back to article Apple: EU can't make us use your stinking common charging standard

Perhaps predictably, Apple has hit out against the European Parliament's renewed calls for a common charging standard. Its battle call? "It'll stifle our profits innovation." In a statement on the subject of mobile devices having to use a standard plug for power and data transfer, Apple argued any move compelling it to ditch …

  1. Captain Scarlet Silver badge
    Mushroom

    Gold plated cables

    Its also annoying other reseller rip off everyone for just a bleeding charing cable, although something I always point out when someone tried to make out an iphone is good value for money!

    1. K

      Re: Gold plated cables

      I got sent an article on a popular audiophiles website the other day, trying to convince its readers to the benefits of spending £1500 on a specialist network cable as it "ensures there is no loss whilst streaming music"... They had dozens of similar articles for HDMI, USB etc...

      1. MiguelC Silver badge
        Mushroom

        Re: Gold plated cables

        Of course you could buy yourself a special NAS just for audio delivery (sound bits are different from data bits as any fule kno)

      2. Paul Shirley

        Re: Gold plated cables

        I particularly enjoy the ridiculously expensive power cables, £1000's to get that lovely clean (NOT) power from your wall socket to the amp psu.

        I can't work out if the idea is that a dumb conductor with or without ferrites and shielding can magically turn the sea of noise, spikes, voltage and frequency fluctuations into pure, clean 50/60Hz sinewaves or getting all that noisy shit faithfully to the amps PSU is a benefit!

        Or why they think they bought amps without PSU's designed to handle that noisy input better than any cable could.

        1. Michele.x

          Re: Gold plated cables

          On some hi-fi exoceric system, single ended class-A tride amplifier are used, ad single ended amplifier are sensitive to power supply noise.

          If one likes class-A amplifier, the push pull with differential amplified input is way better to reject PSU noise.

          1. gerryg
            Terminator

            Re: Gold plated cables

            Single ended amplifiers, however "esoteric" are rubbish for more reasons than sensitivity to PSU noise.

            There must be a DC offset in the output to enable a sinusoidal waveform.

            So a big fat capacitor is needed in the signal path to remove that DC offset and preserve low frequencies. And big fat capacitors introduce their own signal degradations because they are not perfect devices. It's why real designers developed symmetric output stages with automatic beneficial side effects such as better power supply noise rejection (with potential for other problems too but let's stay focused)

            But when you've spent £10,000 on a poorly engineered but fancy looking piece of kit it must be a joy to spend eye-watering sums on mains conditioners because your golden ears deserve it.

            1. John Dawson

              Re: Gold plated cables

              Not attacking your point of view but you can make a pretty good single ended amplifier with split power rails and an active current source for the non-output side. So no big electrolytics in series with the signal. And the miracle of negative feedback (as well as proper supply decoupling for the driver stages) can eliminate power supply sensitivity for all practical purposes.

              PS - I design this sort of stuff (though not precisely what I've described above) for a living.

              PPS - agree with you on the mains power supply cables - any effects are probably mostly related to RF suppression, or lack thereof.

      3. danbi

        Re: Gold plated cables

        An HiFi grade 10baseT Ethernet standard sounds very promising...

    2. Halfmad Silver badge

      Re: Gold plated cables

      iPhones are good value - if you keep them long enough and sell them before they become bricks, like every other so called smart phone.

      1. Instinct46

        Re: Gold plated cables

        If you keep them long enough and Apple don't decided to slow the devices down again... to erm, "increase battery life".

        1. werdsmith Silver badge

          Re: Gold plated cables

          Just change the battery.

    3. katrinab Silver badge

      Re: Gold plated cables

      Poundland lighning cables work fine, cost the same as poundland Micro USB cables, and anyway the cost of cables is nothing compared with the fact that an iPhone will last about twice as long as most Android devices.

      1. Blank Reg

        Re: Gold plated cables

        I've been giving away Galaxy S3s and S5s to my friends kids. You just put a new $10 battery in them and you're good to go.

      2. Wincerind

        Re: Gold plated cables

        "an iPhone will last about twice as long as most Android devices"

        That'll be because you can only afford to replace it half as often.

      3. Rich 2 Silver badge

        Re: Gold plated cables

        Re Poundland cables.

        I bought a lightening cable for £1 about 4 or more years ago (if I remember correctly, my wife pilfered the original one that came with my phone). I'm still using the same cable today. It's a piece of wire. As long as you don't abuse it, there's not much that can go wrong with it. I certainly wouldn't entertain the idea of spending £14 (is that right?) on one.

        1. Chronos Silver badge
          Joke

          Re: Gold plated cables

          Lightening cable? Your wallet, maybe... :)

  2. Version 1.0 Silver badge

    It's all about money, not technology

    Ask the Apple store how much a replacement "Apple" charger costs and you'll understand why they are pissed about this.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: It's all about money, not technology

      Sure, but you can charge with any USB charger as long as you have the Apple cable..

      To be honest, I’m not 100% sure what exactly they are arguing about. The politicians don’t mention the cable (and I’m sure Apple could just produce an adaptor widget if they ever did)

      1. katrinab Silver badge

        Re: It's all about money, not technology

        They already do

        https://www.apple.com/uk/shop/product/MD820ZM/A/lightning-to-micro-usb-adapter

        Though it is cheaper to buy a new cable.

      2. danbi

        Re: It's all about money, not technology

        Apple sells the Lightning to Micro-USB adapter ever since those talks began in Europe.. for precisely the reason to comply to regulations (and not be fined).

        While it costs $19 from Apple, you can buy the same stuff from gazzilion of suppliers on eBay, AliExpress etc for like $0.99.

        I too wonder what is it all about. Perhaps a slow day and Apple just wants their name mentioned.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    This can be summed up in one word: Profit

    Mr Cook - If standardisation is bad, why are you shipping your Macbooks with USB and Thunderbolt ports?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: This can be summed up in one word: Profit

      I bet he literally had no idea that was the case. The next mac book will now have one thunderbolt port. Thanks

    2. Dieter Haussmann

      Re: This can be summed up in one word: Profit

      They only have USB-C now and are all the crapper for it.

      (It may say thunderbolt 3 but it is just physically USB 3 with the possibilityy of an adaptor)

    3. paulll

      Re: This can be summed up in one word: Profit

      "Mr Cook - If standardisation is bad, why are you shipping your Macbooks with USB and Thunderbolt ports?"

      Let alone why are the macbooks locked-down, priced-up PC's instead of the current entry in a series of proprietary architectures?

      1. one crazy media

        Re: This can be summed up in one word: Profit

        Care to explain how the MacBook is locked down?

        I do all of my development work in a MacBook. Try writing low level software on a PC and test it!

        1. phuzz Silver badge

          Re: This can be summed up in one word: Profit

          Try putting a bigger disk/SSD in it without the T2 chip throwing a fit.

          Oh wait, the SSD is soldered on so you can't upgrade it even if you wanted to. Oh, and don't even think of getting it repaired at a non-Apple shop, because, yep, that pesky T2 will brick it.

        2. paulll

          Re: This can be summed up in one word: Profit

          "Care to explain how the MacBook is locked down?"

          What phuzz said, and a long, evolving list of things of that nature.

          "Try writing low level software on a PC and test it!"

