it passes this stage each member country will be given two years to transpose the legislation into national law, with manufacturers like Apple and Samsung given a further year to implement the changes, meaning 2017 is the earliest we will see the changes come into effect.

The mobile phone market is obviously a global one, so the impact of any changes made in the EU will have much wider reaching effects, as manufacturers will be reticent to produce different versions of their phones for different markets.”

Apple introduced the 9-pin Lightning connector last year with the iPhone 5, fifth gen iPod touch, fourth gen iPad and the iPad mini. The change came about as part of an effort to shrink the long-running 30-pin connector, so that Apple could make its products smaller.

Other changes are included in the draft legislation, including new regulations forcing manufacturers to register their products prior to market release. A similar program is already in place here in the United States, where the FCC must approve products prior to sale.