Apple could soon be forced to switch to microUSB chargers in Europe


Apple's various chargers could be scrapped for the microUSB charger.

Apple’s Lightning charger could cease to exist after an European Union (EU) Parliament committee decided phone chargers should be universal.

The unanimous decision- made earlier this week- means a law could require all phone makers to use a universal cable charger. The committee, which focuses on consumer protection, said the law will cut down on waste from unused chargers. They also insist radio equipment devices and their accessories, including chargers, should be inter-operable.

German MEP Barbara Weiler says a uniform device charging system is crucial for companies and consumers alike.

"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".

According to Macworld, this is not the first time the EU has tried to implement a uniform phone charging system. The EU, the International Telecommunications Union and leading phone companies drew up an agreement based on the microUSB connector in 2009. This would not affect companies such as Samsung, HTC and Nokia who already use microUSB ports. Since the agreement was unenforceable, Apple have decided against conforming to the standard.

Last week, we reported nine million units of the iPhone 5c and 5s have been sold over three days. If the newly proposed law is similar to the 2009 agreement, it is unlikely the company will want to adhere to the latest plans either.

The proposal still needs to pass the European Council and be approved by Parliament before the law can be created, so it could take a while to come into effect if the legislation is forwarded.

Source: Macworld | Image via 9to5Mac

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Most posts I read are basically saying the "Lightning" cable is better than microUSB. My question is in what way? Being able to plug it in on 2 sides is convenient, but I don't consider that better.

Even tho its name denotes fast, it isn't going to be any faster than the USB port you plug it into. So if your computer has a USB 2.0 port, the cable is going to work at that speed just like a microUSB cable.

The Lightning cable is actually lesser than the 30pin cable they had before.
MicroUSB has been able to handle multiple functions even tho it has less pins vs the Lightning cable. The microUSB port supports lots of things, its only downside is it can old do one thing at a time. The 30 pin connector could so more. The lightning cable like the USB cable can both move data and charge the device at the same time.

So, what is the other feature that is so great about Apple's cable that makes it better than microUSB.

Reading about the cable on Wiki, doesn't show the cable has any extended function beyond moving data and charging. It is simply an 8pin adaptation of the old 30 pin cable.

The problem with microUSB and Apple, is the cable can do more, but Apple will simply limit the cables usage by locking features native to the phones hardware like they always do.

It would be totally different if Apple's cbale had some extra capability that microUSB couldn't do. But it doesn't, so forcing APple to just use the standard cable everyone else is using seems like a great move.

The benefit of this cable is Apple owns it, and as long as stupid idiots are willing to pay $20 for a $3.00 cable is why APple makes their own. Its all about the bottom line. The cable itself is simply not better. If it is...PROVE IT>

I don't live in Europe, but in the USA, the vast majority of phone makers are using the standard cables (microUSB). So what if you have to actually look to pull it in. Only a dummy or someone blind wouldn't want too. I see it as no different than anything else you plug in. Most things require the plug be facing a certain way...like the USB end of the cable.

The Lightning cable is not better.

If forced to, I'm betting that Apple will just include a small adapter with devices sold in Europe.

Worst case (for Apple) would be adding a micro USB port on the iPhone for charging only (in addition to the lightning connector).

As far as USB "standards" go, I have so many usb devices and they all use different connectors. My two digital cameras have different "standard" USB connectors, my Logitech Remote, etc. etc. etc. IMO USB "standard" is quite the oxymoro. Its hilarious that so many people are chirping that this particular USB port should somehow be THE ONE. Arguably, Apple's 30-pin connector was more "standardized" than any single USB connector.

It's very funny how many people here that don't have Apple devices are going on-and-on on how a device that they will never touch with a 10 foot pole needs to change to accommodate them somehow. I'm pro-free-market here. If the connector was that big of a deal to the consumer, they wouldn't be buying iPhones. If it is a big deal to the consumer, Apple will change to meet consumer demands. Not into this whole communist over-regulation BS that is happening in Europe.

There is 2 big reasons why i don't like Lightning and why microUSB should get standard.

1. Lightning cables are expensive: http://www.gizmodo.com.au/2013...blem-with-lightning-cables/

2. The Lightning Digital AV-adapter that you have to use to be able to run your phone to your TV is horrible for multimedia: https://www.panic.com/blog/201...igital-av-adapter-surprise/

So if you want to connect your phone to your TV and see movies and so on on your TV, then you are going to have a horribly experience.

Oh noes, we can't plug in the microUSB cable both ways, what a horror. Like we would care. No one cares that the UBS cables can only be inserted one way, and so does everyone that you only can do the same for microUSB.

So yep, Lightning sucks for anything except for transfering files. So yep, Apple should use microUSB as standard, because it's better.

Edited by Exynos, Sep 30 2013, 1:47pm :

So how come the EU didn't do anything about Digital camera manufacturers they all use a different size/shaped USB plug even between different models of the same make and we didn't hear a squeak out of the EU about it

but I do agree a simple micro USB connector on every device would help with cable clutter and the interoperability of charging any device from the same cable .... also maybe the EU should look at how much RF interference an wall wart puts out too seems there's a lot of difference between manufacturers of these aswell my samsung wall wart charger is atrociously noisy where as the Asus nexus 7's is as quiet as a mouse with regards to RF noise

Every smartphone should come with a micro USB port, in just a recycled cardboard box, with possibly a small paper quick-start guide.

No earphones, charger, memory card, or USB cable.

You should then be able to buy your own USB charger (with just a standard USB port), your own micro USB cable, your own memory card (if applicable), and your own earphones.

