back to article One-size-fits-all chargers? What a great idea! Of course Apple would hate it

Smartphones, tablets, and cameras sold within the European Union could be forced to adopt a single standard charging port by the middle of the decade if the latest plans from the European Commission get the go-ahead. The proposals for a revised Radio Equipment Directive would mean that charging port and fast-charging …

  1. jonathan keith Silver badge

    Apple don't like it?

    ... fuck 'em.

    1. John Robson Silver badge

      Re: Apple don't like it?

      Apple have been far better than the rest of the industry, I can't recall how many chargers I had whilst Apple stayed with the 30 pin (2003-2012), and there have been quite a few since they switched to lightning. (I counted them at one point, and it really is shocking).

      Lighting was, whilst proprietary, an improvement over the micro-usb that was starting to become common in phones at the time.

      Technically USBc allows massive connectivity options, and is a fairly resilient reversible connector, so I don't see that there is a particular reason *not* to use it any more, but maintaining support for their connectors for a decade at a time does somewhat slow down change.

      1. bryces666

        Re: Apple don't like it?

        I will like it. Can't wait for my wife to stop buying 4 or 5 lightning cables a year because they keep breaking! Even heavy reinforced ones and apple certified ones seem to succumb and die. So much waste. A usb-c cable can last me several years of use at least. Is it that usb-c are manufactured that much better, or does apple purposefully make theirs such utter crap to force more purchases?

        1. Peter 39

          Re: Apple don't like it?

          I'm not hard on my cables but I've never had an original Apple one fail.

          Plenty of third-party, but the genuine Apple ones (from the Apple Store) have been solid.

          Just one opinion.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Apple don't like it?

            Same here. And there are plenty of non-Apple ones that stand up well.

            I'm not sure how the change would significantly reduce charger waste as most have a standard USB-A port, that fits most cables. If anything, it might increase waste for a while; and I've not read anything to say how the rules would change if technology required a change to USB-C.

            We don't actually use any plug-in chargers at home as I upgraded various wall sockets around the house to those with USB-A ports. Those we use for charging phones, tablets, Kindles, etc have the appropriate leads plugged in (a mix of micro USB, USB-C and Lightning). The only change the new law would make to use is that we would bin some of the cables as they became no longer required.

            Almost as a footnote, if Apple switch to a port-less design for their phones (as routinely rumoured), any attempt to hit them is for nothing. As an aside, there could be a situation where Apple argues that their phones charge wirelessly and the Lightning port is primarily for data and servicing.

            1. MCPicoli

              Re: Apple don't like it?

              About your footnote...

              Because, of course, for Apple the option of simply complying with something that will save money and reduce waste for everyone is not an option. Apple must do *everything* the Apple Way, fuck everyone else.

              Apple may choose to open their connector and communication standards to everyone for almost free (as is the USB-C), ensuring interoperability of Apple equipment with other manufacturers of phones and accessories, but let me stop deluding myself with my utopic dreams.

              OK you may pay Apple to certify your cables and chargers, but god forbid you try to create an Android Phone with a lightning connector...

              I'd say fuck Apple, comply or get out.

            2. Nifty Silver badge

              Re: Apple don't like it?

              Has anyone costed the carbon footprint of inductive charging vs cabled?

              1. jason_derp Silver badge

                Re: Apple don't like it?

                Has anyone costed the carbon footprint of inductive charging vs cabled?"

                Unless technology (or maybe even physics?) has drastically changed over the past few years, the inefficiency in inductive charging alone should increase the footprint by just requiring so much power. I imagine for transportation costs, an inductive charger must be the same amount of mass to ship as several decent usb cables and warts.

                1. martyn.hare

                  Really?

                  Shavers, toothbrushes and the like have all used inductive charging (even if cabled to give the appearance of conducting) for a long time for safety reasons.

                  1. Remy Redert

                    Re: Really?

                    Yes, for safety and ease of maintenance reasons. Where we take the efficiency losses for granted. Also, shavers, toothbrushes and the like use a lot less power than a smartphone and those chargers are typically designed to specifically fit the one device they're charging, allowing for much tighter magnetic coupling than a generic inductive charging device and thus better efficiency.

              2. vistisen

                Re: Apple don't like it?

                Yes

                https://debugger.medium.com/wireless-charging-is-a-disaster-waiting-to-happen-48afdde70ed9

            3. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

              Re: Apple don't like it?

              "Almost as a footnote, if Apple switch to a port-less design for their phones (as routinely rumoured), any attempt to hit them is for nothing. "

              I think if that was anywhere close to true and about to happen within the next few years, then Apple would simply ignore the EU commitment and have not bothered making a statement, least of all to El Reg :-)

              The fact they decided to comment means it will affect them. I'm sure the on-call lobbyists are already being briefed and checking their supplies of brown envelopes :-)

            4. sabroni Silver badge

              Re: most have a standard USB-A port

              citation needed. Posting AC doesn't mean you just get to make shit up. I've got many, many chargers that are just a block with a wire coming out with a device specific connector on the end.

              Are you sure "most" chargers are pluggable? As a business, why would I spend money building a socket into my device charger if I don't need to?

              1. Anonymous Coward
                Anonymous Coward

                Re: most have a standard USB-A port

                I suspect the poster was writing from personal experience and meant most chargers they had. I have quite a number lying around the house that are hard wired, but they no longer fit anything that needs a USB (of any flavour) or Lightning feed. All the ones in current use here have either USB-A or USB-C ports.

                Raking though old kit (not yet sent to recycling because, who knows, it might come in useful - and I suspect “recycling” would probably just send it to landfill somewhere, so storage in my loft until proper recycling is possible is probably greener) I’m struck by how few varieties we have nowadays. The industry seems to have sorted itself out and the EU ruling is probably “just after the nick of time.” Legislation for the sake of being seen to do something.

                It used to be the case that each new laptop needed its own brick as, even if it used the same plug, it needed a different voltage. Nokia seemed to change their charger with each model, too (OK, not *every* one but no two in my collection use the same).

          2. Alan Hope

            Doesn't sound quite right...

            I'm curious, if your original Apple connectors never failed, why were you having to buy "plenty of third party" connectors which then did?

          3. jvf

            you are lucky

            As well as “off brands”, my wife and I also have had two or three Apple cable failures and these cables just rested on the counter between use. (My wife likes Apple kit so I’m forced to have an iPhone so I know how get her going when things go awry).The problem is not so much the cable but the poorly designed lightning connector with its exposed contacts. Who ever thought that was a good idea? Look at yours (with a magnifying glass if necessary) and you might see black oxidation (or whatever) shorting out pins or other general funkiness. I have “fixed” some by cleaning but it never lasts. I, for one, will be glad to see the demise of the lightning cable.

            1. Annihilator Silver badge

              Re: you are lucky

              "Look at yours (with a magnifying glass if necessary) and you might see black oxidation (or whatever) shorting out pins or other general funkiness."

              To be fair, all cables do this - you can just see Apple's. The bigger problem I have is with the crud that collects inside the port (and on the contacts in there), but again, that happens in all USB cables too.

        2. fiskrond
          Trollface

          Re: Apple don't like it?

          get a different brand of wife.. it will work out more cost-effective in the longer term

          1. Nifty Silver badge

            Re: Apple don't like it?

            I think you were trying to say, become a hermit and live in a barrel.

            1. Robert Moore
              Coat

              Re: Apple don't like it?

              > I think you were trying to say, become a hermit and live in a barrel.

              Have you seen the price of barrels these days?

        3. IGotOut Silver badge

          Re: Apple don't like it?

          I've always bought Anker or Aukey (same for chargers) and have only had on (USB) cable fail, and that got some serious abuse.

        4. Tessier-Ashpool

          Re: Apple don't like it?

          Your wife is yanking out the cable rather than using the strain relief. OK, she’s “holding it wrong”, but there you have it. Or she has a habit of repeatedly bending the cable. Some people are careless like that. My son, for example, sees no problem in picking up an open laptop be grabbing the corner of the screen. Makes me wince every time.

          As for the connector itself, I’d be happy to see Lightning ditched in favour of USB-C. Unlike the EU’s former attempt to standardise on micro USB which, thankfully, went by the by. That truly is a rotten, fiddly, polarised connector. Good riddance.

          1. My-Handle Silver badge

            Re: Apple don't like it?

            Fiddly and annoying though micro-usb is / was, having a standard connector beat having half a billion* different chargers that were deliberately manufactured to only ever be used on one specific model of device. Woe betide if one of them broke, as they were inevitably horribly difficult to get hold of, usually only directly from the manufacturer, at a cost carefully calculated to be just under (or possibly over) the threshold of making it more worthwhile buying a brand new device.

            *slight hyperbole

            1. John Robson Silver badge

              Re: Apple don't like it?

              Yes - but the industry is now down to 2, maybe three connectors...

