Apple will be forced to change iPhone as Europe adopts common battery charger or something

“Apple will be forced to fall in line with all the other smartphone manufacturers and provide a standard battery charger on its iPhone,” David Gilbert reports for IB Times.

MacDailyNews Take: Apple won’t be forced to to anything.

“Currently Apple uses proprietary ports on its iPhones for transferring data and charging the battery of its iPhone but following the agreement of a provisional deal by EU on Thursday, it will be forced to change its stance as soon as 2017,” Gilbert reports. “EU lawmakers agreed to the draft deal which states that all mobile phone manufacturers will need to sign up to a common standard for battery chargers which can fit any device, including smartphones.”

“The draft EU legislation could be voted on by the EU parliament as soon as March 2014, and if it passes this stage each member country will be given two years to transpose the legislation into national law, with manufacturers like Apple and Samsung given a further year to implement the changes, meaning 2017 is the earliest we will see the changes come into effect,” Gilbert reports. “The mobile phone market is obviously a global one, so the impact of any changes made in the EU will have much wider reaching effects, as manufacturers will be reticent to produce different versions of their phones for different markets.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: If, big IF (getting each member country to agree on anything can be like herding cats) it comes to it, Apple will simply slap an adapter in every box starting in 2017, if Apple devices still even require a wired charger by then.

There are too many advantages to controlling the primary connector tech – from the device design to accessory sales – that there’s no way Apple will relinquish it.

The iPhone 5/5c/5s would not exist as is without the Lightning Connector. Note to EU Lawmakers (not that they’ll listen): Having a common battery charger is not worth the loss of innovation that will result.

Let the rest of the device assemblers handicap themselves with some government-mandated lowest common denominator port, stuck with a certain size and shape for many years, long after better, smaller, faster ways have been invented. That mindset is anathema to Apple and any other true innovator.


  1. This is another example of the guys in Europe trying to change our ways. If you don’t like how Apple (or any American company for that matter) does things, then don’t buy it. If you see that “Made in America” label, then by all means don’t buy it, just don’t get mad that American companies aren’t “localizing” our products. Apple, and America does things differently, and we frankly don’t care about how others perceive us.

    1. How we perceive you? Well, you spy on us, lie to us, betray us, cheat on us, ignore our laws and rights, etc.

      How we perceive you? As no better than the Russians and Chinese.

      I’d say you lost the moral high ground a long time ago.

        1. The US has become untrustworthy. They just today, lost $4.2 BILLION dollar contract to SABB. To SABB!

          Tell me, was that spying crap really worth $4.2B? And that’s just for starters. Do you think CISCO et al, Google et al, IBM et al are not going to lose Billions in the future because of this NSA bullshit?

          The government better pass some legislation to win back that trust……fast….or believe me, there will be a closed internet and closed high tech markets.

        2. The Hitler card? That is incredibly amusing. He has been dead for almost seventy years. What SnowdenFan is talking about is taking place TODAY.

          Whatever history may have seen, there is no question that today, USA is behaving much more like Soviet Union than ever before. And it isn’t gaining any fans out there by doing that.

        3. The Civil War killed more Americans than any in US history and I think it started in Charleston Harbor- South Carolina. The Rebs shelled a US Army Fort and many lived to regret it when the US Army kicked their ass and made it stick (occupation/Reconstruction).

      1. Yeah you tell em
        Yeah, like, take a look east and west Germany after cold war, see? no difference.
        And look at what those US imperialist rat bastards did to japan after the war! And china why they are really just “helping” the Tibetans. And that closed internet thing they do; just a “precaution”

        You in the “lessor” EU should thank your lucky stars for the UK and Germany without them bailing your ass(s) out you would have been down to 3rd would status a decade ago.

        And to the Germans; I personally apologize on behalf of the sane people still inhabiting in the US, for our “emperor in chief” spying on you and you leaders.
        If it make you feel any better (though it wouldn’t me) he spies on us too 🙁

        1. The “emperor in chiefs” have been spying on people for decades. The big ramp up in eavesdropping that everyone is now complaining about came in 2001 with the Patriot Act – rushed into law by the Shrub (“if you’re not with us you must be against us”). However, most countries spy on their friends and their enemies, and most European countries gather data on their own people and other countries and pass it to the NSA for analysis.
          This spying thing is just a straw man.

    2. Well I suppose we could cut out the European market from US companies who think that way. However considering it is a bigger market than the US I tend to doubt that many companies would wish to withdraw personally. Also I wonder how many Americans would accept the very same offer reversed ie accept our companies of Asian for that matter working the way they want or don’t buy it. Not sure how that would work out for you, isolationism didn’t work out too well before after all. Like it or not we all have to work to local rules and regulations, I think you lot fought a war over that concept.

  2. Easier still, adapt Apple’s charge port on all phones instead. It’s superior to anything else out there. But I agree, by 2017, a cable won’t be necessary. This is Apple after all, you know the company that does real innovating. It won’t be Europe Samsung and their like will be looking to, they’ll be looking at Cupertino, CA for charging technology.

    1. There is some discussion that the USB Standards board is going to (finally!!) consider going to a new plug that’s not orientation-sensitive (like the Lightning connector already is). It doesn’t take much use of the lightning to recognize just how bad USB sucks for regularly plugging things in.

      In any case, if Apple were utterly forced to put a micro USB plug on their iPhone, I can see it being implimented as a little side port with a metal cover (like the GSM SIM card) and for its electrical connections being limited to ONLY power (no USB signal): that would probably satisfy the EU’s potential legal requirement while also not being utterly ugly.