          Er. Not sure what you're driving at but I have and a few other people have done it too. And by a few other people, I mean near-enough everybody who's written any,"low-level software," in the past few decades.

    4. danbi

      Re: This can be summed up in one word: Profit

      One has to wonder, why Apple was the pioner who introduced USB decades ago, when we had the wonderful plethoria of different interfaces for different things.

  4. arthoss

    I remember having read somewhere that USB C is not as good as lightning for music transmission due to some sampling or latency issues

    1. upsidedowncreature
      Trollface

      It's acceptable if you use an oxygen-free directional USB cable, as long as you spend a few days conditioning the cable first.

      1. MiguelC Silver badge
        1. The Pi Man

          Have you checked the price on a 6 metre cable!

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Plus delivery!!!!!

          1. MonkeyJuice

            Re: Plus delivery!!!!!

            £976.50 pushed me over my usb cable budget by 25p. Sorry.

            1. Giles C Bronze badge

              Re: Plus delivery!!!!!

              So you spend almost a grand on a cable and the suppliers default choice is untracked delivery.

              For that price I would want it delivered in its own armoured van!

            2. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: Plus delivery!!!!!

              I'd say that's £976.25p over my budget (including delivery).

              But I am cheap (allegedly).

        3. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          "I present you the 975£ usb cable"

          Once you run in your new cable for 6 months to ensure all your components are correctly bedded in and the cable is correctly isolated from vibration and electrical noise by custom made "isolation blocks", I bet you're ears aren't even sensitive enough to notice the difference that all this additional spend has allowed? Also, don't forget to listen at night when the power is better.

          While there is an element of truth in many of the myths, most of them are only true in exceptional circumstances and adequate solutions are available for a fraction of the price of the suggested solutions.

          Reference for laughs: https://www.whathifi.com/features/hi-fi-tricks-you-might-not-believe-affect-sound-quality-but-they-do

        4. tel130y
          Meh

          I present you the 975£ cable

          It is a metre long and postage is only ''from £1.50''

        5. one crazy media

          You don't have to buy a $1,000 usb or another cable. I am in the US and I can get a cable for $10 or $15 and works just fine. I purchased 3 Lioghtning cable, guaranteed for lifetime from Amazon for $22.

          Don't have a clue about EU pricing and how much of the price is taxes!

      2. danbi

        How many chickens must be sacrificed?

    2. Fazal Majid

      You may be confusing audio and video. Unlike USB-C the Lightning connector has such risible bandwidth it cannot carry a full video signal. Apple's Lightning to HDMI connector actually has a full computer inside the dongle that decodes the compress (MPEG-2, H.264, H.265) video sent over Lightning to uncompressed HDM video.

      http://www.iphonehacks.com/2013/03/why-lightning-digital-av-adapter-cant-stream-raw-hdmi.html

      1. MonkeyJuice

        That is terrifying, but terrifyingly unsurprising. Nice shout.

      2. werdsmith Silver badge

        I think the problem was connected to music recording, through musical instrument interfaces, syncing the player with the other recorded channels. Might have had more to do with Android than the cable though and the problem has seen improved since.

        1. Roland6 Silver badge

          >I think the problem was connected to music recording, through musical instrument interfaces, syncing the player with the other recorded channels....

          Found a discussion on audiobus latency issues with using an iPad:

          https://forum.audiob.us/discussion/22984/ios-11-roundtrip-latency-not-short-enough-around-20ms

  5. Pascal Monett Silver badge

    "It'll stifle [..] innovation."

    Innovation ? What innovation ? A charger is a hunk of components that have one job : dividing wall outlet power into what the device requires. The biggest innovation that chargers have ever had is the possibility of modifying the power output. That's it, and it's been done already and you, Apple, did not do it.

    And besides, you can go and "innovate" the charger if you like, we're not preventing you from doing that. What we want is one kind of power plug and the ability to use the same charger on multiple devices. THAT is innovation - the kind that is useful for the user. You know ? Those nebulous entities that pay you money for your overpriced tat ? Money that you are happy to put forward on your balance sheet and show to shareholders ? Yeah, those things.

    1. MJB7 Silver badge

      Re: "It'll stifle [..] innovation."

      To be fair, there *has* been innovation on the charger connector front, even in the Android world. If micro-USB had been mandated (rather than encouraged), there would have been no shift to USB-C (which was driven by the need for more power).

      How about not requiring standardization ... but mandating that the specs for charging connectors are published.

      1. Roland6 Silver badge

        Re: "It'll stifle [..] innovation."

        >If micro-USB had been mandated, there would have been no shift to USB-C

        Bollocks!

        Suggest you look at the successful network forums eg. IEEE802 (specifically 802.3), WiFi Alliance...

        The challenge isn't having a Standard, but in maintaining it and moving it forward in line with technology advances.

        1. theblackhand Silver badge

          Re: "It'll stifle [..] innovation."

          "Suggest you look at the successful network forums eg. IEEE802 (specifically 802.3), WiFi Alliance..."

          Are you sure it's bollocks? Using the comparison to Ethernet, USB has had to change from 4 pin plus ground via a separate pin or the ground shield to 9-pin including ground in order to separate high power and high bandwidth cable pairs. Ethernet avoided this by already having 4-pair connectors for UTP from the beginning because there weren't cost effective digital modulation methods available to provide higher data rates when it was introduced..

          USB was designed to minimise costs in early implementations - while there is an argument that it could have provided a more future proof connector at version 2, the fact is it didn't. Given competing interfaces that didn't minimise cost and failed, I'm unsure if you can choose a single interface that is universally "good" and "cheap".

          Is Ethernet or USB able to go beyond 10Gbps with current connectors? Unlikely - they already use QAM256 encoding to achieve those rates and Ethernet has already moved away from UTP connectors beyond 10Gbps with 10Gbps UTP Ethernet having a number of downsides (i.e. high power use, high latency) that make that unlikely to change.

          Is 100W/10Gbps sufficient for a general purpose device-to-device interface? I would say yes - marketers will say no...

      2. BOBSta
        FAIL

        Re: "It'll stifle [..] innovation."

        I thought USB-C was in answer to Apple's Lightning? It matched the nice "plug-in-either-way-up", but not as small or elegantly?

        TBH, I hate micro-USB and USB-C. micro-USB was a horrible cheap, nasty, poor quality and too easy to break interface that demanded a superior replacement. USB-C is not that connector, as it still feels very fragile and big to me.

        USB consortium should have standardised on the superior Lightning plug IMHO.

        1. Chet Mannly

          Re: "It'll stifle [..] innovation."

          "I thought USB-C was in answer to Apple's Lightning?"

          No it is the successor - that's why Apple use it on macbooks etc. Apple was one of the early adopters of it, there were very few USBC devices out there at the time..

          If lightning was actually better it would be on macbooks too wouldn't it?

    2. Charlie Clark Silver badge

      Re: "It'll stifle [..] innovation."

      The port isn't just for charging but also data transfer. Not that this doesn't mean that Apple shouldn't use industry standard components, but for charging only an even simpler solution would be possible.

      1. MonkeyJuice

        Re: "It'll stifle [..] innovation."

        That argument is bollocks though. The point is they cannot use that port also for charging. If they want to retain a separate, proprietary port for data alongside a usb standard charging port, that's up to them.