              I don't think we need to legislate to stop the ridiculous situation we had 15-20 years ago

              1. sabroni Silver badge

                Re: but the industry is now down to 2, maybe three connectors...

                yeah, the one everyone else uses and Apple's.

                But they're so special!!

                1. John Robson Silver badge

                  Re: but the industry is now down to 2, maybe three connectors...

                  "But they're so special!!"

                  In only one sense.... they developed a connector that does everything a phone needs a decade ago, the rest of the industry caught up quite a few years later.

                  The idea of limiting waste is great, but the legislation is 15 or so years late. Apple are moving towards USBc, but there is no compelling reason to abandon all the chargers and accessories which exist and work perfectly well.

                2. JDX Gold badge

                  Re: But they're so special!!

                  In a purely numeric sense, yes Apple are special. They account for something like a third of all phones/tablets sold IIRC, from a single company. It's not the same as 50 companies each with 2% of the market being required to standardise, it's a hugely significant market share.

                  I'd still be pro standardisation but they are by far the single biggest player.

          2. RegGuy1 Silver badge

            Your wife is yanking out the cable rather than using the strain relief.

            I have one of those.

        5. Dave 126 Silver badge

          Re: Apple don't like it?

          I've had plenty of USB C cables that have failed, just as I've seen friends with did Lightening cables. Whilst anecdotal, it might be worth mentioning that these poor quality cables were often bought in a hurry from a petrol station or supermarket. I suspect that had I done some research and bought some cables of a reputable brand online my experience would be better.

          Thankfully though the USB C connector on my phone is working fine after several years. Similarly, I haven't heard of Lightening port failures from my iPhone-owning friends.

          Sidenote: with all cables, USB or Micro USB, I've found that braided cables tend to be less durable than normal-looking cables. I therefore suspect that the braiding is just cosmetic.

          This is just my anecdotal evidence, offered in response to similar.

          1. Nifty Silver badge

            Re: Apple don't like it?

            You'll notice that both braided and standard cables have no stress relief structure for the cable emerging from the plug. This is the secret to keeping cables as a daily consumable.

        6. Kane Silver badge
          Thumb Up

          Re: Apple don't like it?

          "Is it that usb-c are manufactured that much better, or does apple purposefully make theirs such utter crap to force more purchases?"

          Yes.

        7. xeroks

          Re: Apple don't like it?

          Although a usb-c lasts you several years, I wouldn't be surprised if your wife goes through them at the same rate as her lightning ones.

          BTW I'm very much in favour of rationalising these sockets for most devices. I'm more concerned about situations where this might be wrongly applied. I'm thinking specifically about gutar pedals, which all used the same 9V round pin as they used 40 years ago or more. If the EU forced manufacturers to switch to USB-C for these, that would cause more waste rather than less.

          1. jonathan keith Silver badge

            Re: Apple don't like it?

            But the point is that *all* effects pedals use the same 9V barrel connector. It's not the case that BOSS pedals require a different connector to MXR pedals, and neither fit Electro-Harmonix pedals. All therefore can work perfectly to (in my case) turn a beautifully-clean guitar signal into muddy sludge.

            1. Jonathon Green

              Re: Apple don't like it?

              Although you do still come across the odd one which just for entertainment’s sake in spite of having a very similar or identical connector has the opposite polarity, runs at 18 volts, AC, or (as in the case of one of mine) 22 volts.

              I suppose even Electronic Engineers need to find amusement where they can on some days…

              1. Franco Silver badge

                Re: Apple don't like it?

                And you get the big Line 6 pedals that use the slightly larger version of the Boss style plug (think it's the opposite polarity as well) and I have an ancient Colorsound Wah pedal that randomly uses a 3.5mm headphone style plug, quite a few vintage pedals such as DOD use that connector too.

                I can't see the rule being applied to that segment of the market though, because A: it's tiny compared to mobile phones and associated equipment and B: guitarists (myself included) have hipster tendencies and insist on vintage gear so not much gets scrapped unless it's beyond repair.

              2. Anonymous Coward
                Anonymous Coward

                Re: Apple don't like it?

                In my experience, most of the time, the connector decision has been made by "Marketing"

            2. cosmodrome

              Re: Apple don't like it?

              Jim Dunlop's ugly Cry Baby wants to have a word with you while waiting for a good moment for its utterly terrible mini-RS connector to slip out short-circuiting your pedal board and make some very nice noises over that big PA causing your digital delay and thrash metal distortion to turn on simultaneously in the very same you bend over to fix it.

              The mixer and auditory's love will be yours eternally - "Hey there's that idiot..."!

        8. Roland6 Silver badge

          Re: Apple don't like it?

          I suspect there is a big difference in the way you and your wife handle charging cables. As not had such problems in my house.

          However, when it comes to small electrical appliance cables (eg. hair drier, iron, hoover etc.) my wife and her mother are able to destroy these by getting them tightly twisted.

      2. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

        Re: Apple don't like it?

        " maintaining support for their connectors for a decade at a time does somewhat slow down change."

        You (and Apple) say that like it's a bad think. So many USB cables and never the one that fits whatever gadget I'm holding.

        1. John Robson Silver badge

          Re: Apple don't like it?

          Huh - I said it as a *good* thing.

          Apple phones (and other devices) have used two connectors since 2003.

          They have recently moved to USBc for some of the psuedo computer tablets (the iPadPro range)

          That's a good thing, despite meaning that "innovation" is relatively slow.

          1. katrinab Silver badge

            Re: Apple don't like it?

            It is now USB-C for all of their iPads except the budget one. iPad Air got it last year, iPad Mini got it earlier this week.

            The iPad Pro by the way has seriously impressive hardware that can up a decent fight against high-end gaming and workstation PCs. It will beat them in some categories, but not all. The operating system really holds it back though.

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: Apple don't like it?

              I think the main reason iPads now have a fast USB-C port is so they can connect to 4K displays and other USB devices like keyboards using standard hubs.

              iPhones have kept with the slow (USB 2 speed) but robust lighting connector. I have read, probably uniformed speculation, that Apple didn't want to upset existing users by causing them to update their accessories.

              In the experience of my family charging cables don't last as long as phones, so I don't think the type of connector causes massive amounts of waste. Maybe better cables or more careful users would help more. If I look at our collection of no longer used mid range Android phones that only had a couple or years of system updates, got damp or have broken charging ports I can't help thinking using iPhones would have generated less waste.

              1. Nifty Silver badge

                Re: Apple don't like it?

                "iPhones have kept with the slow (USB 2 speed) but robust lighting connector. I have read, probably uniformed speculation, that Apple didn't want to upset existing users by causing them to update their accessories."

                The flying pigs were having trouble competing with the meteor showers this evening.

                1. John Robson Silver badge
                  Joke

                  Re: Apple don't like it?

                  "The flying pigs were having trouble competing with the meteor showers this evening."

                  Typical - it was cloudy.

              2. Tomato42

                Re: Apple don't like it?

                "Apple didn't want to upset existing users by causing them to update their accessories."

                hahaha, oh wow, good one

                oh, wait, you're serious?

                let me laugh even harder

              3. DiViDeD Silver badge

                Re: Apple don't like it?

                iPhones have kept with the slow (USB 2 speed) but robust lighting connector

                Yes, but the latest iPhone now has 4k (sorry - 'ProRes' - even standard terms need to be 'Appletized' these days) video capability, so a 480Mbps max data connection makes no sense. And with talk of them dropping the port altogether in favour of wireless (oops! I meant 'MagSafe' of course) charging and AirDrop, transferring your video files for editing is going to become an even bigger exercise in patience.

                It's just lucky that today's content creators are renowned for their enduring patience.

      3. Piro Silver badge

        Re: Apple don't like it?

        Far better than the rest of the industry?

        How many SMARTphone charging cables have there really been?

        3, mini USB, micro USB, USB C..

        Not exactly crazy. Some earlier "smartphones" that didn't have capacitive touchscreens had legacy connectors from their respective brands (I had an SE P900 and P990), but that phase is long gone.

        Apple should just switch to USB C and be done with it. If it was good enough for the iPad...

        1. John Robson Silver badge

          Re: Apple don't like it?

          Well I had palm specific connectors as well, and the treo was a smarter phone than I had for a long while.

          The iPad is not a phone, and doesn't have the same usage patterns, or established accessory market.

          You're suggesting creating a mountain of e-waste as a solution to the problem of e-waste.

          The move will eventually happen, but we aren't in the days when if your charger broke you would struggle to find a compatible one (unless you went nokia, in which case they were almost all the same).

          What is it about USBc that provides a compelling reason to move from lightning?

          Is it that you want to charge your phone at 100W? lightning handles at least 12W, which is plenty fast enough for anyone who ever needs to sleep.

          Is it that you want to export a PCIe lane? Does the A15 chip family even have any PCIe lanes?

          As you said, it's not as if there are loads of competing standards for chargers any more - there are basically two - so there isn't a requirement for legislation.

          1. Piro Silver badge

            Re: Apple don't like it?

