back to article USB-C iPhone, anyone? EU finalizes charging standard rule

After an initial agreement in June, the European Parliament today voted overwhelmingly to approve a USB-C charging standard that will force electronics manufacturers to ditch other ports, proprietary or otherwise.  With 602 votes in favor, 13 against, and eight abstentions, the EU made the final call to make USB-C the port of …

  1. Tom Chiverton 1

    Hurrah !

    1. Zolko Silver badge

      I personally think it's a very bed decision: I'd rather had some sort of magnetic port – like the MagSafe but USB-C sized – as standard connection. Such as this or this. Now we can't have that anymore. Or rather: many small companies will provide such connectors making them ... incompatible.

      1. that one in the corner Silver badge

        Just what is it you are griping about?

        Those cables you linked to - how on earth do you think they or any similer-but-different products, are incompatible with anything? Or that there is anything in the EU legislation that means you can't have such cables?

        The EU has said that devices need to be chargeable via a USB-C port. The leads you've pointed us at claim to plug into a USB-C port and do so via a magnetically held coupling, which is the extra twiddly bit you are after. Just so long as you can shove the required electrics up the other end of the cable (hard to tell from that JPEG), you are in business.

        Perfectly functional, perfectly compatible, perfectly allowed.

        Of course, if you still manage to break one of those cables and decide to replace it with one from another manufacturer, there is no guarantee that the magnetic couplings will be compatible, but you'll have a full set of parts in the new box to connect to USB-C. No problem there. Well, except you'll have a broken lead and its ancillary bits to dispose of properly, just as you would after ripping apart a less expensive lead.

  2. hammarbtyp

    Lint Magnet

    I have to say I really don't like USB-C for phones. This maybe a problem only men have, but the way the connector is designed it seems to be perfect for picking up lint from pockets to the point that the cable will not connect properly or becomes loose and no amount of cleaning will get it back right.

    This was not a problem with the old USB standard, nor the apple connector

    1. DS999 Silver badge

      Re: Lint Magnet

      I have found the Lightning connect to be a lint magnet. It takes a while, but after a year or so I notice sometimes my phone doesn't start charging right away and I need to reconnect. I've learned that means I need to take the business end of a safety pin into the Lightning connector, and remove what would seem to be an impossibly large amount of lint, then it is good for another year.

      I haven't kept anything with a USB-C connector in my pocket on a daily basis like I do my phone so I can't compare the amount of lint each attracts, though I can easily believe it is at least as bad based on USB-C's design with the little 'tongue' in the port.

      1. David 132 Silver badge
        Thumb Up

        Re: Lint Magnet

        Can't say I've noticed that, but a far bigger problem with Lightning is the arcing on connect/disconnect that slowly ablates the #4 gold-finger contact on the cable, as shown here.

        Since I became aware of the root cause, and started forcing myself to connect the Lightning end of the cable first and then the USB-A end of the cable second, thus preventing arcing, I've found my lightning cables last so much longer.

        As USB-C doesn't seem to have an analogous issue, the change can't come too soon for me.

        1. DS999 Silver badge

          Re: Lint Magnet

          I've never seen that, and I charge my phone by plugging into a connector that is always plugged in.

        2. Altrux

          Re: Lint Magnet

          Lightning by name and by nature, etc!

        3. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Lint Magnet

          Yep we munch through them like sweets - 6 months is a good age for a Lightning cable which doesn't travel, those which do have very much shorter lives.

          1. DS999 Silver badge

            Re: Lint Magnet

            I've never had a single failed Lightning cable, whether traveling with it or not.

            What the heck are you people doing with your cables that causes them to die so quickly? Do you have pets or small children chewing on them? Are you sure it is the cable failing, and not the Lightning port getting filled with lint?

            Because about a year into owning the first Lightning port iPhone I had a rash of "bad cables" until I figured out the problem was lint. When I fixed that, the "failed" cables in my bedroom garbage can (which fortunately I don't empty that often) were found to be working perfectly!