    3. James Scholes

      Re: "It'll stifle [..] innovation."

      I like how it'll simultaneously stifle innovation and create obsolescence by everyone using the same connector. If your connector was driving innovation, there'd be no obsolescence, would there?

      Must be true though. My last three cars have all used the same fuel hose and that's why this one doesn't have any more features than the 15 year old one. Unless you count power steering, abs, cruise control, automatic lights and wipers, no-fog windows...

    4. one crazy media

      Re: "It'll stifle [..] innovation."cannot

      Innovation, when you can use single cable and port for music, movies and power. USB can't support music and movies at high fidelity.

      1. Chet Mannly

        Re: "It'll stifle [..] innovation."cannot

        "USB can't support music and movies at high fidelity."

        I can listen to DSD master audio files, and 4k Video with DTSHD 7.1 sound through USBC no problem. That's pretty high fidelity in my book!

  6. Ben Tasker Silver badge

    Apple argued any move compelling it to ditch the Lightning port, which has been a staple of the iPhone for almost a decade, would inconvenience its customers, simultaneously creating an "unprecedented volume" of electronic waste.

    Bit of a cheek there given the idea of a common charger was suggested nearly a decade ago. Had Apple got on board then, then there'd be a decade less e-waste that they'd have generated. Not to mention that that e-waste impact doesn't seem to be as big a deal to them when they do things like change connectors and/or remove ports.

    1. Dan 55 Silver badge
      Flame

      Apple love e-waste. From glued-up expandable MacBooks to glued-up unrepairable iPhones, changing connectors so they can supply you with adaptors, everything they do is geared to producing more of it to sell to you, their valued sucker^Wcustomer.

  7. upsidedowncreature

    "Apple argued any move compelling it to ditch the Lightning port, which has been a staple of the iPhone for almost a decade, would inconvenience its customers, simultaneously creating an "unprecedented volume" of electronic waste."

    Funny how those considerations weren't important when they ditched the 30-pin connector for lightning.

    1. John Robson Silver badge

      They were - which is why it took more than a decade for the old dock connector to be replaced.

      It was replaced when the need for higher bandwidth interface overrode the desire to retain a compatible connector.

      But in that same time my other devices have had barrel connectors, at least two proprietary clips on jobs, mini USB and micro USB.

      The latest battery I bought has both micro USB and USB-C charging ports - the only USB-C device i currently own (but since I don't have a cable to go into that port it's somewhat useless.

      1. katrinab Silver badge
        Paris Hilton

        The only USB C device I own right now is actually some hair straighteners.

      2. Tomato42 Silver badge

        oh, then how many different standards there were to charge their laptops?

        1. John Robson Silver badge

          As far as I can recall it was MagSafe and MagSafe 2.

          But laptop chargers aren’t (to my knowledge) being discussed.

          MagSafe beats USB-c hands down as a charger interface.

          1. Blank Reg

            until your battery inevitably turns to crap and then you accidentally bump the cable while in the middle of something important Been there, done that. Thankfully no one is in inflicting macs upon me any longer.

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              ARRGHHH

              I lol'd at this enough to disslodge mine from my 2010 mbp that still runs like a rocket despite its swollen battery bursting the case!!! bugger!!

              Sent from my broken Win 8 phone. #olds hool

          2. danbi

            Before MagSafe Apple had the typical barrel connector on the laptops like everyone else. Everyone had different barrel connectors of course. MagSafe was good step for standartisation for Apple. Unfortunately, it wears out too....

  8. Kevin Johnston Silver badge

    Colour me cynical

    I don't recall Apple being too bothered about the investments users had made in accessories that would be obsolete overnight when they changed their standard socket from the 30-way(?) beats to a lightning cable

    1. John Robson Silver badge

      Re: Colour me cynical

      At some point the need for more bandwidth overrides the desire for retaining the same interface.

      The 30 pin connector lasted a 11 years (2003-2014) which covered a wide range of connectors on the other devices I owned in that period.

      Apple really aren’t the cause of this being considered - but lightning brought most of the benefits of the usb-c connector a few years before usb-c (2012 vs 2016 iec adoption), and (physically at any rate) is still a superior connector.

      Given the tendency towards *no* ports, as well as the industry convergence on widely available connectors (usb-c/lightning) I’m not convinced that this has any merit any more.

      When every phone manufacturer had their own three or four different charger ports with wired clips etc... then it was useful (and has already performed that function).

      1. Spanners Silver badge
        FAIL

        Re: Colour me cynical

        Given the tendency towards *no* ports

        I hadn't noticed many phones that do that. There are a lot more phones that do wireless charging as well as traditional wired charging but this inefficient method is no more environmentally friendly than anything else from Apple and others.

        Certainly Apple has let it be known that **they** are interested in a portless phone - or at least allowed rumours to get out. 10% of smartphone sales is not an industry movement.

        1. danbi

          Re: Colour me cynical

          The no ports movement is practical. It provides cheap way to seal the phone from the environment.

          This has nothing to do with Apple and of course not everyone needs weather sealed devices, so phones with ports will continue to be made.

          1. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

            Re: Colour me cynical

            It provides cheap way to seal the phone from the environment.

            Not as cheap as putting the phone in a ZipLoc bag.

  9. iron Silver badge

    I'd love to hear how gouging their customers for expensive cables created value for those customers. That must be some interesting leaps of logic.

    1. Wellyboot Silver badge
      Facepalm

      The value it creates is in the good feeling Apple users get when they know they have the most expensive and therefore the best cables available. /sarc

    2. Chet Mannly

      gouging their customers for expensive cables created value for those customers *who are also shareholders*

  10. Blergh

    We should just all use SCART

    I perfectly understand the push for a common standard and when there was 40+ different connectors that was just silly. However an enforced standard would stifle innovation and we wouldn't have any USB-C connectors on mobiles because we'd all be stuck with the USB-micro connectors forever (after all that did become the defacto standard). I don't think it's a terrible hardship to have a couple of different connectors and a very small amount of variety in the ecosystem.

    I personally have an old Android with a USB-micro connector and therefore when I do upgrade I'll no doubt need a new cable anyway.

    1. LDS Silver badge

      Re: We should just all use SCART

      The fact that a standard is enforced it doesn't make it can't be changed when it does make sense. But it can't be changed to fatten profits on a whim.

      1. katrinab Silver badge

        Re: We should just all use SCART

        The EU could delegate standard setting to the USB consortium. Similar things happen in other areas.

        What would happen is that when the USB 4 / USB D or whatever standard is finalised, the EU parliament would vote on whether to adopt it as EU law.

    2. TRT Silver badge

      Re: We should just all use SCART

      Was SCART a mandated standard? I thought it was just a common specification for manufacturers to use or not to use, and if you went your own way, you took a commercial risk.

      Come to think of it... my TV doesn't HAVE to have a HDMI port... be stupid if it didn't of course. But if I'm going to sell a TV in Europe, I don't HAVE to put one on if I've got something better.

      1. SImon Hobson Silver badge
        Pint

        Re: We should just all use SCART

        AIUI at one time the French mandated that all TVs had to have at least one SCART socket. I I raise a virtual drink to them (sorry, no icon for a nice glass of wine) for ending the misery of standards being so good that every manufacturer had some of their own when it came to AV interfaces. With some caveats, with the coming of SCART, mere users could buy standard cables and hook random bits of equipment (like VCRs and TVs) together - without the need to ask a techie to make cables for them that would be different for every combination of different equipments (OK, so I ignore rows of phono sockets).

