Apple could be forced to scrap Lightning connector under proposed EU law

“Apple could be forced to scrap its iPhone chargers under EU plans to make a universal phone charger law,” Arjun Kharpal reports for CNET. “Under the proposals, mobile phone manufacturers would have to make devices compatible with the universal charger which would hit companies like Apple who have their own design.”

“Lawmakers in the European Parliament’s consumer protection committee said radio equipment devices and their accessories should be ‘interoperable’ to reduce costs to consumers,” Kharpal reports. “‘We urge member states and manufacturers finally to introduce a universal charger, to put an end to cable chaos for mobile phones and tablet computers,’ said German Member of European Parliament (MEP) Barbara Weiler in a statement.”

“‘The voluntary agreement among manufacturers to produce mobile phones compatible with universal chargers is not delivering its full potential,’ British MEP Malcolm Harbour told CNBC. ‘This (new law) would be of high practical benefit to consumers, delivering furthermore cost savings, as well as reducing electronic waste,'” Kharpal reports. “The consumer committee adopted the proposals unanimously with 35 votes in favor.”

“But Benedict Evans, an analyst at Enders Analysis, said that companies have ‘legitimate reasons’ for using different chargers,” Kharpal reports. “If the rules are adopted into law, it could threaten product design, Evans told CNBC. ‘That outcome would be insane because you are moving away from helping consumers to interfering in product design.’ Apple, one of the main companies that would be hit by this reform, already sells adaptors that would conform to the EU’s demand for Micro-USB chargers, but it is unclear if this would satisfy the rules.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Some busybodies’ propensity for creating needless laws while afflicted with unshakable belief in stifling bureaucracies despite boundless evidence to the contrary boggles the logical mind.

How about you fill the potholes first, you meddlesome PITAs?

[Thanks to MacDailyNews Reader “Lynn Weiler” for the heads up.]


  1. Why not just pass a law that makes it illegal to innovate in any way whatsoever? Wouldn’t that save consumers a lot more money? Think of it, if only they had passed that law a hundred years ago, we’d still be using crank telephones.

    1. All cell phones sold in the EU have a charger. After the new law, all cell phones sold in the EU have a charger.

      WTF, where is the savings?

      And I thought America’s control freaks were bad.

    2. It’s obvious why politicians and government officials do stuff like this… They collectively feel impotent in dealing with REAL social issues and problems that effect their society. Balance the budget – WAY to hard. Improve public education – NOT going to happen…

      So, they latch onto something “easy” so they can claim a WIN, even if that “win” is meaningless and ultimately does more harm than good. Mayor Bloomberg is an expert at this tactic…

        1. That “committee” ONLY exists, because the politicians and government officials at higher levels WANT IT TO, to cause distractions from the REAL issues that cause them to feel impotent and useless…

          FYI – “Climate change” (previously known as “global warming” until the warming trend “magically” stopped for the last 15 years) is one of the favorite distractions.

            1. If you look at my original comment, I’m referring to governments (at all levels) doing “stuff like this” to distract the people who put them into power from the REAL problems that affect their society. Obviously, governments do the day-to-day work of “maintenance.” But when there is a “crisis,” you can count on something else making the headlines that seems important, but is actually trivial. And THAT is the distraction.

              A “universal phone charger law” is about a trivial as it can get… 🙂 The cost to implement will far exceed any actual benefit to society, and in the long run, it will discourage innovation.

      1. Short term, awesome DS, but it also means anything Apple comes up with after the lightning connector will sit for years in a pile of steaming political bullshit. I’m sorry, but leaving ANY technology decisions in the hands of politicians is a sure-fire way to killing such technology dead.

        1. Which is why this won’t fly any further than this committee. Apple can clearly point out that this is anti-competitive since Apple has by far the largest share of the market among manufacturersn and would be unfairly subject to extra costs.
          They could also argue that it would stifle innovation which again is anti-competitive.
          I wish someone would invent wall sockets that incorporate USB outlets thus eliminating every land-fill bound brick in existence.
          Oh wait…
          Yet another reason for the environmental lobby to get on board.

    3. Replying before the mess…

      I have several devices with the micro USB port. I can assure you, nothing good other than charging is used full here.

      The real focus should be on the USB A port, which no one has any problem with. All wires have USB A on one end, and whatever works for design on the other.

      Legislation should should demand that USB A be installed in homes, (which I see coming anyway, without law) and that’s the end of it. No chargers are needed any more.

      5v DC – 0Hz, 1, 2.1, 3, 4 amps or however many amps it takes.


          1. He is implying that Obama-loving-liberals make laws that are counter-productive. If this statement is contrary to your dogma, then maybe you are fundamentally don’t want to understand. If you are just playing dumb in order to annoy people, please stop. Civility is a good thing.

            1. you say “Civility is a good thing”

              Read the post you are apparently protecting…does it seem like civil discourse. If you act like it is, then maybe you don’t fundamentally understand civility. If you are just playing dumb to annoy people, please stop. Civility is a good thing (even for you,)

      1. Uh, huh. Republican lead congress has established a healthcare system that isn’t run by doctors but by insurance companies and pharmaceuticals.