            1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

              Re: Lint Magnet

              I wonder if the difference is hardware and software? ie the hardware based people here are far more considerate of their kit because they understand how it works and why. To many software people, the hardware can be bit of a mystery :-)

              I'm in hardware and I've never, yet, broken a power or any other port. My wife, on the other hand.... :-)

    2. J. Cook Silver badge

      Re: Lint Magnet

      I got around the lint problem by putting my phones in cases with port covers on them, TBH. Seeing as I'm clumsy and tend to drop things, it solves multiple problems at the same time. :)

      1. Atomic Duetto

        Re: Lint Magnet (dance of the naked blue sprites)

        I filled mine with epoxy and simply use mag safe.

        To be extra careful I only use my airpod pro’s and (cellular) iwatch for calls/notifications

        Obviously I use the iPad Pro for everything else

        Don’t want to be accused of holding it wrong (again)

      2. hammarbtyp

        Re: Lint Magnet

        Yeah, I bought some port plugs, and that worked for a while, but they get lost or you forget. The cover idea sounds better, but I would prefer the connector to be better designed maybe with spring driven outside enclusure which means lint cannot get trapped

        1. J. Cook Silver badge

          Re: Lint Magnet

          Not to shill for them, but I use OtterBox Defender cases pretty much exclusively on my phones, and they've kept the devices in near pristine condition over their life. They may be bulky, but they'll survive a fall onto hard concrete with no damage to the device. (I've broken latches on the cases from impacts, though- such is the price to pay.)

    3. Screwed

      Re: Lint Magnet

      With both micro-USB and Lightning, I have had small pieces of paper find their way into phones' sockets. But no such problem with the one USB-C phone I temporarily had (a few months).

      Is it possible for the USB-C socket to incorporate some sort of silicone cover, or dummy plug, without breaking USB-C standards?

      And while the EU are at it, please force all carriers to support eSIMs at no extra charge. Not to force a change to eSIMs, just ensure that they cannot effectively be blocked by technology or cost/charge decisions made by the carriers.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Lint Magnet

        I think both physical SIMS and eSIMS should be mandated. A lot of people I know live and work across borders and data is still the final frontier for most phone companies to milk their users.

      2. DS999 Silver badge

        Re: Lint Magnet

        And while the EU are at it, please force all carriers to support eSIMs

        They won't need to, because if EU carriers want to be able to sell service to US iPhone 14 owners traveling in the EU they must support eSIM. And of course Apple will eventually go eSIM only in the EU, though whether that's next year or further out remains to be seen.

        By the time the EU could get through their long and drawn out process to look at this, probably all phones on the market will be eSIM only.

        1. Claverhouse Silver badge

          Re: Lint Magnet

          I'd never heard of eSims, but the Wikipedia page indicates the EU is aware of them:

          The European Commission selected the eUICC format for its in-vehicle emergency call service, known as eCall, in 2012.[21] All new car models in the EU must have one by 2018 to instantly connect the car to emergency services in case of an accident

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

          Also that the US version is more crippled deliberately,unsurprisingly:

          However, the implementation of the eSIM on the S21 and S20 in the US is different than the implementation in the rest of the world. The US version lacks the ability to specify different default SIMs for different functions - e.g., one SIM as the default for data and the other SIM as the default for voice. It requires that the same eSIM be the default SIM for data, voice, and SMS. The US version also forces a reboot each time the user switches eSIMs while the non-US models do not.

          1. DS999 Silver badge

            Re: Lint Magnet

            That probably doesn't have anything to do with a different eSIM in the US - it is a GSMA standard after all - and probably has to do with the different hardware in US and international versions of Samsung phones.

            Apple is using the same hardware everywhere, so it should be easy to check for differences. I've never seen anything mentioning a need to reboot the phone if you change eSIMs, but I haven't tried it (but probably will eventually as I plan to get a free 7 day trial on Verizon since I can have 2 eSIMs active at once and can directly compare coverage and network speeds at places I frequent)

            The issue with having different eSIMs for different functions sounds like a software limitation more than a hardware one. If Samsung is using different eSIM hardware (maybe something built into the chipset it uses) then it would have different drivers and different software capabilities exposed.