            Treo had a resistive touchscreen, it's pre-modern smartphone, in that sense

        2. katrinab Silver badge
          Windows

          Re: Apple don't like it?

          Depends how far back you go. My first one had a connector that looked like an iPaq connector, but with a different pin-out. My second one was an actual iPaq with an iPaq connector.

          1. Piro Silver badge

            Re: Apple don't like it?

            I specifically refer to as smartphones with capacitive touchscreens.

            The many weird and wonderful early smartphones with resistive touchscreens were excluded from scope. They were never popular with the masses anyway..

            1. John Robson Silver badge

              Re: Apple don't like it?

              Then I'll exclude from scope any phones without a digital audio output...

              a similarly random distinction to make.

              The legislation option has been rumbling on for so long that the industry has basically solved the original issue by mere threat of legislation and then competitive pressure.

        3. Cian_

          Re: Apple don't like it?

          Early Symbian devices used Nokias popport and a power barrel. They then had this plus mini, not micro, USB at the same time.

        4. thondwe

          Re: Apple don't like it?

          The bigger step was "normal" mobiles switching to usb - thankfully as Mother-in-law's needed an emergency charge via usb.

          As pointed out elsewhere Apple's issue with dropping wired charging will be Car Play...

          1. Annihilator Silver badge

            Re: Apple don't like it?

            There's wireless car play now though?

      4. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

        Re: Apple don't like it?

        "a decade at a time does somewhat slow down change."

        Isn't that the point though? And of course, they can still compete on incompatible wireless charging systems.

    2. VBF
      Thumb Up

      Re: Apple don't like it?

      Now don't hold back....say what you think!

      By the way......I agree with you - anything that upsets those arrogant over-priced muppets works for me too.

    3. Hubert Cumberdale Silver badge

      Re: Apple don't like it?

      Damn right. That is, as long as we stick to USB-C and don't try to invent anything better.

      1. werdsmith Silver badge

        Re: Apple don't like it?

        Apple already started changing, new announced Ipad Mini is USB C.

    4. A.P. Veening Silver badge

      Re: Apple don't like it?

      ... fuck 'em.

      But use a condom.

      1. jason_derp Silver badge

        Re: Apple don't like it?

        What if I'm Catholic?!

        1. Rich 2 Silver badge

          Re: Apple don't like it?

          Then you are indoctrinated into feeling so bad about yourself that you don’t deserve an iPhone anyway.

  2. Pascal Monett Silver badge

    So it "stifles innovation"

    I understand two things in this plan :

    1) there is finally a chance that I no longer have to store 50 different chargers "just in case"

    2) Apple is no longer to make a mint by purposefully designing chargers that are just slightly different for every one of its models so that it can extract a maximum of additional moolah from the idiots that buy from it

    I think I would be quite happy with point #1 if I bought Apple gear, and I am very, very happy with with point #2 in any case.

    Stop the waste. Be more customer-friendly.

    Besides, your phones hardly differ from one year to the next. Stop churning out clones every 12 months.

    1. tip pc Silver badge

      Re: So it "stifles innovation"

      all my apple chargers have usb-a connections, I can plug any usb-a cable in to them and use them for powering all sorts of stuff, I even have usb-a to dc round connectors for different things. Amazon sells some usb-a to dc cables that you can change the output voltage, useful for powering stuff from those cheap power banks.

      1. John Robson Silver badge

        Re: So it "stifles innovation"

        To be fair one of mine isn't USB-A, it's USBc...

        Oh, and a couple are magsafe... but that's not really the target here (it's still the best feature to have been removed from basically any product line)

    2. Mishak

      50 different chargers

      How does that happen? All the kit I have uses plug in USB devices - mainly with USB-A sockets, but some new ones now have USB-C.

      The only difference between the "chargers" is the cable used to connect them to the plug-in part. Sure, that does mean I have a set of cables (USB-x to Lightning, USB-C, micro-usb and mini-usb), but they are really consumables as they wear over over time - which would be a problem if they are attached to the charger, but they're not.

      1. G40

        Re: 50 different chargers

        You must have forgotten/missed the bit where every cell phone maker used a different sized/shaped plug to connect wall wart to device. 2002 dates it

        1. Dave 126 Silver badge

          Re: 50 different chargers

          Tell me about it. Before Micro USB A then USB C, I had several Samsung phones and not one of them used the same connector as another. Plus, the cables are usually built into the wall adapter. At the and time, I know Sony Ericsson used several different connectors, as did Motorola. Not to mention that at the time it was normal for phones to use proprietary connectors for earphones and headsets.

          By contrast, Apple seemed liked saints with their 30 pin connector seeing use from the iPod through to the introduction of Lightning. What's that, two connectors in twenty years (three if you include tablets and USB C)?

          Criticise Apple for things they have done, for sure. But this particular issue isn't of their doing.

          1. ChrisC Silver badge

            Re: 50 different chargers

            "By contrast, Apple seemed liked saints with their 30 pin connector seeing use from the iPod through to the introduction of Lightning. What's that, two connectors in twenty years (three if you include tablets and USB C)?"

            Which, whilst on the one hand is a laudable achievement, also makes their "one type of connector stifles innovation rather than encouraging it" objection to this proposal feel rather weak - if they've been able to manage for 2 decades with just one change in connector type, and considering how capable USB C is (and the scope it offers for future enhancements whilst still remaining physically compatible with a 20201 vintage USB C socket), then WTF are they worried about the possibility of needing to adopt USB C vs continuing with Lightning for the next n years?

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: 50 different chargers

        "How does that happen? All the kit I have uses plug in USB devices - mainly with USB-A sockets, but some new ones now have USB-C."

        That didn't just happen because of sudden goodwill of manufacturers, they were coerced into it by the EU.

    3. Citizen of Nowhere

      Re: So it "stifles innovation"

      >so that it can extract a maximum of additional moolah from the idiots that buy from it

      I find what people say and how they say it are far more reliable indicators of idiocy than choice of kit. Sneering is rarely a positive sign.

    4. Nifty Silver badge

      Re: So it "stifles innovation"

      All my old car and wall wart chargers were obsoleted not by their cables but by the ever increasing amperage required to avoid either failure to charge while device is on, or an iDevice error message.

  3. Alpine_Hermit

    The Apple isn’t green

    “a spokesperson for Apple told The Reg - you heard that right - that while it "shares the European Commission's commitment to protecting the environment,"

    As an iPhone owner this comment bugs me. It’s entirely obvious that USB-C should have been adopted by Apple, not only for environmental reasons, but also for performance reasons.

    And if Tim was really caring for the environment he wouldn’t be pushing convenient but lazy and very energy-wasteful wireless charging which some tests have shown to use 50% more power than cable charging.

    Lead by example Apple, practice what you preach.

    1. tip pc Silver badge

      Re: The Apple isn’t green

      As an iPhone owner this comment bugs me. It’s entirely obvious that USB-C should have been adopted by Apple, not only for environmental reasons, but also for performance reasons.

      usb-c came well after apple adopted lightning and teamed with intel on thunderbolt.

      Thunderbolt adopting the usb-c port confused a lot of things, but thunderbolt has always been faster than usb.

      for reference usb3.1 can do 10gbs while thunderbolt 2 did 20gbps. my 2016 MBP does tb3 at 40gbps.

      https://www.techradar.com/uk/news/computing-components/peripherals/thunderbolt-vs-usb-3-0-vs-esata-931343

      usb4 released in 2019 is based on tb3.

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thunderbolt_(interface)#USB4

      Apple consistently pushed the performance envelope, first with lighting (usbv2 speed but a smaller connection) then with intel and thunderbolt pushing multiple gb/s.

      there are a number of fast usb charging standards that can supply more wattage and voltage than than the basic usb spec if both ends are compliant.

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/USB_hardware#USB_Power_Delivery

      that is outside of apple's influence though.

      I can charge all my PD spec & non PD spec devices happily off my MBP & iPad Pro high 20+w wattage chargers.

      not wrong with the chargers, getting the right cable though is yet another amazon purchase. Do remember a charging cable won't do hi speed data transfer, at best you'll get usbv2 (480mbps) speeds.

      1. This post has been deleted by its author

      2. Snake Silver badge

        Re: The Apple isn’t green

        "Apple consistently pushed the performance envelope, first with lighting (usbv2 speed but a smaller connection)"

        Sorry, wrong. Apple didn't push squat, as MicroUSB wss announced in January, 2007 and USB3 in November, 2008. Lightning... was first introduced on September 12, 2012.

        Therefore the USB3 spec was almost 4 years old when Lightning wss rolled out, enough time to say that the iPhone 5 et al, the first devices using Lightning, were probably still on the drawing board and could have easily been designed with the added circuits to handle the USB3 communication protocols.

        Or, conversely, Apple could have chosen the industry-common Micro USB for its USB2 speeds, a connector of which is almost no larger than your holy Lightning connector

        But no. Apple "needed" a non-standard, that is a proprietary, connector plus they stuck with USB2 speeds to boot! On a brand-new design!