        While there are many criticisms one can level at the SCART connector (mostly lacking in locking ability, bulky plugs and cables, multiple standards for what signals are carried), it achieved an ease of use that users had not previously experienced. There is a big parallel there with USB and the call for a "universal" charger standard.

        It seems that over time, manufacturers (even Apple !) have realised that there is a benefit to supporting standards like HDMI and DisplayPort. With a very small number of cables and adapters, these days it should be rare to be unable to connect a display to a computer or other video source.

        1. Phil O'Sophical Silver badge

          Re: We should just all use SCART

          AIUI at one time the French mandated that all TVs had to have at least one SCART socket.

          Yes, this was disguised state aid for Canal+. To make sure that people would sign up for their service they needed to make sure that all TVs could accept a decoder. Since most TVs at that time were "live chassis" it was non-trivial to add suitable connectors, so SCART (Peritel in France) was defined and made mandatory. It conveniently also gave a significant advantage to French TV manufacturers, until the Japanese ones started adding SCART as well.

          Even SCART wasn't really standard, though. There are versions with RGB and versions with S-Video, using the same pins, sometimes switchable in the TV setup menu.

          1. peklo

            Re: We should just all use SCART

            Not wanting to split hair, but that's not true. S-video and RGB were using different pins. The reason why you'd want to switch between the two in the menu was a) capabilities of your source, as some didn't have RGB support b) quality of image. RGB was considered better than s-video.

            1. Phil O'Sophical Silver badge

              Re: We should just all use SCART

              S-video and RGB were using different pins.

              Sorry, but that's not the case, I have equipment that uses both. SCART video pin assignments are:

              7: Blue (in and out) or S-Video Chromininance out,

              11: Green (in and out)

              15: Red (in and out) or S-Video Chrominance in

              19: CVBS out or S-Video luminance out

              20: CVBS in or S-Video luminance in

              Some rare ones even put YUV component video on 7, 11 and 15, instead of RGB.

            2. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: We should just all use SCART

              What about that 'common' card interface that lurks around?

              Anyone ever used it? And why??

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: We should just all use SCART

      What innovation would be stifled by using usb c, it is currently used by laptops (Apples included) monitors, phones, head phones etc.

      It has the ability to have the lightning protocol over usb c, providing exactly what is available now, provide power, audio, video, data etc.

      If a company decided that usb c isn't good enough they can add another connector if they wanted, usb c is needed for charging only.

      Given the fact that most 'innovations' are moving to wireless protocol makes the physical connector even less relevant.

      1. John Robson Silver badge

        Re: We should just all use SCART

        That's kind of the point of innovation - you don't know what it is until it's been innovated.

        No manufacturer is going to put two ports on a device, and what of the manufacturer who makes a properly sealed, fully waterproof device, and decides that wireless charging only makes alot of sense...

        Must have 'x' port is not a good way to deal with it...

        I can see lightning dieing in the next few years anyway - the pro iPads already use usb-c, so I imagine it will creep through their pads and phones.

        But what will they develop next?

        1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

          Re: We should just all use SCART

          "what of the manufacturer who makes a properly sealed, fully waterproof device"

          Why do you assume that having an external connection socket stops a device from being fully waterproof?

          1. John Robson Silver badge

            Re: We should just all use SCART

            You show me any port that survives repeated immersion in salt water - over the course of several years.

            Why introduce a weak spot into an otherwise rugged design?

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: We should just all use SCART

          "No manufacturer is going to put two ports on a device"

          Many manufacturers used to have 2 ports, 1 for charging and 1 for data / connectivity. Now many phone manufacturers have removed the headphone jack, got some room for a second if they wish.

          "and what of the manufacturer who makes a properly sealed, fully waterproof device, and decides that wireless charging only makes alot of sense"

          Then don't put a port on it, this doesn't mean you need to have a usb-c port, it means, if you do have a port for charging it needs to be usb-c.

        3. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: We should just all use SCART

          "what of the manufacturer who makes a properly sealed, fully waterproof device, and decides that wireless charging only makes alot of sense"

          Doesn't sy it has to have a port, just if it does, it should be USB-C.

    4. Michele.x

      Re: We should just all use SCART

      Actually SCART was a good idea. By the way my tv-set has one in addition of HDMI and VGA connectors. No manufacturer is forced to use only one conenctor.

      1. Nick

        Re: We should just all use SCART

        How old are you? Did you ever use SCART? The bloody things were always upside-down and could work themselves loose from just the pull of the moon.

        HDMI - now there's a standard (except it's still always upside-down)

        1. TRT Silver badge

          Re: We should just all use SCART

          HDMI with HDCP

          Version WTF?

          Yes. Guaranteed to work. For 12 seconds. Then go black.

        2. NightFox

          Re: We should just all use SCART

          My sister's still got her Sky HD box connected to her 42" 1080p LCD TV via SCART. One day I'll remember to take an HDMI cable with me when I go visit.

          1. Roland6 Silver badge

            Re: We should just all use SCART

            Given its 1080p, doubt the difference will be noticeable. However, you may find it not so easy to split out the audio for the sound system.

        3. Roland6 Silver badge

          Re: We should just all use SCART

          >HDMI - now there's a standard

          Except when it is important to know which version HDMI a particular "high speed" HDMI cable is...

        4. Fred Dibnah Silver badge

          Re: We should just all use SCART

          I hated SCART with a vengeance, one of the least reliable connectors ever. Not a fan of HDMI either, as you have to have plugs lined up precisely before they will go in, making it nearly impossible to make connections round the back of equipment on feel alone.

        5. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: We should just all use SCART

          " could work themselves loose from just the pull of the moon."

          You must have been buying shit SCART cables then, everyone of mine except a couple of really cheap ones were tight and snug.

      2. BinkyTheMagicPaperclip Silver badge

        Re: We should just all use SCART

        The principle may be alright. The reality and implementation aren't.

        I still have old DVD players (second gen, mid nineties) and games consoles using SCART. I'd rather use *anything* but SCART - HDMI is brilliant, component is good, VGA is decent if the socket is well constructed, composite is shit but at least it's easy to insert.

        That's not even getting into SCART switches which are even worse than plugging them into a telly.

        Over time I'm going to move most of my old (pre Wii U, I might leave the Dreamcast on VGA) consoles to HDMI. It's a doddle to set up, and the switches aren't expensive. There's digital options for the Gamecube and Dreamcast, coming for the SNES, and there's at least cable options for the original XBox etc too..

        1. Martin-73 Silver badge

          Re: We should just all use SCART

          if the connector is the only issue, do what I did back in the day... oh god, 1993 maybe?

          I literally changed the connectors on the equipment. CVBS (composite video, baseband and sync) on BNCs, and audio on a phono (aka RCA) pair.

          With RGB, i stopped messing with it and just glued (yes really) the scart plug in place

      3. KBeee

        Re: We should just all use SCART

        Quality wise an RGB connected scart was pretty good - on a par with a component connection. However it could only do standard definition video.

        1. Martin-73 Silver badge

          Re: We should just all use SCART

          There's a reason it's called STANDARD definition...

