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.]

146 Comments

  1. While WS continues to manipulate oil and commodity prices these cretins pretend to care for the consumer. Cash costs to lift oil from the deepest part if the gulf is less than $10. The EU governing body is the new royalty. With the lowest wages for these hypocrites at 200EUR a year, the idiot European lemming continues to be an idiot. They are being spat in the face by the neo-Antoinettes and are oblivious to it.

  2. The EU made this mistake of standardising on a stupid dead-end port that is already slow and outdated. Even the very latest microUSB 3.0 charging specification tops out at 900mA.

    Meanwhile Apple is already delivering 2000 mA to iPads over Lightning – and probably will up that in the future simply by using both sides of their connector.

    Why should this innovation be stiffled because of the EU minister’s ineptitude and shortsightness? Just to save one connector? Never have I heard anything so ridiculous. There’s even charging cables with multiple connectors these days..

    We’d get far better cost savings and reduced waste if we cleaned up the European Parliament of these idiots.

    1. Don’t you understand? Nobody cares about the actual spec ratings of connectors. They just want one cheap connector. That’s all. Since Android hardware is in the majority every company needs to conform to Android standards. They don’t like Apple’s non-conformist attitude because they consider Apple mobile devices a dying platform. It’s like what Spock always says about the needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few/one. Android is the many and Apple is the one. It’s pretty clear what the outcome will be.

  3. Standardization is not all bad. I rather like to have gasoline standards that allow interoperability with any vehicle. I like knowing that Big Bad Government stopped the mess of electrical distribution standards by establishing continental electrical outlet standards. It’s a bit overblown to say that the drive behind mobile device charger interface standards is just a bunch of busybodies. Electronic waste is a real and growing problem. Would you rather that governments come down hard and require manufacturers to take back and recycle their products when they hit their planned-obsolescence date?

    Apple’s history is littered with awkward adapters. One more wouldn’t be the end of the world.

    1. 1. You’re assuming the EU’s standard connector is better or equal to Apple’s Lightning connector. They’re not.

      2. Apple (and most electronic retailers/manufacturers) already have free recycling programs in place. Many (like Apple’s 10% off) give you a discount toward the purchase of a new product.

      1. We are both speculating on the proposed verbiage of the law, but I believe the ruling pertains to the CHARGER. If you haven’t already noticed, your iPhone/iPod charger has a USB interface on it. Moving to mini USB is not a big deal, folks. Apple will still be able to use its Lightning on the device, but ANY charger will be able to be adapted to iGadgets.

        I could be wrong, but the comments here are almost universally paranoid. Nobody is attempting to dictate device design.

        1. You are correct in detecting that comments here are heavily weighted toward the paranoid. That holds true for most Internet forums because the mentally ill, denied normal outlets, gravitate toward anonymous, non-judgmental venues. In such places their voices, however demented, have equal weight with the rational. As a result, any Internet consensus should be treated as an amalgam of opinions weighted somewhat toward the delusional axis.

  4. This is really not the problem people think it is. Standards are useful and this is a problem that standards will help to resolve.

    Lightning is disposable. Any new standard will define the socket shape for a power connection. Any Lightning replacement will comply with that standard but will include extra pins for data. If you want to charge your Apple device, you will use an apple dock, an Apple connector, or any power cable and charger which complies with the standard. The Apple user will most likely use an Apple connector, but will be able to plug into any complying power source if necessary.

    Everyone wins.

    1. That would mean a phone with two sockets, one for Lightning and another for microUSB.

      It would be as ugly and big as the much ridiculed microUSB 3.0 contraption seen recently in Samsung’s Galaxy Note 3.

      It’s the wrong idea in a industry that’s going in the direction of lighter and thinner devices.

  5. The lightning port offers far, far more capabilities than standard USB. If this passes, Apple would just sell an EU version of their devices with a USB port. How exactly is this better off for EU consumers?

    – Slower transfer rate
    – Longer charging time
    – Incompatibility with all iOS peripherals

    Meanwhile, the rest of the world gets to enjoy the versatility and benefits of Apple’s Lightning port.

  6. Europe should first standardize their power sockets, eliminating the need for several adaptors when traveling between EU countries.
    Next – install more power sockets in hotels etc so less lengthy cables are needed – don’t be stingy.
    Next – give travelers free, unlimited WiFi and in more locations – don’t be stingy.
    You’ll need more wireless bandwidth for the future – contribute positively to the advancement of wireless power (and therefore charging). Bypass the need for cables altogether in a small way or a big way but contribute to actual solutions rather than just complaining.
    Others while you are at it…..
    Be less stingy and more considerate to the millions of tourists who come to see your antique and ancient world….things like free tissue paper and hair dryers in hotels etc. Admit it – you desperately need the money coming in from millions of Chinese and Korean travelers.
    Next – require the UK to replace the GBP for the Euro.
    Next – establish one official language.

    1. Down, hell will freeze over before the UK signs up to such a useless, misbegotten venture as the Euro, it’s shortcomings have been laid bare with the problems in Greece, Spain, Italy, Ireland, etc.
      And there is pretty much one official language, that’s spoken through all but five of the EU member states, and that’s English.

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

        In the EU Apple ships a free micro USB > Lightning adaptor with all their Lightning devices since September 2012. By doing so they meet the EU requirements.

        Again, no reason to behave paranoid.

  7. That sounds like they are forcing a micro-USB charger ONLY. So if Apple innovates with a wireless charging system in the near future, it sounds like the EU would still require them to include a micro-USB charger. Insanity!

  8. Apple should definitely stop selling in the EU. People like to talk about Americans are full of themselves but we pale in comparison to the self entitled, imperialist bullshit spewed out by the EU.

    1. Stupid response. That’s the world’s largest economy. That’s like being the world’s largest cattle herder but refusing to sell to McDonalds because it wants its ground beef in round packaging instead of square.

    2. Judging by your comment Americans are full of themselves.

      Great idea, Apple should walk away from 25.3% of it’s global sales and a market of 857,000,000 people because the EU wants consumers to be able to use the same chargers regardless of devices and reduce the waste of throwing out charges if you swap from android/windows to Apple or vice versa.

      1. So you think it makes more sense to cripple their phone for the entire world because one group of entitled assholes doesn’t understand technology?

        Apple already makes an adapter for this. If they are required to redesign their entire phone, to use a substandard feature then yes, I think for the sake of the rest of the world, they should say fuck you EU live with your android mess.

        Apple’s lightning connected is not just for charging. It’s also for transferring data and much much higher rates then mini USB. It’s used to interface with technology in ways mini USB can only dream of. This would cripple a great function of the phone and require a redesign just for a small group of countries and it would affect the rest of the world.

        1. You do seem to have a real problem with “entitled asshole Europeans” just because of a dock connector?

          You are correct that Lightning is advanced connector that allows considerable connection options but then again Apple could have implemented a variant of MHL (Mobile High-Definition Link), a connection that allows for charging, syncing and output to an HDTV using a micro-USB port.

          I would say the real reason for the proprietary design is the authentication chip built in. I really like Apple products and as for the EU they can be an almighty pain sometimes but in this case I think they are right.

          1. If you don’t see a problem with a multinational company being force to redesign their product to use a less useful third rate standard, because a small group (small next to the size of the rest of the world) is worried about being slightly inconvenienced, then I don’t think there is anything left for us to talk about. I’m glad Apple has people with better decision making skills.

  9. the way mobile phone companies are losing out of buisness and going bankrupt, like Crackberry and HTC, it is better for the politicians to leave things alone and wait for nature to take its natural course

Reader Feedback

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.