            People using a different SIM for calls and data may be more common in the EU, so it is something they had to support. Though once you're using VoLTE all calls are data so I'm not sure that type of distinction will even be POSSIBLE in the future. So it would make sense not to support such a distinction in the US where 2G/3G and non-VoLTE calls will be pretty much extinct by the end of this year.

      3. doublelayer Silver badge

        Re: Lint Magnet

        "Is it possible for the USB-C socket to incorporate some sort of silicone cover, or dummy plug, without breaking USB-C standards?"

        Yes, very easily. Neither of these would have any problem with the standard. Nor is there a problem with the magnetic connectors that remain in the port and connect to another cable, though I'd like to see a standard for those connectors as well because they provide a MagSafe-like connector, which I value in laptops.

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Lint Magnet

      No a problem for my Blackview as it has a little rubber cover for the hole.

      Just one of the many ways in which you "pay less - get more" with Chinese "shit"

  3. Snowy Silver badge
    Facepalm

    By the time it is standard

    Will it already have been replaced by something else? All they have done is set todays standard in stone.

    Apple having their own port standard just means the cable is different the bit that changes mains to device level voltage and current is broadly the same.

    1. Dan 55 Silver badge

      Re: By the time it is standard

      Not in stone:

      The application of the laws to new charging technologies should be regularly reviewed.

      USB-type C to become EU's common charger by end of 2024

      1. Snowy Silver badge
        Coat

        Re: By the time it is standard

        Yes but if something better come a long they will not be able to use it until the EU says they can.

        1. Dan 55 Silver badge

          Re: By the time it is standard

          I think the USB-C cable is going to be around for a while yet, it's survived 4 changes in protocol already.

          Another charging protocol is allowed as long as the device also understands USB PD.

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: By the time it is standard

          > Yes but if something better come a long they will not be able to use it until the EU says they can.

          If something better does come along we'll have the ludicrous situation of devices fitted with two charging ports - one for EU compliance and one for the newer, better features.

          1. Dan 55 Silver badge

            Re: By the time it is standard

            Um... USB PD has already been revised without changing the cable.

            I think we have the ludicrous situation of a commentard who can't tell the difference between medium and protocol.

            1. DS999 Silver badge

              Re: By the time it is standard

              So why did they go to USB-C, instead of making these protocol changes on USB-A, mini-USB, or micro-USB? USB-C obviously improved things beyond what changes in protocol would, do you think USB-C is the ultimate in innovation and a better physical connector is impossible?

              Because it is now, no one will bother trying to introduce one because it couldn't be used in the EU.

              Imagine a connector that is magnetically attached, so tripping over the cord won't bring your phone crashing down to the floor. While there are some situations where you may want a more firmly attached USB cord, a phone isn't one of them. But forget "USB-M" now, the EU has just made it illegal unless a phone has two charging ports and no one is going to increase cost when they know they can't get rid of the old USB-C port unless years go by and the EU decides to approve USB-M as the new standard and allow them to drop USB-C.

              1. doublelayer Silver badge

                Re: By the time it is standard

                They've got magnetic USB-C cables. You put a small metal part into the port, connect the cable with magnets, and the two can come apart more easily. It also puts less strain on the port. You don't need USB-M for that, and it allows you to choose whether you want magnetic or more firmly connected for each device. If you don't happen to have your magnetic cable, you can still remove the connector and use a standard cable, so you have the best of both worlds. The only downside thus far is that I'm unaware of a single standard for those magnetic connectors, though some of them do orient the pins the same way. If they want, the USB consortium could design that standard, and that would help.

            2. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: By the time it is standard

              > I think we have the ludicrous situation of a commentard who can't tell the difference between medium and protocol.

              And what if the "something better" were a physical change?