        2. MJI Silver badge

          Re: We should just all use SCART

          Since I have had DVD always used SCART RGB, even works with NTSC on a PAL only TV.

          Decided on newer TV to do multi way tests, and I tested DVD via RGB SCART, Component, and then DVD in the PS3.

          TV upscaling and PS3 upscaling were indistinguishable.

          SCART provided WS switching and the colour balance appeared better than component.

          So I still use an old DVD player for DVD on a HDTV.

      4. Paul Crawford Silver badge

        Re: We should just all use SCART

        Best thing about SCART that HDMI appears to lack is the "change input on box powering up" feature.

        Helpful for many folk if when you power up an accessory it knows you probably want to use it so changes input to match.

        1. Dan 55 Silver badge

          Re: We should just all use SCART

          HDMI-CEC should cover it but somehow doesn't.

        2. Giles C Bronze badge

          Re: We should just all use SCART

          It should do, as some devices I have do this.

          My Apple TV will start the tv up but the Panasonic screen doesn't automatically shift to the input so you end up watching BBC1 and wondering what is going on. press the menu button on the Apple remote and it changes the tv input over.

          My PVR doesn't do anything to the TV when powered up

          My 4K blu-ray (also Panasonic) does start the screen and switch inputs.

          There you go how to implement a simple standard i.e device on and switch to this input!

        3. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: We should just all use SCART

          Helpful for many folk if when you power up an accessory it knows you probably want to use it so changes input to match.

          And really aggravating when someone is watching a DVD on the TV in the living room, and I power on the Sky box to watch in the kitchen! All my SCART cables have pin 8 cut!

    5. MJI Silver badge

      Re: We should just all use SCART

      My TV

      3 SCART

      3 HDMI

      1 DVI I think

      1 Component

      1 Composite

      Plenty of ports.

      Did some TV test ages ago. DVD RGB SCART vs Component RGB won.

  11. alain williams Silver badge

    Another corporation vs government war

    The large corporations will play whatever tricks that they can to maximise profits. Governments should act** to the benefit of its citizens and thus keep the corporations under control. The EU has tried to do this and in some case succeeded - but they do need to do much more. Stopping the relocation of profits to some low tax country must be the next as is charging substantially different prices for the same thing in different countries.

    ** They should, but governments are controlled by people who are susceptible to 'persuasion' such as a high paying job when having left office or 'campaign or research contributions'.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Another corporation vs government war

      "is charging substantially different prices for the same thing in different countries."

      I'm perfectly happy with that. Like when I bought a graphic card on Amazon.it, it was 50€ cheaper than on my local Amazon.fr, and actually arrived from an Amazon.fr warehouse.

      Different countries * (different prices + single currency + unified consumer protection) == consumer win for those able to do a quick price comparison online.

      1. Phil O'Sophical Silver badge

        Re: Another corporation vs government war

        Doesn't even need the single currency. I've ordered stuff from Amazon UK for delivery in France, and it was still cheaper than ordering the same thing from Amazon FR (and shipped from Luxembourg in any case). No doubt the reverse is true for some things as well.

        1. Jamie Jones Silver badge

          Re: Another corporation vs government war

          Yep, I bought something from Amazon Germany that was half the price of Amazon UK, yet I still got in within 2 days (to the UK)

          As you say, a lot of it is shipped from Luxenburg anyway...

  12. mark l 2 Silver badge

    I think the EU should say to Apple, you can have lightening as a charger port on iphones if you make it free to license the tech so other manufactures can make lightening compatible cables. I am sure they will have a sudden change of mind about how USB-C when they are no longer able to rake in the profits from selling lightning cable and the royalties.

    1. JohnG Silver badge

      I think the EC is going to tell Apple to adopt the standard chosen by the EU or face having their products banned from sale anywhere in the EU and/or pay a big fine.

    2. Twilight

      There are already multiple companies making good lightning cables. I have cables from at least two other companies that are better (longer, tougher, and some have L-plugs on the USB side) and cheaper than official Apple cables. I have no idea if they licensed from Apple or reverse-engineered the interface...

  13. NoneSuch Silver badge
    Devil

    Ban Them.

    Back when Microsoft was being sued to allow the removal of IE from Windows, they said it couldn't be done as IE was integral to Windows.

    Then when the courts suggested Windows itself would be taken off the shelves, all of a sudden a special version of WIndows appeared without IE.

    If Apple does not want to follow EU law, then ban Apple products until they do.

    1. danbi

      Re: Ban Them.

      Funny you bothered to say all of this, becasue...

      There is no EU law to require one type of connector;

      When talks began in the EU, several years ago, Apple started selling the micro-USB to Lighting adapter -- likely in anticipation of this becoming a law... optimistic Apple :) ... that might take few more decades.

      Then, the talks were to require mobile devices be charged by USB. All apple mobile devices sold back then (and now) do charge via USB exclusively. Lots of mobile phones on the market back then required specialized chargers with non-detachable cables/connectors (I have at least half dozen Nokia adapters -- all different!) They just use specific cable. And.. they also provide an adapter, in case you have an micro-USB cable already and don't want to use the one they already supply with the device.

      So in the end, Apple wanted their name to be heard again and after the dust settles, they emerge the good guys who care about this and that. Judging by the noise we make here, they are sucessful.

      1. Chet Mannly

        Re: Ban Them.

        But last time the EU law wasn't binding - they expected everyone to play ball. This time the plan is for the law to be binding.

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The simple solution to make them unhappy...

    Is mandating a connector with a standard pinout without data transfer capability but only for charging. Bonus point, for extra fast charge a 48V (they are phones, isn't it?)

    and a 5V could be made available

    I have an old Nokia with an USB port and a separate barrel charger, because was using like 9V for a fast charge.

    This will solve the problem with using a modified charger as a trojan horse. In the meantime the phone makers can sell adapters for phones with only one port.

    1. Martin-73 Silver badge

      Re: The simple solution to make them unhappy...

      in the UK, the standard voltage is 50v, unless you're colonial.

      49.5 to 50.5 according to herbert and proctor.

      48v indicates a battery without charge, and under discharge, and urgent action is required.

  15. JDPower

    It would stifle innovation? And just how much have they innovated the lightning connection in the last ten years?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Lots, they have innovated it all the way to the bank.

  16. andy 103 Silver badge
    Facepalm

    Standards change

    SCART was a commonly used standard for connecting equipment to a TV. Then we had HDMI, which is a standard.

    The issue is that unless someone comes up with a single standard for every single thing, which never changes, and is adopted by every single country, this will continue to occur.

    1. DavCrav Silver badge

      Re: Standards change

      "The issue is that unless someone comes up with a single standard for every single thing, which never changes, and is adopted by every single country, this will continue to occur."

      No. It's fine for an old interface (SCART) to be superseded by a newer interface (HDMI) that is also standard across companies. But if I change my TV to another brand, I don't have to throw away all of the cables.

  17. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Contradicting information...

    "...If Apple were forced to switch to a universal standard, it would rapidly see this aspect of its business undermined as customers would be able to reuse cables from older devices..."

    This seems quite at odds with a lot of people's experiences of these cables never lasting THAT long - the two truths cannot co-exist for the majority so the potential gain is actually low...

    1. Twilight

      Re: Contradicting information...