I always use the charger and cord that comes with any phone I buy as it's just there included, but I never use the earphones, because of their poor quality, and the fact I already own some.

As for memory cards, if the phone I buy supports one, I will always buy a much larger capacity one as usually any included are of a smaller capacity.

“It's just manufactured”

Yeah, right, but Apple has no idea how to do that, so it rely on SamSung to manufacture and China to assemble their toys.

Pretty simple. Apple needs to operate by the same rules as everyone else. They are subject to an EU rule and simply chose to ignore it. EU should claw back a few of those billions as fines from the entitled ones.

Tired of proprietary connectors and the greed it feeds. It worked out really well for Nokia and Motorola, didn't it? Apple's goodwill will run its course and they'll be in the sh*t-house just like Nokia before too long. Can't wait to watch the repo man come evict them from Cupertino some day.

No big deal. AC outlets (the mains outlet) are pretty much universal, why not something as "common" as a mobile phone/device? USA and a couple other places use a blade type plug, pretty much everyone else (on 220) uses a pin setup.

If it weren't for their unnecessarily strict gun laws, I would like to live in Europe. They seem to have a lot of sense when it comes to business decisions like this.

Encouraging competition is exactly the kind of thing the government should be doing. Just think if you had to buy a special outlet for every type of lamp you had. Wouldn't that tend to lock you into certain lamp brands and restrict competition?

While i agree this is a good thing, encouraging competition doesn't work in the main.

All it does is lock people in to one system or another, to which that company can charge what it likes.

Privatisation with utilities in the UK has done just that. One company raises prices, the others follow suit and shareholders profit, NOT consumers.

I don't know how you privatize utilities since they're by nature a monopoly. In a competitive market one would also likely lower prices to increase their number of customers.

Except we're not just talking about only powering a device here so your argument doesn't exactly fit. Competition still thrives in the accessories for the devices too. Considering chargers typically come with tablets and phones, it's not really a big deal to switch either.

Spicoli said,
Encouraging competition is exactly the kind of thing the government should be doing. Just think if you had to buy a special outlet for every type of lamp you had. Wouldn't that tend to lock you into certain lamp brands and restrict competition?

That's a really bad analogy because you do have to buy a lamp for your nation's outlet type. EU plugs look like they can make rotisserie chicken. Is legislation for this really doing "the people" a favor? Have you ever had to do the EU ISO stuff? Nothing like having to do three hours of paperwork for 30 minutes of actual work. Lawyers love to do this because it guarantees a steady source of income through fines and compliance. I can see it now... someone brilliant person made a device that cures cancer, however, we had to ban it because it didn't work by our standards.

Government wouldn't be needed, if the major manufacturers would agree amongst themselves to a single standard. Regrettably, corporate greed trumps common sense.

TsarNikky said,
Government wouldn't be needed, if the major manufacturers would agree amongst themselves to a single standard. Regrettably, corporate greed trumps common sense.

Absolutely ridiculous! Greed you say? You must be talking about the greed to not want to cover warranty repairs from the cheap 2 cent cable purchased that shorts the device. This is a quality control issue to ensure the product isn't damaged. Why do brick and mortar stores charge $40 for the same HDMI cable that sells for $5 online? It's because you need it now and the retailers are doing that. It just amazes me that people don't think about these things and believe lawyers have the best intentions. Don't people have critical thinking anymore? Like trusting Wikipedia, it should be the start of your journey, not the end.

I'm surprised at all the praise for Apple's connector here. Sure, you could compare two connectors and find that one is technically superior. But if one is a proprietary connector then that is a major blow against it.

Lol, this is funny. I think most people here are complaining not because of liking the Lightning but just cos of this fixation people seem to have with opposing everything that comes from government. I'm not a fan of them either, but don't think the other side is much better!
I wonder if you guys feel the same about the EU wanting to end roaming charges.

Don't get me wrong, I like my Lightning cables and ports quite a bit (mostly I love that I can be plugged in either way) but don't see why they can't all use USB and just work on what can be improved

Leave it the EU to come up with long-overdue standards, that the US is unwilling to dictate. "Standards," what a concept!

And, what exactly stops the businesses from turning this into a profit opportunity?

They could easily continue to use the existing chargers. But, for those consumers that live in the area of this law, charge $500 added to the retail price for a "consumer adapter regulation fee" and supply a $2 adapter to make it compliant.

While I'm not a fan of their proprietary adapter... its obvious it server to provide more than charging and storage access. Its too bad the EU is going to use force to make apple provide a substandard connector.

MrHumpty said,
While I'm not a fan of their proprietary adapter... its obvious it server to provide more than charging and storage access. Its too bad the EU is going to use force to make apple provide a substandard connector.

So, if microUSB is substandard then by extension you're saying that ALL devices that use microUSB are substandard!!

How many manufacturers use Lightning, that's right, just Apple. If microUSB is substandard then why are 99% of the worlds Smartphones using it, are they substandard as well?

neo158 said,

So, if microUSB is substandard then by extension you're saying that ALL devices that use microUSB are substandard!!

How many manufacturers use Lightning, that's right, just Apple. If microUSB is substandard then why are 99% of the worlds Smartphones using it, are they substandard as well?

Does the fact that all of them use it make Appel's implementation substandard?

I mean, all those other manu's have neat little contraptions that work through their USB ports right?

P.S. I don't like Apple products nor do I have any. I just don't see value in the Government designing products for manu's.

MrHumpty said,
Does the fact that all of them use it make Appel's implementation substandard?

I mean, all those other manu's have neat little contraptions that work through their USB ports right?

P.S. I don't like Apple products nor do I have any. I just don't see value in the Government designing products for manu's.