              I think we have the ludicrous situation of a commentard who thinks the current USB-C physical connector will remain forever.

      2. badflorist Bronze badge

        The EU fails in IT.

        What's the point of reviewing the laws? If the laws are changed regularly, what's the point of the standard?

        For a _CHARGING_ port, USB-C is a very big header with small leads. You can use 22AWG for the wire but, if the leads are tiny what's the point?

        The EU have mandated something for charging that is actually best for data transfer wherw charging is a 2nd class citizen... what happened to European rationality?

        I'd prefer mini coax as it could be made at least twice as small as a 3.5mm female and the data port could easily be used for other things while simultaneously charging.

        1. Dan 55 Silver badge

          Re: The EU fails in IT.

          So you want the Nokia charger port? Thst was fine in its day but wouldn't cover the variety of devices that this does.

          1. John Robson Silver badge

            Re: The EU fails in IT.

            Why not - there aren't many devices that couldn't have two ports, one for universal charging, any number of others for other things.

        2. unimaginative Bronze badge
          Coat

          Re: The EU fails in IT.

          "what happened to European rationality?"

          As Gandi said (when asked what he though of western civilization"), "that would be a good idea!

        3. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: The EU fails in IT.

          For a _CHARGING_ port, USB-C is a very big header with small leads. You can use 22AWG for the wire but, if the leads are tiny what's the point?

          The EU have mandated something for charging that is actually best for data transfer wherw charging is a 2nd class citizen... what happened to European rationality?

          The max power throughput of a USB-C cable lies in the region of 135W, and that's still a cable which also carries data. If you need more it's worth taking a look at, for instance, Lenovo whose docking station uses a USB C/pin connector dual cable for their more power hungry machines like the P17. Their Thunderbolt v4 dock is actually so clever that it splits the supply in a 135W supply via USB C (which means you can also connect something small like an L13 to it so it gets both power and data), and the remainder of what is a total max of 300W goes via the round pin.

        4. that one in the corner Silver badge

          Re: The EU fails in IT.

          The regs only cover devices pulling up to 100W.

          USB-C is already good for 130 plus Watts.

          So anything that needs more than USB-C can already provide is at liberty to use whatever connector and cable is appropriate; if they feel the need to use 5 AWG wire to handle the current at 24V then this EU reg won't stop them. Although I'd be wary of carrying in my pocket a phone that charged at around 1 kW.

      3. unimaginative Bronze badge
        Unhappy

        Re: By the time it is standard

        The problems are

        1. Its not necessarily the best charging technology for all the devices it covers. Is USB-C really a good way of charging bigger laptops, for example? The law will not initially cover laptops, but it will eventually.

        2. If you are not allowed to sell a device with a different charging connector, how can one gain traction? Manufacturers may try out new tech in other markets (most likely the US or China) and then ask the EU to allow them. Reduces the incentive though.

        Manufacturers have largely standardised on USB-C anyway. Except Apple - but Apple users are largely stuck in their ecosystem so will buy another Apple device anyway.

        Like a lot of tech legislation, well intentioned, but not thought through, with a large element of virtue signalling. It keeps happening, and not just in the EU: Cookie law, VATMOSS, Online Safety BIll, etc.

        I love the way the thumbnail for the video shows a pile of chargers, vs a single cable plug, when most people would largely need a new cable for a new device anyway.

        1. that one in the corner Silver badge

          Re: By the time it is standard

          As noted by more than one commentard here, USB-C is already capable of delivering 130 plus Watts, which is more than the up to 100 W covered by this legislation.

          If your bigger laptop, or even super gamer mouse with 500 LEDs and realistic gut-shot action electric shock, needs more than USB-C can happily provide it can use whatever connector is appropriate.

          Up to 100 W, what need do you see for there to be any new charging connector, if USB-C can do the job?

    2. John Robson Silver badge

      Re: By the time it is standard

      Possible - but for the devices in question it's unlikely.

      USB-c handles up to 240W power delivery, and 40GBps of data transfer.