      Maybe it's just me but I've never had an Apple (or good third-party) cable (old 40-pin or Lightning) go bad. My wife had one super-cheap (eg non-Apple, non-good-3rd-party) Lightning cable go bad.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Contradicting information...

        Wow! Ours don't last five mins!

        Most are now only working one way round which is great to wake up to when you thought the phone and iPad had been suckling the Ravpower all night!

        Go USB-C

      2. danbi

        Re: Contradicting information...

        You made me look at mine... every single Lighting cable I have haddied (the cable itself, not the connectors so "Lighting" is not related). Claims are Apple used environment friendly materials for the cable sheath that doesn't last much.

        However, I have an 30-pin cable from my first generation iPod Touch that is like new! The older one, with the boring locking mechanism.

        My experience with USB cables is generally bad. Unlike Lighting cables, their cable material survives, but the USB connectors do not! They either break (micro-USB mostly), ot stop making contact (all types).

        Given the choice to use Lighting or micro-USB I would *always* choose Lighting. Even if this makes me break EU law!

        However, for charging my iPhone (because I am tired to replace cables) I found the brillian solution... an Chinese magnetic coupling (MagSafe style) charging cable. It has the one part with USB plug to the charger (your choice of lenght and straight/angled output) and another adapter piece that plugs in the device (Lighting, micro-USB, USB-C)... I have one adapter in each device and multiple cables all around where I might need to charge... just stick the magnetic ends together and it charges. No more broken cables. No wrong cable... Oh and I use variety of USB chargers from whatever I have left from various devices, to brand new multi-port chargers.

        Now, the thing being Chinese, should worry me, right? How many years in jail I deserve?

  18. Frank Bitterlich
    Boffin

    I've been wondering...

    Economic and vanity issues aside, I've been wondering what a mandatory, unified "charger" port would mean would mean for the future. Regardless of how that actual standard would be defined (use the one which is used most today; or specify one standard explicitly), it would basically outlaw any other port type. Imagine if this had happened in 1999, then our phones would probably have had USB Type-B connectors then, and since no other standard could be sold (at least in the EU), we would probably still use that today.

    Or would our phones have two connectors now, one up-to-date (USB-C or Lightning), and the other, outdated one for "legal" reasons?

    It looks a bit like those trying to solve this "problem" fail to understand that the "charging" port of a modern phone is much more than that.

    1. Paul Crawford Silver badge

      Re: I've been wondering...

      I think if several major companies got together and agreed on a single *new* standard that works for all then the EU would have no problem with that.

      Alternatively they could mandate the companies provided free and more importantly with the product an adaptor. You would be amazed at how quick they would change "special" designs to avoid any extra production costs...

      1. Frank Bitterlich

        Re: I've been wondering...

        Alternatively they could mandate the companies provided free and more importantly with the product an adaptor. You would be amazed at how quick they would change "special" designs to avoid any extra production costs...

        Well, in a way that's already happening. At least with Apple phones, you get a USB Type-A charger and a USB Type-A to Lightning cable.

        So the cable is the adaptor already. I supect that with moste phones today, you get a charger like that and the matching cable (whether it has USC-C, Lightning or Micro-USB on the other end.) Forcing the phone makers to switch to an actual, additional adaptor just to make the cable "universal" would be silly in my opinion.

    2. katrinab Silver badge

      Re: I've been wondering...

      In 1999 it would have been a barrel connector of some description. My first phone had 3 AA batteries, and USB 1 wouldn't have been anywhere near capable of charging it.

  19. Charlie Clark Silver badge

    Money for nothing

    it's not unreasonable to assume a decent chunk comes from…

    The licensing business. With proprietary connections (Lightning) and protocols (AirPlay) there's plenty of money in charging vendors for using it in their products and you can just watch the money roll in. Apple wanted to do this with wireless charging as well but, presumably because Jony and the strategy boutique spent too much time deciding on a name, they were too late to the party.

    1. danbi

      Re: Money for nothing

      I will be curious to learn how much is the Apple cut from the $0.99 micro-USB to Lightning adapters sold on eBay.

  20. Alan Bourke

    We eant to keep gouging customers

    for our flimsy crap cables.

    1. Martin-73 Silver badge

      Re: We eant to keep gouging customers

      Not sure why you got downvoted. I suffer the same on android devices, but hey, i can use speaker flex, a usb plug and a microusb or usbc plug to roll my own (which i do, i use real copper cable which helps with charging speed).

      Bonus: my cable doesn't have to include a 'chip' from a defunct UK bedroom furniture seller...

  21. big_D Silver badge

    Waste...

    Apple argued any move compelling it to ditch the Lightning port, which has been a staple of the iPhone for almost a decade, would inconvenience its customers, simultaneously creating an "unprecedented volume" of electronic waste.

    You mean, just like when they abandoned all those 30-pin peripherals and went to Lightning?

    The idea behind this is, you don't need a new charger with each new device you buy, they are standard, so you can share a charger between several devices. That produces less waste... In fact, my Huawei watch, my BT headphones and several other devices all came without chargers, because they all use a standard port (USB-C or Micro-USB) and I just use one of the dozen or so chargers I collected over the years; well 4 now, we had a big electronic clearout last year and brought all the old phones, chargers, hard drives and other Elektroschrott (electronic rubbish) to the recycling facility.

    I now have 2 chargers in the kitchen, with USB-C and micro-USB, a charger with micro-USB upstairs and a spare charger in a draw in my office.

    And it is more about the wall-wart end of the equation, moving that from USB-A (which Apple also uses) to USB-C. USB-C on both ends would be just be an added convenience, as you only need one cable as well.

    1. danbi

      Re: Waste...

      I still use the USB charger I got with my original iPod Touch. That thing continues to work is reliable, safe etc. It's a bit bulkier than the more recent Apple chargers, but has outlived at least a dozen non-Apple chargers I had. Needless to say I charge all kinds of stuff with it, most non-Apple.

      So in this respect, Apple had created zero electronics waste for me... which can't be said about other manufacturers. I have at least half a dozen Nokia chargers for example, each of which has both slightly different connector (hardwired) and (but of course) slightly different output voltage -- so I can't even use an adapter to convert.

      If, for example you have an iPhone with Lightning connector, you can use their USB-C to Lightning cable if you had an USB-C output adapter. Or you could buy such an cable from anyone who makes it (there are many of them!). The thing is still USB.

      1. Martin-73 Silver badge

        Re: Waste...

        I agree the lightning plug and port seem to be a LOT more durable than micro USB. I have had no failures at the strain relief (I go OTT with it, even factory cables will get the ole heatshrink treatment). But micro USB will quit working if you look at it sideways. So no, apple don't do everything wrong. I am just, by nature, a hardware hacky type person, and their use of a chip where one isn't necessary, and use of proprietary connectors, rankles.

      2. big_D Silver badge

        Re: Waste...

        The point being, you got the charger with your iPod and you got further chargers with other devices.

        The EU wants to remove the charger from the packaging of the products you buy. You buy a good quality charger, once. That's it. You don't buy 10 devices and have 9 redundant chargers kicking around.

        We have a couple of phones, fitness trackers, headphones, Fire tablets, Kindles and a few other bits and bods, but for all these devices, we have 2 chargers in the kitchen and one in the bedroom (for the Kindles). That is enough to charge dozen or so devices.