Apple don't use microUSB on any of their devices so their implementation of it is non existent. Why would I want to plug a device into my phone when Bluetooth does the job nicely?

This is just like NFC and Apple refusing to implement it. NFC is THE standard for wireless payments yet Apple refuse to adopt it.

neo158 said,
Apple don't use microUSB on any of their devices so their implementation of it is non existent. Why would I want to plug a device into my phone when Bluetooth does the job nicely?
It implements USB through their connector. Bluetooth has limitations compared to the lightning connector. I'm speculating there, but I imagine there bandwidth would be the first limitation among others.

neo158 said,
This is just like NFC and Apple refusing to implement it. NFC is THE standard for wireless payments yet Apple refuse to adopt it.
NFC isn't a standard for payment, it's a standard for close proximity radio communications between devices with a description of protocols etc.

And frankly, if the absence of NFC is such a huge deal the market doesn't really care. People buy the phones of their own free will and don't seem to care that a) it uses a proprietary connector other than a MicroUSB hardware connector (though still supports USB) and b) Doesn't support NFC.

Not one of you who stated "Lightning > microUSB" has justified why that is the case. If Lightning really was superior then 99% of the Smartphones on the market would use it and not just the 1% that Apple makes!!!

“Apple's iPhone connectors offer more functionality than standard micro USB connectors, like the ability to directly control accessories from the iPhone screen,” said Ian Fogg, principal analyst at IHS, “and it enables Apple to deliver a rich variety of third-party accessories.”

neo158 said,
Not one of you who stated "Lightning > microUSB" has justified why that is the case. If Lightning really was superior then 99% of the Smartphones on the market would use it and not just the 1% that Apple makes!!!
Just because it provides USB functionality doesn't mean that's all it is capable of, which is obvious by the hardware that utilize it.

I know you're joking, but I've wanted this with standard USB cables for the longest time. As an IT guy trying to dig in between crawl spaces sometimes to connect devices, it's been on my Christmas list for a good while.

Unlike Microsoft, Google or and other large company that made their money from charging bare minimum above cost prices. When you say stupid things people just think you are stupid.

Except that they've changed charger types once, versus Samsung, LG, and all the other manufacturers where we've gone through dozens of different types of chargers. It wasn't like the Lightning was just change for the sake of change either, but a positive change that, as evidenced by this thread, is preferred over MicroUSB.

Maybe we should agree upon a better connector that offers us similar advantages that we can all agree on? Though, I suppose that won't change anything in regards to "e-waste". It seems the only thing MicroUSB has going for it is being able to use it on many devices. Why be complacent with technology?

And if prices are such an issue, maybe you shouldn't have bought into Apple to begin with. I hate that whole "I'm poor but I needed Apple products" BS. It's a joke. I have a budget just like everyone else, but I'm not dropping crazy money on Apple products. Personal responsibility and such.

I'm quite shocked that neither MacWorld or either the author of this article in Neowin readied the original article; he even linked it... the article never said which interface was proposed (either microUSB, Lightning or whatever), just that a universal charger was need it for a) reducing costs and b) reducing waste. This is valid for radio devices, such as phone, tablets, car door openers and other devices that use radio signal. I applaud the EP for this decision, so we as consumers can use a standard interface (hope that the better one wins, of course) for all the devices, reducing in fact the wast of cables and chargers.

Why you guys even think this is a bad decision? If a newer, better interface appears then great, it could become the universally one. I dunno why this become a Apple article, in the first place.

The 2009 agreement initially called for companies to adapt their phones to fit microUSB cables. There is much speculation that the proposed laws will require companies to do the same, seeing as it is more common than other forms. The keyword here is "could". We are not confirming that will happen, we are not denying it either.

i dont care if they go for lighting, usb, microusb, usb3, whatever the hell they want, but yeh there should be universal connectors/chargers.
it was really bad a few years back when even phones from the same company had different freaking cables.

Hitman2000 said,
i dont care if they go for lighting, usb, microusb, usb3, whatever the hell they want, but yeh there should be universal connectors/chargers.
it was really bad a few years back when even phones from the same company had different freaking cables.
agreed

I am not an Apple fan but a charger that can charge not how its inserted should be universal. I am not saying the lightning but maybe making a microusb the same would be beneficial.

One of the most stupid ideas ever.....

Ok lets say this goes through and in two years time we are all using microUSB but Intel or somebody else invents a faster better connector that can transfer data at 10GB per second and charge a battery in 2 minutes but nobody can use it because it's against the law.

Or worse still people just stop trying to innovate connector/chargers because what's the point when only microUSB is allowed.

Consumers decide if standards live or die not parliaments and law makers.

The phone manufacturers could simply allow multiple charging methods, also phones don't need 10gb connections, they wouldn't even need a connection at all if cloud/wireless syncing was the norm. That said I would have still preferred something better than MicroUSB, something that easily disconnects if you trip on the cable. If only charging pads didn't require those annoying thick covers...

I think it's a good idea.
I can't see why having something universal isn't good?

Most phones I come across are micro-USB so it annoys me when someone has an iPhone and I can't offer them the right charger. I tell them it's the peril with going with a non-standard company (and explain how iPods don't play MP3 (it's converted to AAC isn't it?), while most other media players do).

Sony used to be like this with Minidisc, their memory duo cards, finally only did they succeed with Bluray. But now all their phones (with removable memory) are the standard.

I don't have a problem whether it's this "lightning port" or the micro-USB, but I pity Apple for developing something, which has been branded an advancement in technology, but keeping it to themselves unless must money is paid.