      I think we'll be ok for a few years.

      The real issue is that noone is going to want to think about designing the next connector - for anything, not just for portable devices.

      1. DS999 Silver badge

        Re: By the time it is standard

        The real issue is that noone is going to want to think about designing the next connector - for anything, not just for portable devices

        Yes, everything now will be done via expansion of USB-C's capabilities, regardless of how unsuited it may be. No one will think about a magnetically attached connector, no one will think about fiber optic connectors, no one will think about adding capabilities that require more wires than USB-C has. Because why bother, when it can't be used on phones, laptops, or anything else that the EU law will eventually cover? It isn't worth it, so nothing new will even be developed because it won't be worth the investment.

        1. that one in the corner Silver badge

          Re: By the time it is standard

          Odd, all the laptops around here have more than one connector already. More than one type of connector, come to that. Don't quite see why you think the EU ruling is going to prevent having more than one connector per laptop.

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: By the time it is standard

          Umm, calm down.

          The EU mandate only covers power, and for a sensible reason. I can recall a time where even phones from the same manufacturer needed a new power supply with every model - Nokia, for instance, only started to settle for one single round pin standard later in life.

          There's absolutely nothing in the spec that mandates that a company ONLY has to use USB-C, and I'm glad for that - I like having a HDMI port on the machine for when I need to present at a place where they have as yet not implemented wireless capabilities (I can use to all standards, including Apple's).

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: By the time it is standard

      Apple having their own port standard just means the cable is different the bit that changes mains to device level voltage and current is broadly the same.

      It's rather amusing that everyone has a go at Apple for going a different route whereas they're actually at the root of the elements everyone now appreciates and enjoys in USB-C:

      1 - using a chip in a cable to ensure a cable can actually handle the current it is about to receive: when Apple started the whole iPhone idea, the market was using micro USB cables and there was no way to detect the cheap one-strand per cable' rubbish that was floating around but which would have melted with the 1..2A Apple wanted to use for charging. That same chip idea is now embedded in the USB C standard and prevents you from trying to send 135W through a cable that can only handle data.

      2 - symmetric insertion: that too was a feature introduced with the Lightning connector.

      Yes, it also provided a lock in, but can you blame Apple for not wanting to ratify something it could not test? Don't forget, people are very fast to blame Apple even if they're not at the root of a problem because that's easier than actually think or admit it was their own stupidity that caused the problem.

      Not that I'm 100% on Apple's side: the materials they used for power cables seems to degrade over time, and when it starts breaking it goes south very quickly. In this context I am glad Apple started to switch to USB-C: at least you can now just replace the cable with a new one instead of having to buy a new laptop/iPad supply and you can use pretty much any sufficiently rated PSU to charge either device (or even a lesser rated one, provided you keep an eye on your battery level because devices will get the remainder from there).

  4. katrinab Silver badge
    Gimp

    Not just iPhones

    Also affects AirPods, Beats products, keyboards, and those mice with the charge port in the most dumbest place imaginable. All of them use lightning.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Not just iPhones

      I use Macs a lot, but I have used an Apple mouse *once*. Now using Logitech MX Anywhere, *much* better.

      (and that charges via USB C :) ).

  5. Duncan Macdonald Silver badge
    Flame

    Blown electronics ?

    USB-C PD chargers can deliver a much higher voltage than the basic 5 volts that has existed from the start of USB. However if the charger has a fault then it is possible for it to deliver a killing voltage to any USB-C device that is only designed for 5 volts.

    If you need to get a USB-C PD charger to power a device that needs more than 10 watts DO NOT get a cheap generic unit - if the charger is used with a low power device and has a fault then the charger can easily burn out that device. Try to never connect a USB-C PD charger to any device that does not require it (eg most phones).

    Icon for what happens to a smartphone designed to charge at 5 volts when it is given 20 volts from a badly designed noname USB-C PD charger ====>

    1. Phil O'Sophical Silver badge

      Re: Blown electronics ?

