Apple is the only major manufacturer of smartphones that still uses its proprietary port. In the US, Apple plans to sell 241 million iPhones by 2021, and it will sell at least 56 million in Europe. If the senators get their way, USB-C iPhones could be made mandatory by the end of the decade. The new standard could help reduce e-waste, and protect the environment, too
USB-C iPhones exacerbate environmental damage
A letter from Senators Ed Markey, Elizabeth Warren, and Bernie Sanders urged Gina Raimondo to follow the EU’s lead on USB-C. The letter urges Raimondo to follow the EU’s strategy for mitigating e-waste and restoring environmental sanity to electronic device purchases. Apple has yet to commit to a similar plan for the iPhone. But we should wait and see if the company follows the EU’s lead.
They contribute to poor e-waste management
Apple’s latest generation of iPhones, which feature a USB-C connector, contribute to poor e-waste management through unsafe e-waste handling. Apple removed the wired headphone jack and power brick from the packaging, citing that consumers already have wireless headphones. Apple could also have used a smaller box, enabling it to ship 70% more iPhones in one shipment.
They reduce e-waste
Apple can avoid adding a USB-C port to its next iPhone model by going portless. Despite the fact that they only account for a small percentage of e-waste globally, iPhone chargers account for tens of thousands of metric tons. This is no small problem, considering Apple’s influence over the rest of the electronics industry. By standardising the charging port, Apple can ensure that consumers have enough compatible accessories to charge their devices.
They increase e-waste
Apple’s move to a USB-C port for its new iPhones could contribute to increased e-waste in Europe. The EU’s proposal to change the charging port on new iPhones would require a complete redesign of iPhone ports. This move would make iPhones with proprietary Lightning ports even more useless, as thousands of other devices use the same port. Using a single USB-C port for iPhones would improve the environment, reduce waste, and help consumers.
They make life easier for consumers
Apple has a tough road ahead. While US senators laud the EU for moving forward, a common USB-C charging port for mobile devices is not widely adopted. That means that the company will need to switch from proprietary Lightning ports to USB-C. Moreover, a common charging port will reduce electronic waste. The next entry-level iPad is expected to support USB-C. While the transition to USB-C is still years away, it will make life easier for consumers.