In context: Brazil’s government doesn’t have the best relationship with Apple, and it could get even worse if the country follows Europe in making USB-C mandatory on all mobile devices, a move at odds with Cupertino’s lightning port-only iPhone design.
The National Telecommunications Agency (Anatel) of Brazil has launched an open public consultation on a proposal to make USB-C the required standard for all smartphones sold in the South American nation.
Earlier this month, lawmakers in the European Union finally reached an agreement requiring all new phones, tablets, and other small electronics sold in the region to use USB-C as the charging port. The EU is giving device makers until the fall of 2024 to comply with the rule, which follows over a decade of arguments pushing for a universal charging solution.
These days, of course, virtually all Android smartphones come with USB-C charging ports. But despite changing to this type of connection in its tablets, Apple’s iPhones still use Lightning ports. That could change next year, though, when the first iPhone packing a USB-C port is rumored to launch.
Brazil is still only in the consultation phase in which companies and the public can share their opinions on making USB-C mandatory for smartphones. If the proposal is passed, the port will become a requirement in the country as of July 1, 2024.
Anatel notes that switching to USB-C entirely will reduce e-waste and be more convenient for consumers. But enforcing the regulation will likely bring higher costs and could stifle innovation by companies looking to develop new and improved charging standards.
It’s not just Europe and Brazil going down this path. A group of Senate Democrats is urging the US Commerce Department to force smartphone makers to adopt a universal charging standard that will reduce e-waste and environmental damage.
“The EU has wisely acted in the public interest by taking on powerful technology companies over this consumer and environmental issue,” the senators wrote. “The United States should do the same.”
Brazil has also been battling Apple over its decision to stop bundling wall chargers with its iPhones. Cupertino was hit with a $2 million fine last year for violating consumer protection laws and failing to prove the claimed environmental benefits of dropping the charger. More recently, a Brazilian judge told Apple to compensate an iPhone customer $1,000 for not including a charger in the box.