        Thats why we need a government to equalize things. Otherwise, people can’t afford outrageous insurance premiums and when they can, they are not always covered. What a scam!


      1. Obama appointed the Attorney General who sued Apple for bringing more competition to the market for e-books. That’s reality. I think that was counter-productive. Do you deny that, or just don’t want to hear it?

        1. Not merely appointed…
          The Attorney General is not like a judges appointment. The Attorney General is appointed by and “sits at the pleasure” of the President. This means he reports to and can be removed at any time, for any reason, by the President.

    2. Why do republicans hate progress so much? There are many countries that have a vibrant economy, low unemployment, great wages, healthcare, and educational systems. They have this because they have a strong government presence. In general, government isn’t the problem, those that abuse government are the problem and so are the ones that want everything for themselves.

      1. For once, I hear another voice that seems to have a clue.

        Those that don’t will watch in wonder as the government shuts down and puts 100’s of 1000’s of people out of work and complain that they no longer have the services they require.

  2. Let’s make all cars use the same size wheels/tires. Too many different tires to recycle these days. How about the phonographs from the 1960-80 era. So many different phono needles to choose from. :-/ can’t they just make one?

  3. This is just stupid. I wonder what would happen if Apple just said, fine we’ll no longer sell our iPads and iPhones in those countries. I’d bet that the people would put pressure on the government to repeal the law.

        1. It’s not a sham to add up all the economies of the EU member countries, you know, those countries to which this stupid law would apply. The U.S. is more than $14 billion, the EU is more than $16 billion.

          Sure, just protest by not selling there. Be sure to throw China in as the next country to not sell in, because they rigged that iPad trademark case.

    1. Um… not really. The people would all switch over to Android devices since Android is already at 80% market share and the majority always wins. Most of the world is in favor of using Android as it is so a total transition could easily take place. Apple would take the biggest losses of such an action. This isn’t the first time the EU has asked for universal charging systems. I distinctly remember this several years back. Apple is the only offender in this request.

  4. The lightning cables are already USB on one end of the cable, why make the world suffer because Europe chose the wrong standard to back. Change everyone else to lightning cables and be done with it.

    1. The report isn’t very clear, but I think it says all phones must be able to be charged using the European Standard Charger (ESC, my term), which is mandated to have a micro-USB connector.

      Cool. Since Apples Lightning cable is USB on the charger end, a simple USB female to micro-USB male adapter in every Europe-bound iPhone box should do the trick. The ESC would probably not conform to Apples charger capabilities, so it would be slower. I don’t think Apple is required to provide a charger capable of charging every phone made under this law, but that could just be logical thought kicking in to drive me to a wrong conclusion.

    2. Exactly. So instead of requiring device makers to use the same connectors, require outlets that have built-in USB ports.

      And another thing, if there were only feature phones, and the cables supported ONLY charging, then MAYBE this would make sense, like standardizing the plugs on electrical appliances. But the iPhone lightning connection is NOT merely for charging.

    1. Not the ONLY thing, but it sure feels like it sometimes.

      And thank you for saying “the government”, and not “DURRR OBAMA” because anyone who’s been paying any real attention knows that the democrat vs republican thing is a distraction from being ACTUALLY informed about what the gov’t is doing to screw us, whether red or blue “team”.

      Not to mention, people recklessly blaming *insert president here* don’t really know anything about the US political process.

    2. Interesting thought. Perhaps the purpose of government is to codify what works for the betterment of society and insure its continuing success. In so doing, it tends to lock in what works right now, and benefits the collective, to the detriment of any challenger with a better idea that threatens the status quo.

      Which is just a fancier way of saying what you just said! 🙂

  5. Morons… Apple “chargers” are already universal. They are USB power adapters, with a standard USB port. You can connect other non-Apple mobile devices to it. The only proprietary part is the cable that connects the power adapter to the device, and Apple wants to use the Lightning connector, because it does much more than charge the device.

    1. That’s what they’re saying. Yes it’s USB at one end but the other end is proprietary to Apple. No other brand uses the “lightening” end of the cable. Change the Lightening end to micro USB and the cable could be used to charge other cell phones and whatnot.

            1. No, botvinnik is correct. “Dropping” is to let something fall, not for something to move lower. “Lightening” (noun) is specifically the uterus moving downward, but “lightening” the verb is to brighten up a room.

              If y’all would right-click on a word and look up the definition, these types of threads could be avoided.

            2. Botvinnik is a repository of generational wisdom. His personality quirks should be tolerated as befits a sage and his outbursts excused as all-too-human responses to low-grade blathering. (He did not pay me to say that.)

            3. botvijerk says nothing special and nothing wise.

              His responses are not to “low-grade blathering”… not that it would excuse them, if they were. No – he’s a poisonous shit to anyone with whom he disagrees. E.g. his “you the dumbest motherfucker that ever lived” above. You excuse that!?