        10 - 15 years ago, they'd all have had different connectors and different voltages. The USB standard means that they can all share chargers. If the industry can then decide on a single quick-charging technology, you can even quick-charge everything using a single charger.

  22. Vic Not 20
    Thumb Up

    Hate Apple, love Lightning connector though

    I have to say I wish the EU would show some real muscle and just force Apple to allow royalty-free use of the Lightning connector. It's a much better connector than USB-C when it comes to insertion - try doing them both in the dark and tell me which is the nicer experience (alright, be quiet at the back there Finbarr!). The sharp edges of the USB-C just end up scratching my phone's nice aluminium bottom as I fumble around, whereas the chamfered edges of the Lightning jack just help to automatically locate the hole. The USB-C port also seems far more prone to gathering dust in its more complex crevices than its rival, plus the jack is larger. So much as I hate Apple's over-priced brand, the hardware design is clearly more refined than which rivals were able to produce.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Hate Apple, love Lightning connector though

      Seriously?

      The lightning connector is notorious for failing rapidly because there is no load bearing sheath like on USB ports - any bending or pressure from the cable / jack is transferred straight to the PCB of the device.

      I have an iPad that will only charge with one particular lightning cable if it is placed face down with a coin under the end of the cable so that a bit of angled pressure is applied *just so*. Without it, the iPad is effectively a paperweight.

      And you don't what to know how much Apple want to charge for fixing the consequence of their own design flaw...

      1. Some Random Kiwi

        Re: Hate Apple, love Lightning connector though

        Not unique to lightning ports -- I have a microUSB device that behaves that way. If you don't wrap the charge cable around the device to put pressure on it in the right direction it won't charge. It's the socket in the device that's flaky, but can't for the life of me see exactly what's wrong with it.

        1. Atomic Duetto

          Re: Hate Apple, love Lightning connector though

          Could be a broken/dry solder joint.. depending upon access and skill you can fix it... or just continue to hold it in what is now the “right way”

    2. Charlie Clark Silver badge
      Paris Hilton

      Re: Hate Apple, love Lightning connector though

      I regularly plug my phone in in the dark, nay problems so far. Though my phone doesn't have a nice aluminium bottom to scratch in the first place. And, it's in a case because, doing this sort of thing in the dark often leads to the thing falling on the floor when I miss my bedside table.

  23. brett_x
    Facepalm

    Wireless

    Yeah, great idea, EU. Let's mandate a charging standard so we can be stuck in one technology until the bureaucracy gets around to changing the standard. How often do you think that will happen?

    Example of my concerns: Will the standard be wireless? Because I for one look to a future without wires. But from what I've read, it seems to suggest it will be a physical port... even the article author editorializes that making a port 20% larger isn't that big of a deal. (I think his electrical engineering credentials are in question there.)

    1. Corporate Scum

      Re: Wireless

      I think that your accidentally on the right trial here, as Apple has been telegraphing(as much as they ever do) that they are trending toward going wireless. Their intransigence is likely also related to the fact their incompatible charging standards between their own products cause a major delay in their roadmap for deployment when their converged charger flamed out.

      Apple is looking for a ready for prime time wireless charging system, and the current options haven't cut it. So the last thing they want is a EU mandate to support a wired connection, or an old (and bad) wireless standard.

      If we have to go for another generation of wired chargers can we at least get a magnetic and unidirectional one instead of a plug and socket that will break or fill with pocket lint?

      1. John Robson Silver badge

        Re: Wireless

        I very rarely plug my phone into anything... even my travel battery has wireless charging capability.

        It gets plugged in if I do a long car journey, or possibly for CarPlay in a hire car.

  24. SkippyBing Silver badge

    'The report argues that competition in the charging connector space has created €14bn of estimated consumer value between 2012 and 2018.'

    In that time I've had three phones with micro-USB and two with USB-C, I am struggling to see any value to myself from the change in connector, so how are they getting €14bn worth across Europe?!

    Edit, having poked around their website 'the realised consumer value' of €14bn is apparently from a 'EU consumer survey; mobile market sales'. So basically a lot of phones were sold in those six years, which seems unrelated to whether there should be a common changer standard.

  25. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Would it actually reduce waste?

    Since most phones and tablets come with a charger (specific for the wall socket used in the particular market) the new requirement would just change what is included. Unless, that is, you no longer get a charger included and have to buy that separately - which would be popular (not)! Actually, I don’t think I’ve taken the charger from the box of a new phone or tablet for over 5 years; I haven’t used one for several years. At home, I’ve installed a few power sockets with USB-A power outlets, a 12V adapter in my car and use a portable battery when I’m away (which gets recharged from whatever source is handy). If I do need to charge my phone from anything else, I’ll usually include an adapter to block the USB-A signal lines.

    I suspect the new rules will result in a glut of cheap sub-standard chargers on the market (and associated fires and accidental electrocutions).

    1. Charlie Clark Silver badge

      Re: Would it actually reduce waste?

      For a phone it's possible to argue that dedicated chargers are a requirement for proper power management. But since everyone standardised on micro USB the number of peripherals that came with their own chargers has fallen off sharply. Many of them still come with cables though even these are being phased out.

      In reality, of course, this means that manufacturers can save money by bundling less kit but the net effect is the same. Except, of course, for the fact that we all keep on buying non-serviceable gadgets and associated peripherals.

  26. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Fit Both!

    If they want to keep lightning, there's nothing to stop Apple from fitting both connectors, right?

    1. danbi

      Re: Fit Both!

      Curious.. which should be the second one in your opinion?

      1. Strahd Ivarius Bronze badge
        Devil

        Re: Fit Both!

        jack?

  27. jonathan keith Silver badge

    Take your load of bollocks and fuck off, Apple.

    n/t

  28. jaffa99

    I don't care

    I have an Android phone with a USB-C connector, but I have wireless chargers in my office and at home, so I rarely use a cable. I've never had an Apple product of any kind, I really don't care what they do.

    1. werdsmith Silver badge

      Re: I don't care

      Thanks for letting us know.

      1. This post has been deleted by its author

  29. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Not being able to charge an electric car when you're away from home because it has a different plug is a more pressing issue than this.

    Why not mandate that all chargers support a common standard, even if they also support a proprietary one?

  30. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    How would Apple switching to USB-C reduce e-waste?

    Back in the 2000s when it seemed like every phone had its own proprietary charging port, it was a real problem because when you got a new phone you threw away the old now useless charger. The EU is trying to solve a problem that no longer exists, at least not for phones.

    Apple ships a wall wart with a USB-C port and a separate USB-C to Lightning cable. You can use that wall wart to charge an Android phone, or use an Android wall wart (if it doesn't have the cable built in) to charge an iPhone.

    So where is the "e-waste" in this scenario? The only time something ends up in the trash is if a wall wart goes bad, a cable goes bad, or a charger with a built in cable goes bad. Apple switching to USB-C wouldn't reduce any of these throwaway scenarios. If the EU really wants to help, they should mandate that the wall wart and cable be separate, since a failure of the wall wart part or cable part makes you throw away the whole thing instead of just the part that went bad.

    1. Roland6 Silver badge

      Re: How would Apple switching to USB-C reduce e-waste?

      >So where is the "e-waste" in this scenario?