Sir Topham Hatt said,
I tell them it's the peril with going with a non-standard company (and explain how iPods don't play MP3 (it's converted to AAC isn't it?), while most other media players do).

That's incorrect. Why would you think that? Never mind that AAC isn't some kind of proprietary Apple technology either.

Sir Topham Hatt said,
I can't see why having something universal isn't good?

Because they're standardizing on an inferior connector.

I wasn't sure hence the question mark. But even so, their primary music format is AAC, there is no doubt. Furthermore, there is no doubt they are the only company to use that format. But are you sure on the converting thing? I thought that's why it took a good while to transfer files...

Also if they "licence" it out, then companies won't want to buy into this "new" technology as it'll cost them money... money going to another competitor. If it was freely available and called USB 4, it would stand a chance.

Sir Topham Hatt said,
I wasn't sure hence the question mark. But even so, their primary music format is AAC, there is no doubt. Furthermore, there is no doubt they are the only company to use that format.

What do you mean? AAC (Advanced Audio Coding) is supported by a wide range of devices ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Advanced_Audio_Coding#Hardware ) . You might be thinking of ALAC (which is Apple's semi-recently open-sourced lossless audio format) instead. But even that is adopted by a growing number of companies now that it is available royalty-free and open-source.

Sir Topham Hatt said,

But are you sure on the converting thing?

Yes.

There is an *option* to convert all music going onto an iDevice to 128/192/256 kbps AAC, as a way of saving space and such. But it is only an option. Not required.

Second, while AAC isn't as common as a format used by companies, it is almost as widely supported by hardware as MP3, and several sites for buying music actually offer both formated, as AAC is infact a better format in terms of Quality<->Bitrate.

Personally I have my iPhone set so all music is converted to 128kbps AAC, as most of my music is either Apple Lossless, 320kbps MP3/AAC, or 256kbps AAC from the iTunes store. It saves me a lot of space.

And about time too! It is high time that Apple ceases to get special treatment. Last time they got around it by having the agreement amended so that they could get away with including an adapter. Lets hope that doesn't happen this time. If everyone else can use Micro USB, so can Apple.
I agree, though, that the Lightning connector has some useful features, but Micro USB is already a standard, which works quite well, and that makes it infinitely more useful than Apple's proprietary connectors, which only exist to keep people within the ecosystem.

omgben said,
So we should just settle for Micro USB and never strive for anything better?
how mich better is a charging cavle going to get? it charges and moves data at USB speed no matter what funny connector is on the other end.

So this is a terrible idea, a smarter solution would be to mandate that chargers offer a single output socket, and let phone manufacturers target that.

So USB, because that's the situation we're already in.

Mandating phones use a specific data connection for power is really short-sighted.

Phones are already running USB out of spec due to power requirements, but even then putting that requirement into the power adapter itself is the right solution.

I can charge my iPhone from my old HTC phone charger, just like my Nexus 7, even though the 3 devices all have different sockets on the devices themselves.

The_Decryptor said,
So this is a terrible idea, a smarter solution would be to mandate that chargers offer a single output socket, and let phone manufacturers target that.

So USB, because that's the situation we're already in.

Mandating phones use a specific data connection for power is really short-sighted.

Why is it short sighted? It's the best way to combine two ports into one and every pc out there (including macs) these days has a USB port. They don't all have firewire or thunderbolt or whatever. It makes the most sense, unless you want two ports, one for just charging and one for just data.

The USB spec wasn't originally designed to be a power-only thing. So everything has the same cable at the other end? Great. Now how about power output? Does that need to be standardised?

Some phone chargers are 0.5 amp, Kindle fire is 1.8 amp, whilst the iPad's is 2.1 amp. What happens in the future if someone makes a phone that needs 3 amps?

I don't see why the EU have such a bee in their bonnet about mobile chargers. It's the same with laptops and other gadgets. I would rather have the nicety of the lightning cable, than be able to use my mates micro usb cable.

I think the bee in their bonnet is about the volume of chargers that end up in waste disposal rather than user convenience.

DonC said,
I think the bee in their bonnet is about the volume of chargers that end up in waste disposal rather than user convenience.

You would think that would be obvious, but nobody seems to get it. That's the real reason.

So how is a having a MicroUSB standard going to reduce waste? Every device I buy will still come with *a* charger. If one breaks, I'll throw it out and replace it. The only waste that's going to stop is when people go from iPhone -> Samsung, etc, etc. However, in those circumstances, the adapter will normally follow the phone in being sold/thrown out, etc.

It's a small problem, with a fix which has a big impact on consumers. It's like saying "there's two flies flying around in here, let me go get the bazooka and we'll sort them right out" - in typical EU style!

Apple's current 30-pin connector (used as a charger) also can be used for data (the fold-out plug is removable, and exposes...a male USB plug). I've therefore used the SAME cable for both charging and data transfer/backup (in this case, to a PC running Windows 8.1 - the same PC also runs OS X, so it's not a software issue). Are you referring to the phone end, or the opposing end? If you are referring to the opposing end, why didn't Apple make the "Lightning" cable the same way they did with the 30-pin cable? (As I mentioned, the non-device end can be either USB or standard skinny travel plug, which fits like a cap over the USB plug, as is the case with the 30-pin cable today.)

The EU's hope is that Micro USB power will become ubiquitous and thus devices will not be supplied with a charger by default.

As I said then, mandate that on the charger side, I can already charge my iPhone off my HTC phone charger, and my Nexus 7 off my iPhone charger, mandating a specific data port on the device though limits future expandability (What happens when somebody wants to put a Thunderbolt connector on their phone, provide a secondary MicroUSB port for charging?)