              I disagree on the personality “quirks”. I don’t care what “wisdom” someone might have — it doesn’t excuse him beating him wife, verbally bullying his children, or coming here and acting like a shrivel-hearted, poisonous, rage-aholic little twerp.

      1. And that’s moronic… Why should it be an expectation that the cable that comes with the device can be used with any device? The next thing you know, all mobile phones will be required to have to exact same external shape (forever), so that the user can use the same case with all phones.

        If this becomes law, this is what’s going to happen… Phone manufacturer’s will NOT include any charger or cable with their phone. They’ll say, it’s standard so just go buy your own charger and cable separately.

        And what if a better way to charge devices emerges and become practical, such as something that does not require a plug. Does that have to be standardized as well? Where’s the motivation and incentive to make something better, and have that feature as something that distinguishes your product, if everyone gets to use the same innovation (by law). Or worse, a law prevents you from adding that innovation to your product, because it’s not the “standard.”

        1. You have to understand how Europe has so many different countries. They have a history of needing to standardize. At one time each country had its own railroad track gauge and that presented a problem of traveling by train across Europe. Same with roads. Imagine if some countries people had to drive on the left and in other countries drive on the right. It would be very confusing. Electrical power plugs presented the same problem. It’s just Europe’s nature to attempt to standardize everything at this point. I think they’re right in this respect.

          It’s not something Americans should get angry over since we’ve dealt with most of those standardization problems already. We’re called the United States of America now but it wasn’t always that way. Independent states all used to do their own thing but it wasn’t practical. Apple will eventually need to conform for its own good. The world sees Apple as a nail sticking out that needs to be hammered in place to fit into a world of conformity.

          1. Apple IS providing a “standard” CHARGER. The cable is not part of the device or the charger. That cable is also used to connect the device to a computer for data transfer. Lightning also provides video and audio output, and other special functionality when connected to docking stations. And for higher power devices like iPad (and future unknown products from Apple), Lightening can provide far higher power than available over Micro USB.

            This goal of standardizing across Europe on something that has no business being regulated, will instead have the opposite effect for Europe versus the rest of the world.

            In the rest of the world, Apple’s iDevices will be able to output video and audio to HDTVs and accessories. In Europe, those features and accessories will not be compatible. In the rest of the world, you will be able to charge and use your iPad at the same time, because Apple provides higher-power USB adapters that connect using Lightning. In Europe, iPads will need to be connected to charge only, because Micro USB cannot provide enough power to charge and operate at the same time. In the rest of the world, many older dock connector accessories continue to work with new iOS devices through a Lightning to 30-pin adapter. Good luck getting them to work using over Micro USB. In fact, CURRENT third-party accessories (from the HUGE Apple ecosystem) that work with iPods, iPhones, and iPad will not be compatible in Europe.

            Apple is NOT going to change its immensely successful practices across the globe, just to accommodate meddlesome bureaucrats (who can’t solve REAL social problems so they invent non-problems that can be “solved”). Apple will just leave Europe behind by providing an inferior user experience, “as require by law.”

      1. That’s exactly what Apple does in the EU since September 2012 in order to meet EU requirements. From day one each and every Lightning-iDevice came with a free USB micro > Lightning adaptor. You don’t notice any difference when using the original Lightning cable or the adopter. The benefit is obvious, I travel with one charger instead of two.

        This story is a rumination of a 2011 situation. It affected all manufacturers. Problem solved for more than a year.

  6. If Apple can make a Lighting cable which slips over a standard USB cable (which they already d0), they could build the functions of the Lightning cable into the phone and use a standard USB micro tip to plug into the phone. Of course, it would take up more space inside the phone and the one nice thing for users about Lightning is that it plugs in either way would be lost.

    I wouldn’t say something like this is out of the question in the US. After all, Republicans want us to go back to using older incandescent light bulbs.

    1. “Republicans want us to go back to using older incandescent light bulbs.”

      Actually, no. You’re quite confused.

      Republicans simply want you to be able to use whatever type of bulb you choose. As in, freedom without government dictates.

      Democrats want to dictate to you what kind of light bulbs to use. Just like the EU wants to dictate to Apple what type of connector to use.

      In case you get confused again:
      Republican = Smaller government, more freedom
      Democrat = Bigger government, less freedom

      1. Republicans and Democrats want either a larger or smaller government, and more or less freedom depending on their agenda. You blanket statement makes me think your a child who needs blankets for comfort.

    2. You have it completely backwards. A standard USB cable can’t do what a lightning connector can do, so you can’t “slip [a lightning connector] over a standard USB cable”, and no, they don’t already do that.

      The only way and adapter could work is if a lightning cable could plug into a microUSB adapter which would reduce the functionality to standard USB functions. Plus it would lose one of the lightning cable’s nicest features, being able to be plugged in either direction.

    3. Using a micro USB is a pain. It has to be inserted correct side up. I can plug in my lightning cable blindfolded without fiddling around. Much better usage for visually impaired and less fragile.

      1. But Android hardware has already won favor so everything needs to conform to Android’s standard be it good or bad. It’s what they call majority rules. I believe a micro-USB is cheaper and most of the world prefers cheaper products, not better products.

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