Zone’s Rianna Mitchell handpicks and shares the five best new stories on digital trends, experiences and technologies…
1. The EU demand a ‘one size fits all’ charging port
EU legislators have agreed there will be a common charging port for all gadgets within two years.
All new portable electronic devices in the EU post-Autumn 2024 must adopt a USB-C port, including mobile phones, tablets, headphones, and portable speakers.
The charging port mandate is relative to a broader attempt for products in the EU to promote sustainability and enhance customer experience.
According to the EU, the new law could cut 11,000 tonnes of e-waste annually and save consumers €250 million [£213m] a year on “unnecessary charger purchases”.
Tech giant Apple expresses concerns that forcing USB-C will “stifle innovation”.
Replacement cables may be harder to find for current gadget owners as manufacturers stop producing them.
The UK government confirmed it is not “currently considering” replicating EU plans.
2. Apple sinks its teeth into Buy Now, Pay Later realm
At the Worldwide Developers Conference, Apple announced it will be entering the Buy Now, Pay Later (BNPL) industry as part of its new operating system, iOS 16.
Rivalling the likes of Klarna and Block, Apple Pay Later will permit US users to divide the cost of a purchase in four equal instalments over six weeks, interest-free.
The service will be integrated into Apple Wallet and can be used anywhere that supports Apple Pay, both online and in physical stores.
Although Apple has previously made its foray into finances, it’s the first time the iPhone makers will bear financial responsibilities, including credit checks and lending.
The Apple Pay Later launch date in the UK has yet to be announced.
3. British Government acquires its first quantum computer
The Ministry of Defence (MoD) has reportedly acquired the Government’s first-ever quantum computer.
Far from standard computers, the machines can make highly complex calculations and solve problems in a nanosecond.
Regular computers process data in bits, which have a binary value of zero or one, whereas quantum computers use a two-state unit for data processing called a qubit.
The MoD plan to collaborate with British firm Orca Computing to apply the computers to defence applications.
It has been hailed as a “milestone moment” by Stephen Till from the MoD’s Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (DSTL).
Quantum technology will be used to combat climate change, the development of new drugs and improved AI, and potentially support the military.
4. An Amazon alternative set to land in the UK
Walmart — the US’s second-largest retailer — could be considering launching an online marketplace in the UK.
Alongside being an equity investment holder in the flagship store ASDA, the renowned grocer requests UK sellers to sign up for Walmart’s integrated marketplace.
On 17th June, Walmart is organising a global seller’s summit in London, granting UK-based eCommerce sellers the opportunity to expand their business as part of its marketplace.
A UK launch will provide British consumers with an alternative to retail mammoth Amazon, which boasts a UK turnover rate of £4.8 billion from 86% of shoppers.
As both retail kings battle for the same customers, Walmart could be a victory for UK bargain hunters, particularly those seeking electronics and household goods at reduced prices.
5. TikTok watches the clock for young app addicts
TikTok rolls out a new screen time management tool to boost the digital well-being of social media users and help fight app addiction issues.
As one of the most-used apps among young people, there have been growing concerns among parents regarding the amount of time teenagers spend on the platform.
A recent study has also discovered that young adults are happier when feeling in control of their online behaviour and habits.
The video-sharing service has set up daily screen reminders to take regular breaks and designed a screen time dashboard analysing personal habits to encourage better control of their TikTok usage.
TikTok has also published a new online guide on its safety centre, offering advice on adopting a healthy relationship with digital devices and setting boundaries.