One more problem with this - Nintendo tried not including a charger with their 3DS XL. General feedback was, shall we say, more than slightly negative - and kind of shows that people want a charger included (how would you feel if you bought a laptop and there was no charger in the box).

I agree with both of you! Standardizing on the other end of the lead would make a lot more sense, and it will take quite a change in user expectation before they would happily take a product without a charger. It took a lot of swamping users with USB Type A to USB Type B cables before people would be OK about not getting one with a product.

One scenario I would like to see supported is a large conference theatre which has connectors for laptops, tablets, phones, etc. I'd much rather a bench of ports to plug things into than lots of dangly cables.

Same goes for hotel rooms. Now if the device manufacturer doesn't really care then sure go for MicroUSB, or whatever the recommended connector is, because the user has probably got a stash of cables or the hotel / conference room could stock some cables for guests to borrow. However it's crazy to penalize manufacturers that do innovate in that area, like Apple with MagSafe.

I'm in favour of the idea that *something* should be done but the current proposal is short sighted.

Lightning > MicroUSB simply because it can be connected either way. With USB3/3.1, there is plenty of speed to go around. What the manufacturers DO with that port is another story - dock connection etc, is up to them.

I think standardizing on a connector is a great idea. Would be good to do the same for the rest of gadgets too - see laptop chargers (either apple or MS Surface magnetic connectors).

Hollywood's Karo said,
Lightning > MicroUSB easily. 'nuff said.

what is it better at doing? can u hook a usb thumb drive to it? its basicslly useless. it doesnt even work with iPod out. at least with usb, a FAT formatted drive will work in my car from any phone.

there is NoTHING u can come up with that would make the lightning connector better.

being able to use either side doesnt matter bec most cables require u turn them a certain way.

everyone is using strawman arguments.

Hollywood's Karo said,
Lightning > MicroUSB easily. 'nuff said.
Better at what? What is it better at? Is it better just because Apple did it? Or does it have something that microUSB can't do?

I hope they do it.

Since I don't carry my own charger at work I usually ask someone else for one and when they say "Oh you got a Sony but I have Samsung" they it's easy, it's still the same cable. When someone has an iPhone and offers it to me all I can say is "Nope".

alwaysonacoffebreak said,
I hope they do it.

Since I don't carry my own charger at work I usually ask someone else for one and when they say "Oh you got a Sony but I have Samsung" they it's easy, it's still the same cable. When someone has an iPhone and offers it to me all I can say is "Nope".


Well, yes, it would certainly benefit people who *don't* use iPhones if Apple was forced to switch to microUSB....

For iPhone users on the other hand, switching from the Lightning connector to microUSB would actually worsen the product, imho...

CSharp. said,

Well, yes, it would certainly benefit people who *don't* use iPhones....

For iPhone users on the other hand, switching from the Lightning connector to MicroUSB would actually worsen the product, imho...

Yep.

They should just make Apple bundle a MicroUSB to lightning/30 pin adaptor with every product sold.

CSharp. said,

Well, yes, it would certainly benefit people who *don't* use iPhones if Apple was forced to switch to microUSB....

For iPhone users on the other hand, switching from the Lightning connector to microUSB would actually worsen the product, imho...

Not quite, the reverse situation evens that out - what do you do when you need to charge your iPhone at a friend's house and they don't own any Apple stuff? Nothing, you're screwed. Meanwhile all your HTC, Samsung and Sony friends can share cables without an issue.

It doesn't matter that lightning is "better" (or worse), what matters is that they all use the same connector. If Apple really hates USB that much, the solution is to join the board in charge of the spec and push it towards adding the features and changes they need.

Kushan said,

Not quite, the reverse situation evens that out - what do you do when you need to charge your iPhone at a friend's house and they don't own any Apple stuff? Nothing, you're screwed. Meanwhile all your HTC, Samsung and Sony friends can share cables without an issue.

It doesn't matter that lightning is "better" (or worse), what matters is that they all use the same connector. If Apple really hates USB that much, the solution is to join the board in charge of the spec and push it towards adding the features and changes they need.

Why the hell is that parliament's concern?

This is like saying what happens if you need to take a dump at a friend's house and they have no toilet paper, or what happens if you have a headache and they have no paracetamol.

If it's such a big concern, you take your own stuff with you. Take your own charger.

I like my lightning cables and accessories, and parliament can sod off. It's none of their damn business.

Again, in the end the "Lightning connector" is USB with a proprietary connector on one end. Apple just wanted to make it smaller on one end. They did this for another way to market their new products. Just like iPhone 5s, 64 bit technology in the iPhone would only benefit if it had more than 4GB of internal RAM. It's all marketing gimmicks.

CSharp. said,

Well, I disagree.
then you fail at logic. Firewire on paper is better tha USB. but in real world usage USB is better. USB is more flexible while firewire is not. winner? usb. same reason pcs dominate macs.


TechieXP said,
Firewire on paper is better tha USB. but in real world usage USB is better. USB is more flexible while firewire is not. winner? usb. same reason pcs dominate macs.

I'm thoroughly impressed by your formidable logic.

CSharp. said,

I'm thoroughly impressed by your formidable logic.
Okay lets try a more simple approach. What makes Apple's cable better than microUSB? Please mention something other than being able to use either side of the plug.

Hardcore Til I Die said,

Hope so 'cause I prefer lightning.

So you'd prefer all other companies pay an Apple Tax to use the lightning adapter too?

TCLN Ryster said,

So you'd prefer all other companies pay an Apple Tax to use the lightning adapter too?

I'd rather they included a MicroUSB to lightning/30 pin adaptor with every iDevices sold, so that people who have bought lightning accessories don't get royally screwed, and continue to include a lightning charger with iDevices.