        Your wishful thinking doesn't hold up when checked against a calendar.

    2. Dave 126 Silver badge

      Re: The Apple isn’t green

      On what occasions does the speed of a Lightening cable frustrate you? Genuine question - what's the use-case for shunting huge chunks of data back and forth twixt phone and elsewhere?

      But yeah, Lightening predates USB C, and both are superior to Micro USB.

      1. confused and dazed

        Re: The Apple isn’t green

        photos and videos to photos app on your Mac

        1. Roland6 Silver badge

          Re: The Apple isn’t green

          But only if you are watching and waiting. For the vast majority of the time I don't encounter this issue as the phone/ipad uploads to iCloud whilst attached to the home WiFi, iCloud does its magic and the workstation is all uptodate the following day.

    3. Dave 126 Silver badge

      Re: The Apple isn’t green

      Wireless charging can allow a device that has a damaged port (through wear, accidental damage whatever) to see years more life. You say that wireless charging isn't 'green'. I suggest your statement might be better supported by some calculations. I.e, energy used to manufacture a phone vs difference in energy used between wired and wireless charging of a phone over X years. Obviously there are other factors that make the assessment more complicated, but that should only give one pause before making sweeping statements.

  4. DS999 Silver badge

    If they are worried about charger waste

    Then Apple has no problem. The port on the charger they used to ship (and that connects with the cable they include) is USB-C. It is only the port on the phone that isn't USB-C.

    Are they worried about "one charger" or "one charging cable"? Is there a link to what they are proposing anywhere?

    What happens if Apple decides to have no port at all, and charge wirelessly? Would that be allowed or would the proposed EU rule ban that as well?

    1. jmch Silver badge

      Re: If they are worried about charger waste

      My understanding of the EU proposal is that the charging connector on the phone should be a standard. I agree, make them all USB-C. If Apple have any complaints, they are welcome to join the standards committee for whatever comes after USB-C... After all if its gonna be replaced in 5-10 years' time, they have to start working on it now.

      1. John Robson Silver badge

        Re: If they are worried about charger waste

        For once I'm not sure it will...

        USBc has a decently long life ahead of it. It's already pushing 40Gbps traffic and 100W of power.

        Neither of those are going to be needed by a phone any time soon.

        It's also a reversible, half decent connector - something that the USB consortium doesn't seem to have managed until now.

        1. matjaggard

          Re: If they are worried about charger waste

          I'm with you, but USB-C does seem to gather dust faster than the predecessor or lightning.

          Apple's main reason for lightning if I understood correctly is to get licensing fees for compatible devices?

          1. This post has been deleted by its author

          2. Pseu Donyme

            re: licencing fees

            This is my conclusion as well: petty nickel-and-diming us punters trough third party manufacturers; I have an iPhone as the alternative is a too obvious privacy disaster to be a real alternative*, but this doesn't mean I have to like Apple's petty monetizing (while they are charging a hefty premium on the phone itself).

            * sadly, it has become too difficult to find a reasonably cheap off-the-shelf phone to run Lineage (?)

          3. DS999 Silver badge

            Re: If they are worried about charger waste

            No Apple's reason for choosing Lightning over USB-C is that USB-C did not exist when Apple designed Lightning. The first USB-C based phones didn't appear until three years after the first Lightning based iPhones shipped.

          4. John Robson Silver badge

            Re: If they are worried about charger waste

            Not noticed USBc collecting dust, but my laptop is sat on a stand most of the time, not in a dusty pocket.

            The main reason for lightning was that it was better than any other connector available at the time.

            The reasons for keeping it could centre on not driving e-waste, why change a connector which does all you actually need for a phone (let's face it you don't back up over a cable any more).

            The cynical will suggest that it's all about licensing, but there is a significant body of existing accessories which would be obsoleted with a phone upgrade for no particularly good reason.

            Until there is actually a functional reason to change.... why change?

            The iPad pro has changed, although I'm not really sure why - but I wonder if the A and M series chips will converge and we'll therefore be able to export PCIe lanes from our phones (docking adaptor with an eGPU anyone)

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: If they are worried about charger waste

              Surely they can ship new phones with a USB-C port and a USB-C -> Lightning converter?

              It might be the exact opposite of current practices, but it would allow existing users to keep using their lightning chargers, while opening up a market for Apple of people who already own USB-C chargers.

              Really, they ought to look at the possibilities in this.

              1. DS999 Silver badge

                Re: If they are worried about charger waste

                That would render useless all the third party gear like speaker docks and other stuff that rely on the phone having a Lightning connector. Remember all the whining and gnashing of teeth when Apple announced it was switching from their old 30 pin dock connector to Lightning? That wasn't because people were worried about having to replace their $3 charging cables, it was because some of them had spent hundreds on speaker docks, car docks, and numerous other things that would no longer be compatible with the new iPhones. A USB-C to Lightning dongle isn't going to fly for most of them.

                The reason they have been able to switch to USB-C on the iPad with little or no complaint is that the docks are designed for phones not tablets, so they got no pushback there.

                Obviously they can't keep using Lightning forever, but I've said for years Apple will never ship a phone with a USB-C connector. When Lightning goes away, it won't be replaced. They'll ship phones with the Magsafe to USB-C cable instead of the Lightning to USB-C cable, and rely on BT, wifi or UWB for data transfer (depending on what data is being transferred and to what) They will take the same heat from people who have Lightning based accessories, but at least once they go portless people will know it will be the last such transition.

                I doubt the EU is contemplating a law that would require smartphones to have a physical charging port, but it is the EU so I guess we can't rule that out lol

                1. yetanotheraoc Silver badge

                  Re: If they are worried about charger waste

                  EU should grandfather in existing connectors, *including* on new phone models, that would keep existing cables relevant. Apple has a point about innovation, EU should allow for a future USB-D connector TBD.

                  "at least once they go portless people will know it will be the last such transition"

                  Er, no, engineers are quite capable of making a new portless charging system which is incompatible with existing portless phones.

                  1. DS999 Silver badge

                    Re: If they are worried about charger waste

                    Like I said, people who complained about Apple switching from the older connector to Lightning didn't give a damn about their investment in $3 cables. They were worried about their investments in devices they docked to that cost hundreds.

                    If the Qi standard was replaced by something else so existing wireless charging units, and thus Apple's Magsafe chargers that use Qi, became obsolete, people aren't going to be too worried about it.

                2. Anonymous Coward
                  Anonymous Coward

                  Re: If they are worried about charger waste

                  As I understand it (and I haven't read the full screed), Magsafe won't comply - it would have to be USB-C.

          5. Geez Money

            Re: If they are worried about charger waste

            > Apple's main reason for lightning if I understood correctly is to get licensing fees for compatible devices?

            Pretty much. It's receive licensing vs pay licensing. Artificial differentiation also plays into it, every time someone can't use a charger because one of them doesn't use Apple the Apple user is indirectly reminded they're part of the special club.

    2. Phil Kingston

      Re: If they are worried about charger waste

      >What happens if Apple decides to have no port at all, and charge wirelessly?

      That's a "when" not an "if".

      Imagine the money-spinner that wireless charging pads, their cables and their chargers will be. Will dwarf Lightning cable sales. This EU action will just bring Apple's plans for that a little further forward maybe.

      1. DS999 Silver badge

        Re: If they are worried about charger waste

        Hardly that much of a money spinner. Apple sells magsafe chargers for the iPhone for $39. They would likely include that with the iPhone instead of the Lightning cable when they make the switch, so they'd only make money from people who decide they need more than one (and buy from Apple rather than the inevitable clones for half price from companies like Anker)

        if someone wants to go with the pads they sell those for more, but they aren't required unless you own non-Apple devices that charge wirelessly and can't use Magsafe in which case you can't blame Apple for that and you probably wouldn't buy the pad from Apple anyway.

  5. Dwarf Silver badge

    Which priority wins ?

    This is a good idea if done properly, but there are lots of gaps in the proposals. This could rapidly lead to a set of mixed priorities. I'm interested to see how this pans out.

    To make it work, they need a couple of additional policies to make the power bricks from better designs and better quality components so that the things still work reliably after several years and the capacitors inside them have not all dried out, hence making the thing useless. They also need to ensure that they meet the spec in terms of stability of voltage, clean DC out and meeting the rated current for the full USB-C interface, so that newer / larger devices can charge properly.

    We've all seen those cheap-o chargers that produce low voltage and some devices won't charge on them, or many that don't meet their stated current.

    To fix all of this, they could mandate that they are maintainable so that people can get in and swap out faulty components when this happens. But this means more on the right to repair and conversely, mains power carries risks and sealed units keeps people out of them, so what are their real priorities and how do all of these cogs fit together ??

    What about the cable from the charger - will that be pluggable since the cables get a hard life due to all the manual handling and insertions / removal.

