India makes Type-C chargers mandatory for all devices, soon after Europe

DailyBiteDec 28, 2022 | 10:04

India makes Type-C chargers mandatory for all devices, soon after Europe

India makes USB Type-C chargers the standard starting March 2025. Photo: DailyO

Asking for a charger and specifying that you need an iPhone or iOS charger is a flex for many. iPhones, at least in the Indian construct, are still very much a status symbol. But the charger flex may soon be irrelevant and iPhone users who forget their precious chargers all the time may find themselves asking an Android user for their charger.

Why? The Indian government announced that it is making USB Type-C chargers the standard for mobile phones and tablets. 

  • The deadline is March 2025. After which all mobile phones and tablets sold in India should be compatible with USB Type-C charging.
  • Moreover, the Department of Consumer Affairs is also forming a committee to discuss making two types of chargers the standard. 
  • One is USB Type-C for mobiles, and tablets, and another for wearable devices such as smartwatches, wireless headphones, etc. 
  • However, there is yet to be clarity on charging requirements for laptops. In comparison, the EU has an extended deadline until 2026 to bring laptops into the USB Type-C fold. 

The Android phone market doesn't have much to worry about, but the story is different for iPhone maker Apple. While most smartphones have long adopted the USB Type-C charging ports after a 2009 agreement, Apple has stuck out like a sore thumb, refusing to blend in. 

Apple iPhones use lightning port chargers. Only a few of its devices like the latest iPad and some MacBooks use USB Type-C charging ports. Regardless, India's directive doesn't come as a shock for Apple, since the EU managed to rip the bandaid for the iPhone maker a few months ago.

The European Union mandate: Notably, India's decision comes just months after the EU passed a law for a common charger in its region, something Apple tried to fight for the longest of times (nearly 10 years). 

We have to align with the European Union timeline, i.e. 2024 because the mobile and electronics makers have a global supply chain, and they don't supply to India alone.
- Rohit Kumar Singh, Bureau of Indian Standards (PTI)

In October, an Apple executive also said that they have no choice but to comply with the rules. So far, Apple has not commented on what it plans to do. But by the looks of it, there now seem to be two possibilities - 

  • Make iPhones with USB Type-C chargers worldwide or,
  • Introduce wireless charging (as rumour has it).

Earlier, speculations were rife whether Apple will just make USB Type-C compatible iPhones only for the EU region, but given that India too is going the EU way on chargers, it makes more sense for Apple to just make all iPhones with USB Type-C chargers. 

  • For Apple, there's still plenty of time to smoothen the transition. They only have to launch a USB Type-C compatible phone in 2025 according to the deadlines set by the EU and India. 
  • EU's deadline is on December 28, 2024. And Apple only launches new iPhones in September. 
  • On the other hand, companies like Samsung may also be affected by the EU and India mandates with regards to its wearable devices. 

What's the purpose of the mandate? India and the EU have the same reasons for the charger directive -

  • Reduce e-waste 
  • Protect consumer interest by eliminating the need for juggling multiple chargers and the need for buying new chargers 

In 2019, an ASSOCHAM-EY report said that India would produce 5 million tonnes of e-waste by 2020. India ranks third behind China and the US in e-waste generation. 

Last updated: December 28, 2022 | 11:03
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