TCLN Ryster said,

So you'd prefer all other companies pay an Apple Tax to use the lightning adapter too?

"Apple Tax"? It's called licensing fees dude.

The_Decryptor said,

"Apple Tax"? It's called licensing fees dude.

No different than the "Microsoft Tax" when you buy a new PC.

Sounds like good business to me. While I don't like that they have their own, I don't like the fact that a governing body should demand they change their product. Where were they back in the day where every manufacturer had their own ports?

So can you charge that iPhone with an old MicroUSB charger if you lose your Apple one? No.

So you have to buy another even if you have three or four MicroUSB ones laying around. That's probably the point of all this.

I agree that including a MicroUSB adapter on Apple's side would be good, that doesn't solve the underlying issue.

Not to mention that Apple already made that change from charging the old iDevices with a different plug. I agree it's better, just stating a fact. New plugs even when the old ones work just fine.

Kushan said,
No different than the "Microsoft Tax" when you buy a new PC.

Yet PCs are cheaper than Macs, your point being?

Nashy said,
They'll just include an adapter. Problem solved.

Wow It appears that for the last couple of months neowin.net has been high jacked by Apple lovers. More hate for MS and more apologist for Apple appear on this realm.

Nashy said,
They'll just include an adapter. Problem solved.

you mean like they did cor the 30 pin connector that doesnt work with 3rd party items with the 30 pin dock?

why buy a useless $30 adapter when you can all just have the same connector

I agree. But at the end of the day, I really don't care what Apple do. If they have their own, that's what I have to deal with. If they have micro USB, it makes it more helpful. But meh.

The issue is e-waste and companies using exclusive connectors to artificially inflate prices and limit competition. Apple can get around this by adding a MicroUSB connection in addition to any other connection or by getting the entire industry to adopt their preference of connector but an adaptor is not considered acceptable.

theyarecomingforyou said,
The issue is e-waste and companies using exclusive connectors to artificially inflate prices and limit competition. Apple can get around this by adding a MicroUSB connection in addition to any other connection or by getting the entire industry to adopt their preference of connector but an adaptor is not considered acceptable.

There is no 'issue' - just parliament trying to stick its' nose where it doesn't belong.

What happened to consumer freedom to buy what they want? If you want a MicroUSB device, BUY ONE.

Hardcore Til I Die said,
There is no 'issue' - just parliament trying to stick its' nose where it doesn't belong.

Not at all. It wasn't long ago that every mobile has a proprietary charger, many of which were hard to come by after they were discontinued. The EU proposed a standard connector many years ago and since then we've seen manufacturers unite behind a single standard, with the exception of Apple.

I fully support this proposal.

theyarecomingforyou said,
The issue is e-waste and companies using exclusive connectors to artificially inflate prices and limit competition. Apple can get around this by adding a MicroUSB connection in addition to any other connection or by getting the entire industry to adopt their preference of connector but an adaptor is not considered acceptable.
But why force people to use inferior technology, I've used microUSB with android phones and I would never want to go back from my lighting connector

theyarecomingforyou said,

Not at all. It wasn't long ago that every mobile has a proprietary charger, many of which were hard to come by after they were discontinued. The EU proposed a standard connector many years ago and since then we've seen manufacturers unite behind a single standard, with the exception of Apple.

I fully support this proposal.

I fail to see why it matters that Apple doesn't use a standard connector. What are the chances of lightning or even 30 pin cables being discontinued any time soon? Not very.

They already sell a MicroUSB to 30 pin/lightning adaptor. Why should they be forced to use a standard cable when there are already accessories that can make the devices work with said cable? If anything, they should just be made to include an adaptor with every product sold. Then everyone is happy, no?

To reduce waste retailers could introduce some kind of swap a cable scheme, or recycling scheme, whereby you can swap a cable for a monetary amount towards your new cable.

Rudy said,
But why force people to use inferior technology, I've used microUSB with android phones and I would never want to go back from my lighting connector

Same here. The lightning connector is like a tank in terms of durability, and being able to stick it in any orientation is mildly useful too.

Rudy said,
But why force people to use inferior technology, I've used microUSB with android phones and I would never want to go back from my lighting connector

That's not what the proposal does. It simply requires all companies to agree to use a standard connector. If a particular connector is out-of-date then the industry needs to decide upon a new one. As far as I'm aware the proposal doesn't prohibit companies from including multiple connectors, so Apple can continue to include the Lightning connector as long as it includes micro-USB as well.

This was first proposed back in 2010 and 14 of the largest mobile manufacturers agree to it. Apple is the only major player to have chosen to ignore it.

Hardcore Til I Die said,

Same here. The lightning connector is like a tank in terms of durability, and being able to stick it in any orientation is mildly useful too.

My cousin has had two lightning cables for her iPad mini go bad already. They don't seem to be very durable. Then again she might just be terrible.

Hardcore Til I Die said,

There is no 'issue' - just parliament trying to stick its' nose where it doesn't belong.

Holy crap are you listening to the crap that's coming out? **** you should go to a doctor.

What happened to consumer freedom to buy what they want? If you want a MicroUSB device, BUY ONE.

Hardcore Til I Die said,

There is no 'issue' - just parliament trying to stick its' nose where it doesn't belong.

What happened to consumer freedom to buy what they want? If you want a MicroUSB device, BUY ONE.

"muh freedoms" detected.

It's not about that at all. It's about waste and being proprietary for the sake of it. Two things Apple is very good at.

SirJimmyOfRussell said,

"muh freedoms" detected.