    What do I do when I've got 5 new devices and only 2 working chargers ? I still need to get more of them. This is the same with electric car charging. Either someone / something looses out with a flat device / car or it costs a lot more money to get to the point where I can charge all my gadgets easily and not have to worry about all this faffing about.

    Time to think again about Tesla (the real one, not Elon) and the world charging field, that would remove all the dedicated chargers too.

  6. cornetman Silver badge

    > it remains "concerned that strict regulation mandating just one type of connector stifles innovation rather than encouraging it

    Strewth, what possible innovation could there possibly be in the design of a connector for putting electricity into your phone with a cable that would make so much difference that it justifies the generation of tons of e-waste every year?

    1. tip pc Silver badge

      some people use that connection for hi speed data transfer too.

    2. SkippyBing

      So you're saying we should have stuck with micro-USB? Or is now the right time to freeze the standard because USB-C is definitely as good as it can get and won't be a hindrance in the future?

      I'm also sceptical about the claims of tonnes of e-waste, the last time I looked at the paper the claim was based on they seemed to assume everyone threw away their old charger when they got a new phone*. But most people I know keep them so they have a spare, one at work, in the living room etc.

      *It was a bit unclear what their methodology was but it was the only way the numbers could add up.

      1. Mishak

        "as good as it can get"

        Just like the "no one will ever need more than 640K".

      2. nijam Silver badge

        > ... assume everyone threw away their old charger when they got a new phone

        Despite you doubt, that is what people do. Not immediately, of course... old chargers are typically kept for about 5 years, then thrown away.

        1. SkippyBing

          So you're saying people don't throw their chargers away when they get a new phone? After five years it may well have stopped working which would seem a good reason to throw it away and get a new one.

        2. DS999 Silver badge

          Why would you ever throw away a charger?

          If it stops working sure, but otherwise they're going to end up in a drawer somewhere unless you go all Marie Condo on your spare consumer electronics knick knacks.

          I probably accumulated 7 or 8 chargers from iPhone purchases alone, and more from various other purchases, and I'm pretty sure I've never thrown any of them out. Not saying it is all that much better for the environment to make chargers that end up in a drawer somewhere rather than a landfill, but that's why the EU banning the shipment of 'Yet Another USB Power Adapter' is the smartest thing about this.

          However, their claim that not including chargers will save consumers money is the kind of wishful thinking only a bureaucrat could engage in! The companies that are trying to shave every last penny off the BOM have already quit shipping chargers, the holdouts who are forced to do so to comply with EU law obviously don't feel a lot of pricing pressure and thus won't pass along any discount from that savings.

      3. katrinab Silver badge
        Paris Hilton

        I collect all mine in The Big Box, and every decade or so, I have a big clear-out of old stuff. I imagine most people are the same.

    3. Roland6 Silver badge

      Well following Apple's logic, the UK, just like every other country in the world, have been stifling innovation for decades by mandating a Standard connector to the domestic electricity supply...

      About the only connector innovation that has occurred in mobile phones has been the decision to use the same connector for both power and data. I suspect without this the EU would have standardised on a jack plug and socket for power.

      1. katrinab Silver badge
        Angel

        I look forward to the day when a USB-type connection can handle 3kW, and then we can have a truly universal power outlet.

  7. Headley_Grange Silver badge

    Spec?

    Let's hope the requirement is worded to prevent Apple chipping its connector so that only Apple-approved USB-C connectors work. I'm sure that Apple has already got legal, commercial and engineering teams working out how they can fuck us over on this.

    1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

      Re: Spec?

      Oh you sweet innocent child.

      Apple will DRM each charger to a specific phone, if you have 2 phones you have 2 chargers. If you need a 2nd charger for the same phone these can be purchased and installed by your local Apple store

      1. Wellyboot Silver badge

        Re: Spec?

        They'll market it as an 'anti-theft' feature.

      2. fuzzie

        Re: Spec?

        There's even a spec for it already. I notice Apple is on the committee. I'm quite sure they could leverage that to ensure they remain in control of which USB-C cables they will allow to charge their devices

        * https://www.usb.org/document-library/usb-authentication-specification-rev-10-ecn-and-errata-through-january-7-2019

    2. Dave 126 Silver badge

      Re: Spec?

      Eh? Apple uses the USB C PD spec on its devices that use the port.

    3. Wyrdness

      Re: Spec?

      Macbooks and iPads already use usb-c for charging. Since they haven't crippled that in any way, why would you think that they might do so for phones?

  8. JassMan Silver badge

    Haven't Apple heard of eBay?

    Indeed, there are also concerns that if the rules are introduced too quickly it could mean that perfectly good tech with plenty of shelf life gets dumped prematurely.

    If your charger breaks, and it is the only one you had with an old style connector, there are thousands advertised on eBay every day. If your device breaks, who can resist buying a new one. Especially since you will already have a USB-A charger or 3 in a drawer and a USB-A to USB-C cable.

    The only thing that stifles innovation is Apple with their attempts to maintain a walled garden and forcing their customers to update all their gear because the new stuff doesn't have at least 1 previous style of port.

    1. brett_x

      Re: Haven't Apple heard of eBay?

      >The only thing that stifles innovation is Apple with their attempts to maintain a walled garden and forcing their customers to update all their gear because the new stuff doesn't have at least 1 previous style of port.

      They've changed the port on the iPhone exactly 1 time. The lightning port has been their standard since 2012. 9 + years is too short to stick to one port?

  9. Da Weezil

    Buy cheap, buy twice

    I have a single Anker 5 port in the house (and 1 at work that is around 6 years old now and a 12v model in the car. It charges All my kit from several makers, but I also buy decent quality cables for my kit, given that many manufacturers are not supplying a power brick with new kit I wonder Where is this “mountain” coming from? Far better to outlaw the cheap chargers that have no longevity and those with fixed cables.

    1. Dr_N Silver badge
      Thumb Up

      Re: Buy cheap, buy twice

      I am surprised how many people don't use multi-port supplies from Anker, Aukey, RavPower et al. They are excellent.

      The ones I get bundled with any kit go straight in the eco recycling bin. (To be dumped in a 3rd world country or illegally incinerated, probably.)

    2. IGotOut Silver badge

      Re: Buy cheap, buy twice

      I've a 6 port at home, I bought a four port for my parents and kids, and I have a 2 x 2 ports in the car (as well as the cars built in USB).

      The only single ports I have are those that came free with devices, and they serve little use.

  10. Howard Sway Silver badge

    Wait for it.....

    The Apple USB-C charger : only $89.99

    1. idiot taxpayer here again

      Re: Wait for it.....

      @Howard Sway

      you forgot to mention the 20 watt usb c charger for 20 quid. About 27.44 dollars

      1. Hubert Cumberdale Silver badge

        Re: Wait for it.....

        If it's £20 in the UK, then surely it's $20 in the US. Cos that's how the exchange rate works, apparently. Or doesn't it work that way around?

      2. Dave 126 Silver badge

        Re: Wait for it.....

        There are plenty of good chargers out there, but research is recommended.

        The size of high-wattage wall adaptors has shrunk, too... I keep reading of gallium something or other making this miniaturisation possible.

    2. katrinab Silver badge

      Re: Wait for it.....

      Is that the 100W one for 16" MacBook Pros, or is the price in Solomon Islands Dollars?

  11. tip pc Silver badge

    In a statement, a spokesperson for Apple told The Reg

    you lie!!!

    in all seriousness though, what happens when someone comes up with a new connection standard that is somehow better than & incompatible with the current usb thing the EU want everyone to use?

    we would then have 2 connections and increased cost?

    what if Apple decide not to have a connection at all, will they be forced to put a USB port on all their portable stuff when its not needed?

    I'm all for standardisation but enforced standardisation seems a bit to far.

    are the EU mandating mini/micro usb or is it usb-c?

    I'm happy with usb-c connector and would be grateful if everything used it, would cut down the number of cables I need, but I do have a load of cables with usb-a on 1 side and 3 connectors (usb-c, lightning, micro usb) on the other that are useful especially in the car and our hallway where I have a usb-c connected wireless dock & can still use the micro usb & lighting connectors, all 3 at the same time if I need.

    Lastly, the cheap usb-c cables tend to only permit charging & are no good for data transfer, or only permit usb2 (400mbs) speeds on transfer.

    1. elsergiovolador Silver badge

      Re: In a statement, a spokesperson for Apple told The Reg

      You are asking difficult questions. By the time this will be a problem, people who wasted tax payer money on this, will be long time lounging somewhere at the beach or already working on another problem that will need "solving".

    2. nijam Silver badge

      Re: In a statement, a spokesperson for Apple told The Reg

      > ... enforced standardisation ...

      What other kind is there?

      > ...cheap usb-c cables tend to only permit charging & are no good for data transfer...

      Same as all other cheap charging cables, then.

