Numantine resistance has come to an unexpected end for many. Apple finally gave its arm to wrap ahead of a European directive that requires the sale of a standard charger in the EU: USB-C. In theory, the initiative makes sense, since the goal is to avoid having different charging cables in homes depending on the device, thus reducing the amount of electronic waste. However, as we will see, there are nuances to consider.
In this way, except for last-minute surprises, in the homes of all EU citizens, there will be one charging cable for all devices, first, mobile phones (phones and tablets) and a little later, the requirement for laptops will be extended. The community body has strong arguments to defend this decision: in 2020 alone, 420 million mobile phones were sold in the EU, and on average, there are three chargers in every home, of which only two are used.
The manufacture and subsequent disposal of these cables – especially the leftovers – multiply the losses by increasing the price of the product, on the one hand, but more importantly, by significantly increasing the environmental footprint of mobile devices. But the calculation is not so simple, or at least that’s what they think of Cupertino. For any reason?
Why did Apple resist to the end
It was Greg Joswiak, Director marketing Apple, who resolved the issue in an interview with The Wall Street Journal: “Of course, we will abide by the regulations, we have no other choice,” were his remarks when asked if the iPhone will finally have a USB-C port, the port that Europe has chosen as a mandatory standard in its territory. However, this manager explained his reasons for reluctance: There is a million iPhone user base on the Old Continent and this regulation will force all those users to ditch their Lightning cables (the standard connector on iPhones). He concludes, “This will generate waste.”
The truth is that the company that Steve Jobs and Steve Wrniak founded, was indeed, de facto, migrated their connectors to USB-C on the new generation of iPads and MacBook laptops, but that, far from standard, doesn’t mean a better connection. “USB-C is a kind of connection,” explains Julio Cesar Fernandez, Apple Coding Academy’s Academic Director, while Lightning is the standard considering speeds up to 480Mbit/s for transmission (like USB 2.0) and charging up to 12W. of energy.”
This expert’s mention of charging and connectivity speeds wasn’t a coincidence: “The big problem with USB-C is that you buy a cable, but that doesn’t mean it offers fast charging and transfer speeds,” he said. One of the big problems with a standard that isn’t endorsed by the company is that it can deliver much lower performance than expected, and that’s where the problems can start. For Fernandez, the USB-C connector is “a mixed bag where it all fits and on cell phones, if someone buys a USB-C cable to copy things and work slowly, they blame Apple.”
But this expert adds that Apple’s resistance, as well as potential performance problems for uncertified cables, may also be due to an economic problem: “Every Lightning cable has to pay a license to sell (if certified)”. In this sense, the Cupertino giant is in line with the quality of third-party accessories under the MFI program, where a series of specifications must be met that guarantee product quality and performance, but to Apple bills.
Unification is “good news” for the user
Thus, from a technical point of view and for those who already own an iPhone, the regulations present more disadvantages than advantages, as a connector that works under certain standards must be replaced with one that may offer lower performance, depending on the product. However, the evidence should not be denied: it is better to go on a trip with one cable and charger than having to take several.
“This is great news,” says Fran Besora, creator of the popular Twitter community. apple, in spanish, referring to the moves Apple is gradually making toward the USB-C connector (both iPads and MacBooks equip it). “It’s easier for users to only have one cable than to carry two.” In any case, the fact that the procedure is taken on a mandatory basis and due to regulations, Besora worries: “Apple, in compliance with the regulations, may use a USB-C connector with Lightning speed,” in this case, the speeds of this standard will not be used.
The intriguing thing about this measure is that Apple has finally embraced it when its strategic commitment is to eliminate ports and trust all of its communications wirelessly. Americans already have the MagSafe standard, and we already know their pulse isn’t trembling when it comes to adopting drastic measures, like scrapping the headphone jack. By the way, this decision was followed by its main competitors.
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