      The fine print will be if a paperclip will be required to open the cover port…hope so! 😉


  3. Anyone with a houseful of different chargers would welcome such a aw, but would find it acceptable to have limited variations.

    Products like Apple’s magnetic connector should be allowed to be approved under a strict review. Apple’s connector delivers a specific, unique benefit as any MacBook users will understand.

    Of course, Apple might decide to get it’s connectors to be the standard, with low cost licensing fees. Low cost works because the volume would be huge.

    1. If Apple were to license it’s connectors for say $1 per unit, then the bean counters would reject that in favor of a $0.99 per unit connector. There’s always going to be cheaper than Apple – AND THAT’S WHY I LOVE APPLE!

  4. This is all an evolution from the reactions to a period where Motorola, Nokia and others were changing the connector and charging devices every single generation on their mobile devices. Thus every time you got a new cell phone you had to get additional, new charging devices too (or else carry that single charging device that came with the phone with you). (Hell, in the old days not just the connector changed. Often the voltages and currents changed too, so just replacing the connector itself on the charger did you no good.)

    Many people have charging setups in their home office, their night table, their work office, and their car. In the old days that triggered this issue, you’d end up with a drawer full of old, useless chargers after just a very few years — none of which are compatible with your current phone.

    Now look at Apple’s implementation:
    The 30 pin connector and its charging bricks and cubes were useable across several different devices and across several different generations. There are even UL approved and Apple licensed third party versions of these. And the approved versions work across the full breadth of those Apple mobile devices. The exact opposite of the impetus for this EU action.

    No connector or charging technology is good forever. Thus, when it became appropriate, Apple switched to the Lightning Connector. That connector is becoming the standard across all new Apple mobile devices — and I expect it to be so for many years to come. Again, this is the true antithesis of the original reason for the EU’s actions.

    The EU needs to just realize that it is ridiculous to push a requirement through legislation for a reason that no longer exists.

  5. Apple’s devices will require wired chargers by 2017, if the company will want to make metal (aluminium, steel, liquid metal) enclosures, rather than glass or plastic.

    The glass radiotransparent “window” in iPhone 5/5s is too small for wireless charging, and meant for Wi-Fi/Bluetooth/Cellular signals, not power transmission.

    The only way how Apple can make good-quality devices is to make them all sapphire/glass on both sides, as iPhone 4/4s were. But it will increase weight; also, wireless charging requires bigger batteries, so the device will weight even more because of this too, and will be heavier.

    So I am not sure that Apple will be really interested in wireless charging, with so many drawbacks.

  6. Much ado about nothing.

    Apple already has a lightning-to-USB cable in the box. Apple’s charger uses USB. All the EU is doing is promoting the transition to Mini USB for CHARGERS, not for the phone interface.

    Apple could either toss a USB-to-Mini USB adapter in the box, or more likely just update the charger and cable to Mini USB. Surprising that Apple’s zeal for the smallest possible physical connectors didn’t already implement Mini USB on all its iGadget chargers when it started its agonizingly slow conversion over to the Lightning interface.

    The EU proposal is a good thing for everyone, and it doesn’t harm Apple or anyone in any way. There is no added value in proprietary non-adaptable chargers that other companies used to offer in the past.

    1. Exactly! The whole article and the comments above are all beside the point.
      Apple actually actually had USB chargers before anyone else and has been trying to promote USB chargers for the industry. The switch to mini-USB is a trivial one and only involves the charger side of the cable.

  7. All in the name of reducing landfill waste? Maybe this is to offset the massive landfilling of electronic devices caused by tin whiskers, which were pretty much brought to market by European regulators. Nice idea – unintended consequences.

    1. The vast majority of people have no idea what tin whiskers are, unfortunately. And yet this issue causes millions of device failures every year. But I’m sure the corporate media will not talk about it since we keep buying replacement gadgets as quickly as they fail.

  8. Idiotic law makers… They should be focusing on eliminating vampire power waste by charges (power wasted when nothing is connected to the charger), demand better battery quality and life expectancy, demand products have a high recycle index and no hazardous materials i.e. follow what Apple has been working towards.

    The cable standard does not help consumers or the environment and reduces innovation.

    PS. Wireless charging does not solve any of the above challenges.

  9. The accessory market is ery valuable to Apple. No one wants to junk all their lightning connecting accessories having just dumped all their 30pin ones.

    Apple could of course an a ‘dumb’ usb 3 micro socket on the left hand side – that does nothing buy provide a parallel charging point. It would not fit any other accessories – nor would they even have to offer a hole in their cases for its use.

  10. Well, many could think that Europe should have chosen Apple’s charger as standard… Legally impossible, yet. Let’s just hope that these future “universal charger will be (at least) as good as Apple ones!

  11. USB is at the end of Apples cables. Thats universal isn’t it?
    As in Universal Serial Bus. What more do they want? The common standard is USB. No need for all this Eurofuss.

  12. ‘battery chargers which can fit any device, including smartphones’
    What does that mean? Is it even possible? Laptops charged via USB?? Electric cars? I guess that would depend on your definition of ‘device’.

    And how is USB a standard. We’ve had A, B, mini and micro. We’ve got USB 2 and USB 3. Did I hear something else is on it’s way? Has ANY USB ‘standard’ lasted longer than the 30 pin Apple had for years from the iPod to the iPad? I bet the Lightning is around for longer too.

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