      1. John Sturdy
        Boffin

        Re: In a statement, a spokesperson for Apple told The Reg

        Some standards are widely used without enforcement, but they don't necessarily become universal; for example, AA and AAA battery sizes (although the names for those aren't as well-standardized as the sizes: AA = R6/LR6/FR6/KR6/HR6/ZR6 = 15D/15A/15LF/15K/15H = UM3 = D14 = HP7 = LR06 = AM-3 = Mignon = tansan; AAA = U16 = Micro = Ministilo = MN2400 = MX2400 = Type 286 = Pencil cell = UM 4 = #7 = 6135-99-117-3143)

        1. ChrisC Silver badge

          Re: In a statement, a spokesperson for Apple told The Reg

          Ah, if only AA/AAA sizes *were* standard... Unfortunately, the lack of enforcement here means that it's an all too common problem to discover that the batteries you've got available won't actually fit into the device they're intended for. Whether this is because the batteries are slightly too big, or because the battery compartment is slightly too small, is irrelevant - the lack of rigid standardisation over what the battery (and thus by extension, the compartment it has to fit into) size should be, means that until you try fitting one into the other you can't be sure whether it will or won't go.

          There's also the slightly less common problem that the battery compartment is designed in a way which makes assumptions over exactly how much of the -ve end of the battery will consist of bare metal and how much is covered by the sleeve, and similarly how thick the sleeve is that's wrapped around the other end of the battery which then affects how far out from the sleeve the +ve tip extends - it now seems like every other time the kids get some AA/AAA powered thing, I have to spend a bit of time bending the contacts so they actually do what their name suggests they should do, and occasionally I'll even have to take a sharp knife to the plastic mouldings in order to trim away bits that are preventing the +ve tip from making contact at all.

          1. DS999 Silver badge
            Stop

            Re: In a statement, a spokesperson for Apple told The Reg

            I've never encountered a device where AA or AAA batteries don't fit...

            1. ChrisC Silver badge

              Re: In a statement, a spokesperson for Apple told The Reg

              Try something that has a weatherproof or similarly sealed battery compartment. Handheld Garmin GPS receiver, Mini-Maglites etc, they're the sorts of things where there's zero wiggle room for batteries being even slightly oversized I'm the diameter department.

              And I genuinely wasn't just spinning a line when I talked about needing to modify battery holders on other stuff to make them work ok, so for those people who dovnvoted thinking I was just talking crap, consider yourselves lucky that you've not *yet* encountered this sort of problem getting supposedly standard sized batteries to fit something that claims to be designed to take them...

    3. Dan 55 Silver badge

      Re: In a statement, a spokesperson for Apple told The Reg

      in all seriousness though, what happens when someone comes up with a new connection standard that is somehow better than & incompatible with the current usb thing the EU want everyone to use?

      we would then have 2 connections and increased cost?

      USB C the connection is different to USB 3.2 the protocol. If there were a faster charging protocol then the device could use it, but both ends would need to be able to fall back to the current protocol.

      Presumably the connection and the protocol would be revisited after every decade, but the connection is supposedly pretty future proof. If the connection changes 2 decades from now and the protocol changes a decade from now that's still a lot of e-waste saved.

      what if Apple decide not to have a connection at all, will they be forced to put a USB port on all their portable stuff when its not needed?

      If there's no connectors then they're not forced to have one, but it would be stupid to design a device with wireless charging only because it's not efficient. That's probably why Apple will end up doing it, because they just aren't an environmentally responsible company no matter how much their marketing department tries to greenwash things.

      1. brett_x

        Re: In a statement, a spokesperson for Apple told The Reg

        > but it would be stupid to design a device with wireless charging only because it's not efficient

        I guarantee wireless charging will be the way we charge phones in the near future. Apple is close to ditching the port, and I'm sure the others aren't far behind. For one, it would be much better for waterproofing to have none.

        1. Richard 12 Silver badge

          Re: In a statement, a spokesperson for Apple told The Reg

          The hardest parts to waterproof are the simslot, speaker and microphone because they have to work while wet or physically move.

          Connectors are easy by comparison.

        2. A.P. Veening Silver badge

          Re: In a statement, a spokesperson for Apple told The Reg

          For one, it would be much better for waterproofing to have none.

          That certainly is a valid point, I am not sure I completely agree with the rest of your post, though I am afraid you are correct.

  12. heyrick Silver badge

    perfectly good tech with plenty of shelf life gets dumped prematurely

    Why? If it exists now, you'll have a charger for it...

    1. ChrisC Silver badge

      Re: perfectly good tech with plenty of shelf life gets dumped prematurely

      Yeah, I didn't quite get that part of their argument either.

      a) as you say, if you already own the device then you've already got a charger for it

      b) if you already own a device but the charger breaks, there doesn't appear to be any reason why this proposal would ban the sale of replacement *chargers* with legacy connectors. Chances are the active part of the broken charger would just be a bog standard mains-USB A adapter anyway which would be readily replaceable under this proposal, and if it was the cable part that broke, then you'd need to have a particularly dim view of the EU to think that such a proposal would ban even the sale of replacement cables featuring the legacy connectors. Especially given the number of such cables that are already freely available within the EU.

      c) if you're a supplier who's already got a load of stock of devices that wouldn't comply with the new standard, my experience of EU standards elsewhere in the tech industry would suggest this proposal would only apply to devices at the point of manufacture/import, not to devices that are already in the supply chain within the EU.

  13. elsergiovolador Silver badge

    Virtue signalling

    This was probably years of meetings, dinners, getaways, commissioned research, analysis, more dinners, banquets, field trips, and who knows how much tax payer money spent to come up with something there is probably no need for. I mean the numbers if massaged well enough may indeed look dramatic, but it's a bit like "Look, the pleb has 30 chargers! They are literally hoarding precious metals! The pleb can only have 3 chargers tops!"

    Now, it's not wild to imagine, that bureaucrats once sniffed no resistance, will be going further. For example you will have to register your charger with your local authority and you will be allowed to buy once charger per year only with a valid recycling receipt. Of course you will be able to buy as many chargers as you want from a bloke down the road, but police will be keeping an eye on that - it's always good to keep police away from corruption and other serious crimes.

    Then they'll start moaning there is no money for all these great green initiatives and they raise taxes again. Only a matter of time, when the taxes will approach 100%... The ultimate communist dream.

    1. Dan 55 Silver badge
      WTF?

      Re: Virtue signalling

      I'm not sure what's worse, that post or the fact you were updated twice.

    2. Wellyboot Silver badge

      Re: Virtue signalling

      >>>taxes will approach 100%... The ultimate communist dream.<<<

      There are no taxes in the communist ideal, everything belongs to the state, you are given what the state decides you need. You 'need' shelter with a little warmth, a change of overalls, and enough water & calorie intake to sustain the work you have been allotted.

      1. Uncle Slacky Silver badge
        FAIL

        Re: Virtue signalling

        Communism is stateless and moneyless, so whatever you're describing, it's not communism.

        1. phuzz Silver badge

          Re: Virtue signalling

          Then there's the difference between the ideal of Communism, and actually-existing Communism in countries such as the Soviet Union or China, which afaik all kept money as part of their system.

          1. Uncle Slacky Silver badge

            Re: Virtue signalling

            Just because they call themselves communist doesn't make it so - unless you think the DPRK is democratic? It's more like authoritarian state capitalism.

    3. Phil O'Sophical Silver badge

      Re: Virtue signalling

      The ultimate communist dream.

      That's not communist, the communist solution would be to provide a central public charging point where everyone would take their phones for a free charge (during which the contents would be scanned to check for un-party data).

      What you describe is bureaucratic paternalism, the government knows what's best for us and we should be pleased that it is spending our tax money to make these choices for us, so we don't have to make any decisions ourselves.

    4. Piro Silver badge

      Re: Virtue signalling

      What on earth are you babbling about? Yes, there are great examples of government overreach, and generally many reasons to be worried about the future, but for crying out loud, reducing waste by enforcing a single sensible port standard is not one of them.

  14. tip pc Silver badge

    charger dealer

    Of course you will be able to buy as many chargers as you want from a bloke down the road, but police will be keeping an eye on that - it's always good to keep police away from corruption and other serious crimes.

    is that guy pinging you on whats app too?

  15. W.S.Gosset Silver badge

    Whuh....

    Sorry, too stunned to take in article. APPLE? SPOKE TO ELREG?!?!

    1. matjaggard

      Re: Whuh....

      And just a throwaway comment about it. This is more newsworthy than some connectors being deprecated

    2. Fruit and Nutcase Silver badge
      Alert

      Re: Whuh....

      I just checked the calendar. It's not 1st April

  16. steviebuk Silver badge

    Next move

    Stop Apple lobbying against Right To Repair. Force them to supply schematics and parts to independent repair shops. You know, like what companies used to do. Open up an old telly and the schematic was printed on the back cover.