      I have a Huawei USB-A charger that can deliver 9v to a phone that agrees via a handshake, this isn't a problem unique to USB-C

    2. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

      Re: Blown electronics ?

      It's not really all that different to the current problem of having a multitude of different chargers with different voltages, polarity and current ratings, at least some which will use the same size and shape of connectors and have barely legible details on a tiny label or, worse, moulded into the black plastic. At least with a standardised charging port, if the plug fits then barring a hardware failure, it will charge with less likelihood of the magic smoke escaping.

  6. Lis

    All Apple usb chargers have USB C outputs

    so what is the problem?

    1. DS999 Silver badge

      Re: All Apple usb chargers have USB C outputs

      They think there is e-waste from CABLES, and want Apple want to use the same cables as everyone else.

      1. Charlie Clark Silver badge

        Re: All Apple usb chargers have USB C outputs

        It's not really the waste but the "tax" on consumers required to by "certified" peripherals. Apple's ports don't exist because they're technically superior (though I do like MagSafe) but because manufacturers have to pay a fee to use them.

        1. DS999 Silver badge

          Re: All Apple usb chargers have USB C outputs

          What tax is that exactly? You can buy a bag of 3 MFi certified Lightning to USB-A or USB-C cables for $4. Maybe Apple makes a few cents per cable, OMG they must be rolling in the dough!

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: All Apple usb chargers have USB C outputs

            Well, they actually do, but not from certification fees :).

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: All Apple usb chargers have USB C outputs

          It's not really the waste but the "tax" on consumers required to by "certified" peripherals

          Apple certifies peripherals to ensure they can handle the current without melting down. The whole reason Apple started with the lightning connector was because there was no control possible on what micro USB cable the customer would use for charging, and at the almost 2A they charged with there was a fire hazard risk. I have had some micro USB cables myself that had maybe two strands of copper per cable - they'd melt.

          Ergo their idea of sticking a chip in the cable, and as they were designing anyway they added the symmetric plug - both ideas you now see back in the USB C spec.

      2. Handy Plough

        Re: All Apple usb chargers have USB C outputs

        Thus creating a mountain of e-waste, and not just cables...

        1. DS999 Silver badge

          Re: All Apple usb chargers have USB C outputs

          What e-waste is there besides cables? Did you even read the title of your post?

          When I buy an iPhone that has a USB-C port and trade in my old Lightning port iPhone all my Lightning cables become e-waste. So, ironically, the EU is creating a bunch of e-waste with this law.

    2. M-C_Cubed

      Re: All Apple usb chargers have USB C outputs

      That means I have to buy a new apple charger, not environmentally freindly.....

      I have many mains-to-usb chargers which is great now that phones don't come with them, but my new Apple work phone came with a usb-c to lightening cable so if I need to charge it away from my laptop I need to buy another charger.

      Fortunately my old cable works for now, the new one has joined my pile of unused cables waiting for periodical disposal.

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I look forward to the "UK only" versions

    now we've "taken back control" ...

    1. David 132 Silver badge
      Facepalm

      Re: I look forward to the "UK only" versions

      Yes, because "taking back control" == "we are now forced to do everything totally differently from the rest of the world, regardless of whether it makes political or economic sense".

      Obviously it couldn't mean "we now get to choose the best solution, independent of pressure from the EU".

      Grow up, get over it.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: I look forward to the "UK only" versions

        You haven't heard of the Tories?

        They are expert at not doing things just because the EU does. It's what gets them the gammon votes.

        1. Steve Button Silver badge

          Re: I look forward to the "UK only" versions

          What do you think the Evil Tories are going to do here, exactly? Invent a new standard which is not USB C and insist all british electronics use it? Clearly what Europe does here will be the standard for pretty much the rest of the world, but definitely the US and the UK. So the tories don't have to actually do anything, and we still win. So them being experts at "not doing anything" is just fine in this case.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: I look forward to the "UK only" versions

            Clearly not. The implication would be that they'd simply not follow the EU law.

