New Delhi, Dec 5 (IANS): Apple has asked the Indian government to exempt its existing iPhones from the requirement of a common charging port (USB-C) for electronics devices, as the Centre evaluates the possibility of mandating a common charger for most devices.
In a meeting with the IT Ministry officials late last month, Apple told the officials that if such a rule -- similar to what has been proposed by the European Union (EU) to require devices to have universal charging ports -- is brought, it may hamper its domestic manufacturing plans, reliable sources told IANS.
According to the tech giant, if such regulation is implemented on older models of mobile phones, Apple may not be able to meet the PLI (product-linked incentive) targets.
Reuters was first to report about this development. When reached, Apple did not comment on it.
India Cellular and Electronics Association (ICEA) Chairman Pankaj Mohindroo told IANS that the industry is completely aligned with the government in implementing a uniform charging port regulation in the country to reduce e-waste and promote ease of living for consumers.
"The mobile phone industry has already adopted the Type-C USB port for charging and 100 per cent of the new models launched and sold in India are with type-C. We are working with the Ministry of Electronics & IT (MeitY) for a smoother transition of all the notified products like mobile phones, laptops, and tablets, which will be covered under the regulation," he said.
The latest iPhone 15 series models have been launched with the USB-C port and according to Apple, “the design of the earlier products cannot be changed”. According to industry experts, Apple’s fortunes in India have primarily been tied to older-generation iPhones, as the masses are using old-generation iPhone models.
"An early transition to USB-C, including on older-gen iPhones, could potentially strain Apple's supply chain and hit its fortunes," Prabhu Ram, Head-Industry Intelligence Group at CMR, told IANS.
In August, the Department of Consumer Affairs met industry representatives to evaluate the possibility of mandating a common charger for most devices. In the meeting with Secretary Rohit Kumar Singh, the ICEA and other industry stakeholders discussed the viability of a common charging port (USB-C) for electronics devices, including mobile phones.
"The charging port ecosystem has largely become rationalised, with the vast majority of feature phones (375 million) using micro-USB, and vast majority of smartphones (500 million) using USB-C. Low power devices (such as hearables /wearables, Bluetooth speakers) are also moving towards USB-C for higher-end items," Mohindroo had said.
The government is aiming at the possibility of adopting a universal charger model for all electronic devices, and will set up a panel seeking views on the proposal.
Apple iPhone shipments saw a 68 per cent (year-on-year) growth in India in the first half of 2023, driven by iPhone 14 and iPhone 13 series. Apple is likely to garner 7 per cent market share in 2023, according to CMR data. The growth in the Indian smartphone industry has been primarily driven by the Apple ecosystem, which alone crossed a record $5 billion in exports from India in FY23.