    1. Tessier-Ashpool

      Re: Next move

      Next iPhone to be an inch thick so that you can open it up and unfold the schematics ;-)

  17. Fruit and Nutcase Silver badge
    Coat

    Apple Cars

    If ever Apple end up going into their will-they-won't-they electric car biz, then expect age old standard things like tyres to be a special Apple design available only from Apple and fitted by their own Genius Mechanics.

    As for the charging connector in these vehicles - well, let's see, do they have any prior form with following industry practice when it comes to charging connectors?

    1. DS999 Silver badge

      Re: Apple Cars

      It won't be feasible for any company to have nonstandard electric car chargers in the future, at least not if they plan for their customers to ever use public charging stations.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Apple Cars

        "[...] at least not if they plan for their customers to ever use public charging stations."

        My Honda lawnmower dealer won't do some warranty repairs if you have used ordinary car petrol. To qualify you have to only ever use "Aspen" petrol - which they sell at GBP20 for a 5 litre (<1 UK gallon) container.

        1. A.P. Veening Silver badge

          Re: Apple Cars

          5 litre (<1 UK gallon)

          A UK gallon is 4.54609 litre.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Apple Cars

            Oops! That's what comes of doing an edit to put litres first and a UK gallon*** for a more general audience. I originally had "1 UK gallon" first - then remembered it is a 5 litre bottle.

            *** where 1 US gallon = 0.83 UK gallon

      2. Falmari Silver badge

        Re: Apple Cars

        @DS999 Let's hope that is the case. But is that the case now is there a standard electric car charger?

        I ask because from what I have seen in UK motorway service stations there are more than one type of charging station. I have seen Tesla and others each with their own bay.

        1. DS999 Silver badge

          Re: Apple Cars

          Tesla have their own standard because they were the first widely marketed electric car. They are going along with the standards in future models, because Tesla owners want to be able to charge in all public charging locations not just Tesla locations that are an ever smaller percentage of the total as more cars go electric.

          1. Falmari Silver badge

            Re: Apple Cars

            Cheers for reply DS999 :)

      3. Fruit and Nutcase Silver badge
        Joke

        Re: Apple Cars

        Unique Apple charging connector with rounded corners

    2. Roland6 Silver badge

      Re: Apple Cars

      >If ever Apple end up going into their will-they-won't-they electric car biz, then expect age old standard things like tyres to be a special Apple design available only from Apple and fitted by their own Genius Mechanics.

      Well, Neal Stephenson did 'forecast 'this back in 1999: In the Beginning... Was the Command Line ....

  18. Giles C Silver badge

    The new iPhone doesn’t come with a charger

    From the Apple website for iPhone 13

    In the Box

    iPhone with iOS 15

    USB-C to Lightning Cable

    Documentation

    No charger, so you have to supply one yourself.

    1. gnasher729 Silver badge

      Re: The new iPhone doesn’t come with a charger

      That’s the idea. Most people have an old iPhone charger (usb a) that they can just use, or some Samsung or other usb-c charger. Exactly what the eu want. I have a five port charger with usb-a and usb-c ports.

  19. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I love the sound of Apple crying in the morning .. it smells like ... common sense!

  20. Peter 39

    Charger, or port ??

    If EU mandates USB-C chargers - no issue.

    But there's no good reason why EU should mandate that all DEVICES should be USB-C. That's what cables are for.

  21. Mark Exclamation

    "Today's announcement also means that chargers would no longer be sold with gadgets and gizmos."

    I don't suppose the retail cost of the devices "sans charger" will be reduced by the retail cost of the charger that used to be included? Didn't think so.

    (I specify "retail cost" because the "actual cost" is around 20 cents per charger).

    1. StrangerHereMyself Bronze badge

      The idea is to have less electronic waste. Obviously, manufacturers will lower their prices as well, but this will come through competition, not mandate.

  22. Potemkine! Silver badge

    it "shares the European Commission's commitment to protecting the environment,"

    PR BS

    it remains "concerned that strict regulation mandating just one type of connector stifles innovation rather than encouraging it, which in turn will harm consumers in Europe and around the world

    More PR BS

    1. Dan 55 Silver badge
      Facepalm

      They use USB C on their desktops, their laptops, and their tablets but it suddenly stifles innovation on their phones, i.e. they're making it harder to connect their own damn devices together.

      Do they even know why they're opposing this other than it's an idea that's come from outside of the Cult of Apple?

      1. gnasher729 Silver badge

        They use usb-c chargers on all newer iPhones. Some people just don’t know the difference between charger and cable.

  23. coconuthead

    If the Apple charger lasts longer and is better, it's still less e-waste

    The irony here is that I've had problems with all sorts of chargers, but never the ones made by Apple. Big Clive, the well-known Youtuber who tears these things down looking for electrical safety problems, confirms Apple, and surprisingly IKEA, chargers as good quality. Some of the Chinese rubbish he takes apart is a shock or fire hazard. I've had no hesitation for years in recommending someone who needs a USB charger (for any device) that isn't rubbish to get Apple. This is on the basis that here in Australia there are Apple stores in many major malls, but usually only one IKEA per city, and my personal experience with the Apple ones.

    The Apple chargers I currently own have a USB A port on the power brick, so the cable can be replaced when it wears out. The Lightning cables are weak and I've had to replace a couple, when the chargers keep going. There's no question the cables are weak, but on the other hand they're not captive to the charger like some other brands.

    Oh, and here in Australia Apple have taken back their products as e-waste at the end of their life, no questions asked.

    I think the EU would be better off mandating minimum quality levels for chargers, and product labelling particularly for the Power Delivery feature on USB chargers. Canon, for example, have started releasing cameras that can charge or be powered by USB, but photographers have found that not all USB chargers work with them. One brand that does is Apple, because it correctly implements this PD standard.

    1. Piro Silver badge

      Re: If the Apple charger lasts longer and is better, it's still less e-waste

      Banning captive cables on USB chargers would be sensible, but I honestly don't think I own such a thing, they all have USB-A or USB-C ports on.

      1. ChrisC Silver badge

        Re: If the Apple charger lasts longer and is better, it's still less e-waste

        IIRC the last such charger I received with a phone was back in the heady days when mini USB was starting to take over from barrel plugs or custom multi-way connectors.

    2. Richard 12 Silver badge

      They already do. Have for decades

      The CE mark indicates that the manufacturer or importer warrants that it complies with the EU regulations, which includes safety and quality standards.

      Sadly rather a lot of terrible kit is imported, the likes of Ebay and Amazon don't care and the government organisations who are supposed to enforce it are more interested in fake handbags.

      1. DS999 Silver badge

        Re: They already do. Have for decades

        Unless someone dies in a fire they don't care if a company is putting the CE or UL marking on products that haven't been approved. Even then if the authorities force eBay/Amazon to drop them they'll just return a few weeks later under a new brand name.

        This is why if I have to buy any sort of product where this matters I'll pay a bit extra to at least get a brand name I've heard of before. I suppose that doesn't guarantee that e.g. Anker isn't relabeling cheap Chinese crap, but at least they have more to lose by relabeling dangerously cheap Chinese crap!

      2. A.P. Veening Silver badge

        Re: They already do. Have for decades

        CE aka China Export.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: If the Apple charger lasts longer and is better, it's still less e-waste

      Thank you for the IKEA recommendation for tear-down quality. The 3 port KOPPLA @ GBP6 is connectivity overkill. If it does the job of powering the kids' "rainbow" lights then it will give me safety peace of mind. Otherwise it will be batteries.

      My only reservation is that the tear-down suggests that the 5v short-circuit protection is 4A - and there will be two unused ports' exposed pins.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: If the Apple charger lasts longer and is better, it's still less e-waste

        Solved the unused ports dilemma by buying a key set of four security "blockers". Not cheap - but safety rarely is.

  24. codejunky Silver badge

    Shock

    "Nevertheless, the EU is prepared to plough on."

    To the surprise of nobody I am sure. What a stupid idea. How many improvements have been made to charging technology over how long? And the central planning power mad nutters want to hit pause. Thats one way to be left behind. I expect manufacturers will now make a greater push for wireless charging.

    1. ChrisC Silver badge

      Re: Shock

      How many improvements are we talking about in reality though? If we're just talking about the possible restrictions imposed by mandating a specific physical connector type, all the ones I can think of relating to mobile phones have been around how much power can be shovelled down the cable, and pretty much all of those were implemented within the confines of the micro USB spec - i.e. they didn't require a change in physical connector to be achievable.

      So given how capable the USB C connector is, and the improvements that are already in the pipeline, would it really be so stifling to any further developments in cable-borne charging if the EU merely pressed pause on what type of physical connector can be fitted to a device? Because mandating a single connector type for cable-borne charging is not the same as mandating a complete pause on all development relating to how that connector can be used for charging, nor does it mean pausing development on any non-cable-borne charging techniques...

