Brazilian government tells Apple it can no longer sell iPhones within its borders without a wall charger
This week, the government of Brazil gave the tech giant the shocking news that it could no longer sell iPhones inside its borders without a wall charger. The Brazilian Ministry of Justice and Public Security, which issued the injunction, contends that Apple is peddling consumers an “incomplete product.” Even further, the Ministry describes the absence of fees as a “deliberate practice of discrimination against consumers.” Additionally, the Brazilian government has ordered Apple to pay a fine of over 12 million reais (about $2.3 million) and to stop registering the iPhone 12 with Anatel, the nation’s National Telecommunications Agency (opens in a new tab). Think of it like the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) in the United States.
The announcement claims that Brazilian authorities rejected Apple’s claim that leaving out the charger was done so out of consideration for the environment. According to Senacon, the nation’s consumer protection organization, there is no proof that selling an iPhone without a charger is better for the environment. If anything, consumers are “burdened” by it. Senacon responds by advising Apple to switch to USB-C cables and chargers if the company is sincere about protecting the environment. This news comes the day before Apple is scheduled to host its major Far Out September event(opens in a new tab) when fans are anticipating seeing the new iPhone 14. This puts Apple in a rather hard position. It’s unclear how Brazil’s declaration will impact either the occasion or the novel device.
We contacted Apple and requested permission for them to issue a statement regarding the news. If we hear back, we’ll update this story. This suspension is the most recent in a string of legal challenges brought by nations other than Brazil. There have long been difficulties, particularly in Brazil. A different consumer protection organization, PROCON-SP (Protection and Consumer Defense Foundation of the State of So Paulo), penalized Apple 10.5 million reais (about $2 million) back in 2021(opens in new tab) for comparable offenses. It also says that there is no evidence that leaving out wall chargers is good for the environment and that the company did “misleading advertising.”
Brazil is also attempting to follow previous actions taken by the European Union to compel the use of the USB-C charging standard for all cell phones. Apple, which has been sluggish to adopt this format, will be most affected by this move as the bulk of contemporary Android phones already use USB-C connectors. On this front, Anatel is taking the initiative and plans to create a USB-C policy for devices by July 1, 2024. The European Union has already taken action, stating that “by the end of 2024, all mobile phones, tablets, and other electronic gadgets should include a USB-C charging connector.” EU lawmakers were annoyed by how slowly the smartphone industry was coming up with a solution, so they stepped in themselves.
Even though the EU is moving toward USB-C, the situation in the United Kingdom and the United States is different. The UK, in particular, won’t be pressuring Apple to switch to a single charging standard, and it has no immediate intention of doing so. With respect to the United States, neither side has made an effort to create a common charging standard. There are a few senators in Congress that are advocating for a USB-C standard, but nothing more.
If Brazil decides to follow through on its USB-C charger claims, customers in the EU and the UK may have a different standard than those in the latter two regions. However, it’s also conceivable that Apple will simply give in and adopt USB-C for upcoming models rather than having to produce two distinct iPhones with various charging standards for various nations. The second choice seems like it would be extremely difficult for Apple to manufacture. We’ll simply have to wait and see how Apple reacts at this point. According to the announcement, Brazil will permit the corporation to challenge the ruling.