It's not about that at all. It's about waste and being proprietary for the sake of it. Two things Apple is very good at.

It's the laws that allow for monopolies on proprietary connectors to exist which is causing this mess. Having the same governing body which enforces said copyright and patent laws "fix" the charger situation by creating more laws is unnecessary and is a waste itself. Remove these laws, allowing anyone to utilize a port without royalties, and the best one will eventually come out as the lead.

theyarecomingforyou said,

That's not what the proposal does. It simply requires all companies to agree to use a standard connector. If a particular connector is out-of-date then the industry needs to decide upon a new one. As far as I'm aware the proposal doesn't prohibit companies from including multiple connectors, so Apple can continue to include the Lightning connector as long as it includes micro-USB as well.

This was first proposed back in 2010 and 14 of the largest mobile manufacturers agree to it. Apple is the only major player to have chosen to ignore it.

And I'm gald they chose to ignore it. Micro-usb is a terrible connector and adding another connector will only end up in extra costs being passed to the consumers

Rudy said,
Micro-usb is a terrible connector and adding another connector will only end up in extra costs being passed to the consumers

MicroUSB has been a blessing for consumers, as it has become the universal standard for phones. It's not terrible by any stretch, though it's far from perfect. I do think that the Lightning connector is better but it's never going to become an industry standard if it has excessive licensing fees and there needs to be momentum behind it.

To me it doesn't matter what the connector is but I do think that manufacturers should all stick to a standard fitting. There's no reason Apple couldn't have included a microUSB connector on previous generations (before the Lightning connector) so it's clear that there is a deliberate policy to have a unique connector. As I said, I think the EU is right to push this legislation and I hope it doesn't back down.

ROFLCOPTERS said,

"muh freedoms" detected.

It's not about that at all. It's about waste and being proprietary for the sake of it. Two things Apple is very good at.

Apple specialises at making premium devices. Everything down to their cables is high quality.

That's not being proprietary for the sake of it.

Hardcore Til I Die said,

Apple specialises at making premium devices. Everything down to their cables is high quality.

That's not being proprietary for the sake of it.

The cables are dung. Especially the old 30 pin design. Those frayed like nothing else. Nothing high quality about the function either...it's not magical copper or such like.

ROFLCOPTERS said,

The cables are dung. Especially the old 30 pin design. Those frayed like nothing else. Nothing high quality about the function either...it's not magical copper or such like.

To each their own. Always been great for me.

If they want to force a universal charger on someone - PICK THE BETTER CHARGER.

Lightning > Micro USB.

Whether or not Apple would agree to let everyone use it is another matter...

Agreed. On another matter, I feel MagSafe should be made a universal charger plug for all laptops. The amount of times I've damaged my laptop/charger from tripping on the power cord over the years Sadly that would never happen either. Apple would never in million years allow one of the defining features of the MacBook line to be used on competing devices.

articuno1au said,
Lightning = USB when connected to a USB port..

SOOOOOO... Yep.

Sorry, should've been more clear. The reversibility and durability of it is what makes it better. I know these are only minor things.... but if you've ever ran over a cable with your chair and bent it, you'll appreciate the durability of it.

Yeah, but that's quality of build, not of the design.

You can build a MicroUSB cable to be equally durable. It's just that people wouldn't buy them knowing they can get a cheapy for $10 less.

That's always been a human problem: "Ohh, this one is better, but double the price.. I'll buy two cheap ones!"

articuno1au said,
Yeah, but that's quality of build, not of the design.

You can build a MicroUSB cable to be equally durable. It's just that people wouldn't buy them knowing they can get a cheapy for $10 less.

That's always been a human problem: "Ohh, this one is better, but double the price.. I'll buy two cheap ones!"

The reversibility is part of the design, but I see what you're saying.

Hardcore Til I Die said,
Li
ghtning > Micro USB.

Whether or not Apple would agree to let everyone use it is another matter...


I thought lightning was an Intel technology originally known as Thunderbolt.

Hardcore Til I Die said,

Sorry, should've been more clear. The reversibility and durability of it is what makes it better. I know these are only minor things.... but if you've ever ran over a cable with your chair and bent it, you'll appreciate the durability of it.

Hardcore Til I Die said,

Sorry, should've been more clear. The reversibility and durability of it is what makes it better. I know these are only minor things.... but if you've ever ran over a cable with your chair and bent it, you'll appreciate the durability of it.

That's still a manufacturing quality issue though, if you made a micro USB cable with a titanium jacket it would be stronger and if you buy a $1 Lightning charger it'll be a piece of crud.

Personally, I support this, regardless of what connector is used (in the end it doesn't matter because everyone will be using the same one) Because It wouldn't just help with chargers, but the multitude of accessories that these devices use. Cars, home audio, adapters (MHL, USB OTG etc etc) all these could have universal sockets and plugs.

Well, to be honest 90% do, the Universal part of Universal Serial Bus covers that. The other 10% use propitiatory connectors. A big chunk of that is apple, but they're not the only ones.

Wouldn't believe the number of people that want thunderbolt cables..

Turned a ton of them away until I realised they were after a lightning cable.. People are stupid.

articuno1au said,
Wouldn't believe the number of people that want thunderbolt cables..

Turned a ton of them away until I realised they were after a lightning cable.. People are stupid.

So instead of asking did you mean lightning cable? You turned them away?

You call them stupid!

Durability wise original apple cables or horrible though.

The design of the harder rubber part around the cable where TOS connected to the plug is 100% about design and 0% about functionality. Causing it to be to hard with to sharpe edges and thus actually cutting the cable after some use, instead of it's intended purpose which is to act as a gradual spring that stops cables from tearing.