      The wall warts tend to out live the device (and cable) they came with. So I have had three iPads since 2010, my current one has three wall warts, which is allows me to have wall warts left in places I find useful.

      However, I've also had three phones (complete with wall warts). Plus I have a family so multiple those figures by four. Because of the proliferation of devices and shortage of power sockets, I purchased a couple of multiport charging adaptors.

      So I now have a small but growing pile of e-waste consisting of: phone wall warts and broken cables.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: How would Apple switching to USB-C reduce e-waste?

        The only change Apple would have to make from the proposed EU law would be having a USB-C connector on the phone and a USB-C connector on both ends of the cable instead of just one end. The wall wart they ship with a USB-C connector on it would be unchanged. You'd still end up with phone wall warts that outlived their device, and broken cables.

        The EU law wouldn't change a thing for you, unless it mandated not shipping wall warts with phones/tablets, and/or shipping extra durable cables.

        1. danbi

          Re: How would Apple switching to USB-C reduce e-waste?

          Certification of extra durable cables for EU would be much appreciated by the beurocrats.

          As well as suing the states for cables not living to the hype. After all, they pay with their taxpayers money.

          Certification is the wet dream of every government.

      2. Expectingtheworst

        Re: How would Apple switching to USB-C reduce e-waste?

        ? What is a Wall Wart ?

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: How would Apple switching to USB-C reduce e-waste?

          It's a term for power supplies which are built into the plug (rather than a brick along the cable) - because they're oversized and lumpy.

  31. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Aren't these the same company who made millions of third-party chargers, docks and accessories useless when they brought IN the Lighting connector?

  32. Martin-73 Silver badge

    Dead company walking

    In the field (ie the real world) i've seen more and more cases of people being pissed off with apple's stupid refusals to embrace standards.

    I would wish them to rot in hell, but google needs a competitor to stop it becoming worse

  33. Giles C Bronze badge

    Surely the best approach would be to supply a cable - but not a charger unless you request one - it would also make things cheaper. The charger contributes more to the waste than a single cable.

    1. D@v3

      @Giles

      While i don't disagree with the approach, i hate to break it to you, but removing something from the box won't have any impact on the price

  34. Bill B

    Apple’s argument is weak

    Apple’s argument would be so much stronger if they haven’t already moved to USB-c on their latest iPad Pro, which means that anyone upgrading ends up with all their existing Lightning cables obsolete ... unless you buy a lightning to usb-c connector (which let’s face it, is what people will do).

  35. localzuk

    Doublespeak

    "The report argues that competition in the charging connector space has created €14bn of estimated consumer value between 2012 and 2018. Any top-down attempt to enforce a standard, it reckons, would create €1.5bn in estimated consumer harm."

    What a mess of a claim this is. What is "consumer value"? Consumers haven't earned €14bn from charging connectors in 6 years. No, what they mean is the consumer has been charged €14bn in this time, and a standardised approach would save €1.5bn.

  36. gnasher729 Silver badge

    Charger or cables?

    There seems to be some absolute confusion here. My chargers work with anything - Iphone, iPad, really is iPhone, Samsung phone, some little Anker speaker, my wife’s watch with a really proprietary connector.

    What’s different is the cables. So as long as the cable isn’t directly built into the charger, every USB charger works with every device. So is this discussion about chargers, cables, or just about how to confuse people?

  37. Peter 39

    "Standard" and changeability

    It's really funny when Brits talk about the ability to change and update standards, such as moving from the "old" microUSB to USB-C connector.

    "No problem," we're told.

    Then we point out the standards evolution of the BS 1363 Type G plug - and fall about laughing.

    Seriously, it's well past time for UK to move to a transition. I might suggest that new dual outlets have one type G and Euro C and F sockets, with a fuse in the outlets to handle the ring-main characteristics of UK wiring.

    1. localzuk

      Re: "Standard" and changeability

      The type G plug is pretty much the best design for safety in the world. Why the heck would we change that?

    2. danbi

      Re: "Standard" and changeability

      It is even funnier for Brits defending the EU and mocking Apple as 31 Jan 2020 looms.

  38. cortland

    I ran into a similarly proprietary problem about ten years ago, when I was looking for a well built but inexpensive connector to use in a telecomm's bay abut to be introduced; the firm that actually made it it were ready , but the patent owners stopped it.

  39. Richard 15

    They could simply just have another USB port or the like in addition to the lightning one.

  40. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Next: battery standards

    Firstly, I don't know if they're any good but Amazon has plenty of adapters that purport to offer lightning/conversion.

    Consumer replaceable batteries (ideally from a standardised range) might double the usable life of the average mobile. Obviously the manufacturers like that built-in obsolescence, contributing to the typical replacement cycle of under 2 years so legislation is needed (for battery powered devices in general, not just phones).

    1. danbi
      Go

      Re: Next: battery standards

      Ideally, these batteries should be EU manufactured, or at least imported via an EU country from China.

  41. anonymous boring coward Silver badge

    Don’t they all have USB connectors on one end of the cable? Good enough for me!

  42. Handle123456

    It's a great shame Apple did not flop and disappear near the end of the 90s

    The world would be a better place without this marketing company

  43. Wayland Bronze badge

    Several phone charing standards over the years

    Many phones had a multipin connector on the bottom including Apple it was the Apple one which stayed the same for many years. Nokia had the convenient round 3v power plug which was a good standard for a while.

    USB is standard at one end and is a standard 5v DC but the phone end keeps changing for no good reason. Perhaps Type-C is finally the answer. When it's novelty rather than innovation driving the differences then the EU have a point. However this is not an issue they should be sticking their beak into. They could make a standard recommendation based on current standards and do this every 5 years, that would be good. I like the fact we have USB power on wall power sockets, maybe the EU could set a safety standard for that.

    I object to them dictating things like they did with light bulbs. It's taken years to get decent bulbs again.

  44. Jtom

    Thanks to most of you for reinforcing my low opinion of most Europeans.

    Has it occurred to any of you that if your fellow citizens didn’t want Apple products, including their cables, that they wouldn’t be buying them? You all seem think you have a right to tell them what they must buy. There is no strong case for government interference. Innovation is not being stifled, the environment isn’t being harmed, no one is suffering. Heaven forbid people have a CHOICE as to how to spend their money. You have a duty to save them from themselves, and tell them what to do, right?

    You vent with outrage that Apple is ripping customers off. You do realize, I hope, that no one forces their customers to buy their products. No, forcing people to buy what someone else deems acceptable is YOUR objective.

    No one is forcing you to buy Apple chargers and connectors. You can buy what you want. Show a little respect to your fellow citizens, and let them buy what they want as well. Maybe over time you can convince the world that you value freedom over fascism.

    I will take all your down arrows with pride.

  45. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    It's special....

    As a non-appleist I'm not that bothered, but I hear a lot more people asking around for an 'iphone' charger than I ever hear asking for an Android charger, so maybe it's just a way of reinforcing that exclusiveness. Look at me, I need a special cable.

  46. IareFlash
    Coat

    How are you question Apple!

    Obviously you do not know that *everything* Apple do and make is innovative?

    How dare you dare to question the money making innovation Apple continue to blind their faithful with.

    Android is a load of bollocks and built on a crappy Linux kernel... oh wait....

    I bet you drink instant tea with artificial sweetener!

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