      1. codejunky Silver badge

        Re: Shock

        @ChrisC

        "How many improvements are we talking about in reality though?"

        https://medium.com/@diamondlitty62/history-of-cell-phone-batteries-and-advances-in-technology-9303f6cddd69

        While that focuses on the battery the charging requirement has changed. Hell I even have a fast charger for my phone with a huge battery capacity that was not something I had with any of my first phones. Mobiles havnt been mass market products for long and tablets even shorter.

        "So given how capable the USB C connector is"

        USB started in 1996. I seem to recall that being very capable at the time. Forget mobiles people still wore pagers.

        "would it really be so stifling to any further developments in cable-borne charging if the EU merely pressed pause on what type of physical connector can be fitted to a device?"

        That is answered by the mere statement 'pressed pause'. It depends what happens with charging technology. It might make no difference so there is no need to pause, or it might leave the EU behind which would be bad to pause.

      2. DS999 Silver badge

        Re: Shock

        How many improvements would there be?

        Well mini/micro USB to USB-C, for one. If the EU had made this law when it was first discussed, the phone you buy today would have a mini-USB port and not USB-C. Sure, once USB-C had been around a few years there would have been people saying "the EU needs to update its law to standardize on a newer port" but there would also have been many people saying "the existing standard is good enough, it would be too disruptive to change now" and inaction would rule the day.

        I mean, do you really trust an organization that has been discussing this law FOR A DECADE to quickly react to changes in technology?

  25. pavel.petrman

    Re "a spokesperson for Apple told The Reg"

    I had to check my calendar. For a minute there I tought it's a subtle April Fools Day joke.

    1. msobkow Silver badge

      Re: Re "a spokesperson for Apple told The Reg"

      Close. Its "Apple Fool's Day". :D

      1. pavel.petrman

        Re: Re "a spokesperson for Apple told The Reg"

        Thank you for kindly pointing it out.

  26. Tessier-Ashpool

    "The UK Government is not currently considering replicating this requirement"

    Ha ha. Don't make me laugh. The UK government is now the tail being wagged by the much bigger EU. They will fall in line with whatever gets built for the EU market.

    1. heyrick Silver badge

      Re: "The UK Government is not currently considering replicating this requirement"

      You sure it's not the tail being wagged by the US these days?

      At any rate, it's a tail somebody else is wagging.

  27. DavyPaul
    Go

    about time.

    USB-C seems to have been rapidly adopted and is pretty much the de facto standard.

    Remember all the weird and wonderful charger/data cables we used to have to use before micro-usb?

  28. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    What about Phone Waste?

    The real waste is the fact that they have conned everyone (except me) into buying a new phone every year. No supoort on vaerage beyond about 3 years anyway and deliberate obsolescence and irrepairability.

    Why don't they tackle the important bits for a change?

  29. terrythetech
    FAIL

    So

    When will Apple be insisting that we have a non standard Apple designed mains socket to plug their chargers into.

  30. StrangerHereMyself Bronze badge

    Innovation

    I believe the innovation argument is moot. Thunderbolt is more or less identical to USB-C and in fact some variants have USB-C connectors.

    Thunderbolt is merely designed to give Apple more control (read: more profits) and nothing more. I agree with the EU that the enormous electronic waste produced by having different chargers overrides a manufacturer's right to stifle standardization.

    1. tip pc Silver badge

      Re: Innovation

      Thunderbolt is more or less identical to USB-C and in fact some variants have USB-C connectors.

      Usb3.1 does 10gb/s while tb3 does 40gb/s

      It’s a huge difference

      Tb3 uses usb-c as its connector interface so enables 1 port to do usb, or tb, or display port over thunderbolt.

      Thunderbolt was developed by Intel and apple.

      Usb4 is effectively TB3.

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/USB4

      You want thunderbolt but usb is cheaper and therefore more ubiquitous.

      My 5 year old Mac book pro is still relevant in terms of connectivity so I don’t need a new machine to get 40gb/s

  31. Lars Silver badge
    Thumb Up

    I have 4 working laptops all have a different charger, and in a box I have at least 25 and that includes cellphone chargers.

    Of course it's stupid and a waste, and it's not just the plug but all the different voltages too (that creates the demand for different size plugs).

    It's a jungle and each company would like to make some money on it as long as they can.

    Car manufacturers would create special size wheels too, more than they do, if given an opportunity

    So the big brothers have to stand up and regulate it, and the EU is big enough to be able to do it.

    And those who oppose it will pull the standard bullshit like - stifles innovation and harm consumers.

    And who knows perhaps some Marxism and what not.

  32. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    :)

    Shit, someone beat me to it., but it’s worth repeating, Fuck’em

  33. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    What a load of stuff and nonsense

    I have an array of what I believe are USB connectors of various types (I’m past caring knowing what they’re called - as long as they plug in, I don’t care). As with all technology there will be a new standard along soon, so any standardisation will be short lived. What are we supposed to do with all the “legacy” connectors? I’m not going to replace my printer, wifi hub, Blu-ray player, etc. just because they use an old flavour of USB.

    1. Lars Silver badge
      Happy

      Re: What a load of stuff and nonsense

      Nobody is going to confiscate your equipment and you will never run out of old flavour of USBs you won't even notice the possible change unless somebody tells you about it.

      Just calm down you are perfectly safe and that goes for all your stuff until they stop working, and so forth.

  34. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I bought a "rainbow" lamp recently. Comes with a container for three AA batteries - and at the end of the cable is an alternative of a USB-A plug. It needs 400ma from the USB connection. There are probably a lot of devices like that which are not rechargeable - but use the handy USB-A straightforward 5v power adaptors built for continuous use.

    Ebay is full of those simple adaptors - but I have been unable to find one guaranteed to be safe - even the more expensive "UK Stock". Currently using one off my superseded Abbott Flash Glucose monitor. My old Doro mobile one also has adequate rating. That appears to be a typical Chinese one - with a sticker authenticating it as supplied by Doro with the phone.

    Some of those adaptors claim to have chips that recognise the phone for differentiated charging. IIRC the EU standard will dictate a limited range of such options. Will there be another landfill for these "EU" adaptors when that standard proves inadequate later? The world is littered with the debris of "future proofed" standards.

  35. SuperGeek

    Apple...

    The borderline narcissist that does what it wants when it wants and gets highly emotional when challenged. :)

  36. Jamie Jones Silver badge
  37. JimmyPage

    China ?

    THe real question is if China agree with the EU. Then it's game over for Apple.

  38. jezza99

    Just think, if the EU had brought this in in 2009, when they started considering it, they would have specified an original USB connector, or maybe the round Nokia connector.

    In 10 year’s time I’m sure USB-C will look just as dated.

    For years now I’ve charged all my devices with a single Apple charger. I just swap cables if I need to charge a non Apple device.

    In short, this is a really bad idea which solves a non-problem.

  39. Jonjonz

    We have several Apple and Android devices, and it is clear the Apple charger cables are purposely designed to be as flimsy as possible and require regular replacement. Those connectors and cords are designed to be as small, inobtrusive and minimalist in keeping with Apples number one priority "brand style". The are not designed to be robust enough to stand up to normal human every day use, where no one has the time or inclination to treat them like precious delicate art objects.

    PS I will never buy another Apple device.

  40. msobkow Silver badge

    "But if we don't get to tell our users to 'Think Different', as in 'Proprietary', how are we to justify bilking them over twice as much for parts as other companies? How DARE you try to interfere with our revenue stream! The next thing you know, you're going to insist we pay *taxes*! Well, a POX on you!" *pouts*

    -- Apple

  41. Andrew1892

    Lightning is a more robust design

    I find Lightning connectors to be much more robust than USB-C and when you look at the design you can see why... USB-C is about the same size as Lightning, but has more pins/contacts and in my experience USB-C plugs are prone to problems when wiggled. I have often had to clean pocket lint out of my iPhones Lightning socket and not damaged it. I wouldn't want to have to do that to a (much more complicated and delicate) USB-C socket.

    I prefer Lightning and will be disappointed if Apple abandon it in favour of USB-C for iPhones. And not angry, bitter or ranty :)

  42. Naselus

    "In a statement, a spokesperson for Apple told The Reg"

    They really must be at panic stations if they've suspended the "we don't talk to titles who said something mean to us once 27 years ago" policy

  43. Dave559 Silver badge

    VGA

    A sensible move: USB-C is a robust connector that will likely be good enough for a decade, at least. Eventually, maybe it'll be necessary to squirt more power or data down it than the standards will eventually allow for, but in the meantime, a common sensible standard for all power connections is definitely a Good Thing.

    The next thing that it would be useful to turn our attention to is why on earth new monitors, generally with 1920×1080 or higher resolution, are still being shipped with effectively useless VGA cables in the box when this resolution is beyond the limit of what VGA connections can reliably output. Surely we can safely assume that everyone buying such monitors nowadays has a device with an HDMI (or DisplayPort) output, and if, for some weird reason, you are one of a surely tiny number who do still need to plug the monitor into something with only a VGA output, you should just buy a VGA cable separately. Manufacturing and supplying all these near useless cables by default is a very real waste of resources.

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