The springy design may not look as good but at least they do their job.

When someone asks for a thunderbolt cable, you would pretty much assume they know what they want. Am I supposed to ask every person that comes to the store asking for a cable if maybe they want this, this or this cable instead...

I turned them away because we don't sell thunderbolt cables, and one would think if you know enough to know what a thunderbolt cable is, you'd know enough to get it right.

Just throwing it out there.

wrack said,

I thought lightning was an Intel technology originally known as Thunderbolt.

nope, just a dirty advertising trick.

Hardcore Til I Die said,
If they want to force a universal charger on someone - PICK THE BETTER CHARGER.

Lightning > Micro USB.

Whether or not Apple would agree to let everyone use it is another matter...

You are kidding right? Lightning connector is in no way better than Micro USB. For one Micro USB holds better then the crappy lightning connector. Every person I have given an Iphone 5 has come back with an issue because of the lightning connector loosing up. So please stop spreading fud that it's better.

coderchi said,

You are kidding right? Lightning connector is in no way better than Micro USB. For one Micro USB holds better then the crappy lightning connector. Every person I have given an Iphone 5 has come back with an issue because of the lightning connector loosing up. So please stop spreading fud that it's better.

I've used both and I prefer it.

I speak for myself; not everyone.

coderchi said,
You are kidding right? Lightning connector is in no way better than Micro USB. For one Micro USB holds better then the crappy lightning connector. Every person I have given an Iphone 5 has come back with an issue because of the lightning connector loosing up. So please stop spreading fud that it's better.

Except it is better. Many people here are telling you that. I say this as someone who's past phone and current phone both use MicroUSB.

Xerxes said,
Apple would never in million years allow one of the defining features of the MacBook line to be used on competing devices.

Actually, it's fully possible, as long as you pay for it. The BlackBerry PlayBook has a "magsafe" connector.

Studio384 said,
This might become fun.

It should be USB3 based with design of current Apple charging plug.

That would be ultimate.

But unfortunately it will be exactly opposite of what we want (worst of both the interfaces) and world will not move ahead technologically.

sanke1 said,

It should be USB3 based with design of current Apple charging plug.

That would be ultimate.

But unfortunately it will be exactly opposite of what we want (worst of both the interfaces) and world will not move ahead technologically.

Why would it be the worst of both connectors? If they implemented microUSB it wouldn't have any of the bad points of the lightning connector.

And if they implemented microUSB you get the worst part of it, which is it doesn't work in every way you plug it in. I'd rather not go back to the days of flipping the cable 3 times to make it fit into the port.

sanke1 said,

It should be USB3 based with design of current Apple charging plug.

That would be ultimate.

But unfortunately it will be exactly opposite of what we want (worst of both the interfaces) and world will not move ahead technologically.

If you think that the Apple Lightning connector is a better fit the the Micro USB one they you are kidding yourself or you love the Apple logic too much.

microUSB is flimsy....not only do you have to flip it around its such a small piece of metal that it interfaces with its MUCH more likely to be bent from upside-down insertion.

took forever to get my mothers' BB Playbook to be replaced after she shoved the charger in wrong a few too many times...now i put white out on the cable right side up

coderchi said,

If you think that the Apple Lightning connector is a better fit the the Micro USB one they you are kidding yourself or you love the Apple logic too much.

The Apple logic in this case is that if you flip the charger over, it should still plug in just the same. Anyone who doesn't like that logic has been drinking the haterade for way to long. There are entire memes about the frustration of having to flip various usb ports 3 times to make it fit once.

coderchi said,

If you think that the Apple Lightning connector is a better fit the the Micro USB one they you are kidding yourself or you love the Apple logic too much.

Apple lightening connector is the best fit compared to any USB on this planet. Please o to your nearest Apple shop and specifically see how the lightening connector fits latest iPhones.

Learn to appreciate few of Apple's better innovations.

Yeah, the Lightning connector is something I really like. Really wish this design could be apart of USB plugs in general, whether Micro or otherwise.

ILikeTobacco said,
And if they implemented microUSB you get the worst part of it, which is it doesn't work in every way you plug it in. I'd rather not go back to the days of flipping the cable 3 times to make it fit into the port.
most things u pkug in have to be done a certain way, why u making a huge deal for something so minor. This will be great bec it will force Apple to do it in the USA. The only thing is, Apple will make it be a charging port only, unlike the other benefits Samsung devices have for example.

I say for USB3 make that the standard that way you can still use older microusb chargers so tgat get to use old and new

You had to turn a USB plug three times to get the right fit? Were you trying to plug it in sideways?

I've used Apple products, and never have I thought to not look what I was plugging and where I was plugging it into.

Really... this is an Apple talking point.

Keyed connectors are smart, especially so you don't try to use the wrong cable and cause a system malfunction.

Anyways, the EU keeps trying to standardize everything, but they seem to overlook power plugs as I need about a half dozen connectors anytime i travel to multiple countries in the region. So this is almost directly @ Apple and ultimately USA.

jesseinsf said,
Apple weirdo's just want to differentiate their false superior self from the rest of the world.

That's not even related to this article. You were waiting for an article with Apple in its name to pounce.

jesseinsf said,
Apple weirdo's just want to differentiate their false superior self from the rest of the world.

This is the biggest joke of a post I've ever seen. Have you seen techies scoff at each other's phones, gaming rigs, and what have you? You want to talk about how "elitist" or "superior" Apple users can act, but techies are the worst when it comes to tooting their own horn about their custom rigs with 32GBs of RAM. Hell, many live for benchmarks.

The typical consumer just wants something that looks nice and works. The measurement contests are irrelevant.