            But anyway, I wasn't talking about USB-C specifically, just replying to the general point that the tories are on record saying they want to distance themselves from as many eu laws as possible.

            UK leadership candidate Truss pledges to ditch all EU laws by 2023

            1. darklord

              Re: I look forward to the "UK only" versions

              So so far all that has happened is the UK has taken the EU laws and renamed them UK.

              That's hardly distancing ourselves from the EU. it just means the EU can not enforce us to follow there laws, which we do any way.

              1. Anonymous Coward
                Anonymous Coward

                Re: I look forward to the "UK only" versions

                They had to adopt EU laws into UK laws. There was no other practical option.

                But as I said, Truss wants to remove them all anyway.

                Perhaps you missed the link? Here's another one:

                Liz Truss’s plans to urgently “revoke or reform” all EU law that still has effect in the UK after Brexit are risking a potential bonfire of workers’ rights, labour unions and the Scottish government have warned.

                And another:

                https://www.theguardian.com/global-development/2022/sep/06/truss-risks-fresh-row-eu-workers-rights

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: I look forward to the "UK only" versions

        Pah!

        Now we can make the buggers fit proper 13amp plugs to these damn telephone things.

        1. LybsterRoy Silver badge

          Re: I look forward to the "UK only" versions

          --Now we can make the buggers fit proper 13amp plugs to these damn telephone things.--

          And can we have the cables coming out of the bottom not the top please. I have power supplies and powerline adapters where the cable exits the top of the plug on a standard 3 pin UK plug. I never have understood why.

          1. Fred Dibnah

            Re: I look forward to the "UK only" versions

            In hotel rooms the 13A socket at the desk is often barely above the desk height, so that a power plug with the cable exit on the bottom can’t be used.

        2. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

          Re: I look forward to the "UK only" versions

          "Now we can make the buggers fit proper 13amp plugs to these damn telephone things."

          And proper junction boxes on the wall so the four wires from the phone can be screwed into the spade connectors for a proper signal connection. No more of this "I'm in a poor signal area, I've only got one bar" malarky.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: I look forward to the "UK only" versions

            > No more of this "I'm in a poor signal area, I've only got one bar" malarky.

            It's not a poor signal area, you're just holding it wrong.

            If your stick you left foot in a earthed bucket of sea water whilst touching the live connector with your right hand you'll find you get perfectly good reception.

    2. mmonroe

      Re: I look forward to the "UK only" versions

      I hear the UK govt is going to insist all mbile devices are fitted with an IEC C14 socket, to enable enable a kettle lead (C13) to be used.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: I look forward to the "UK only" versions

        Pedant warning

        Kettles normally use (used to use, 3kW kettle now seem to use the round central base arrangement) C15 & C16 and you can't plug a C13 plug into a typical kettle as there's a lug in the way.

        See I said I was being a pedant.

        BTW, the power draw of next gen phones is likely to require C21 & C22

  8. IGnatius T Foobar !

    oblig

    "But they make the best adapters."

  9. Altrux

    Finally

    Good move - Lightning was getting rather old and cranky anyway, and USB-C (esp on the USB4 standard) is hugely superior in capability. Now, can we standardise video connectors please? Half my life at work seems to involve users trying to find random weird cables to cope with everything from VGA to DVI, HDMI (micro, mini, standard), mini DP, standard DP, and DP over Thunderbolt...

    1. Piro Silver badge

      Re: Finally

      They did, it'll be USB-C as well, using the DisplayPort protocol. Pretty much all laptops these days do that...

    2. Totally not a Cylon Silver badge
      Boffin

      Re: Finally

      Ha, have a look at the old standards... as in 'this is IT we have standards, so many that you can pick the one you like'.

      We even had at least 2 different ways of wiring a 25-pin D-type serial connector depending on what it was on....... and then also used the exact same connector for parallel connections, usually but not always to printers.......

      Apple could go mag-safe (the connector with terminals in not the wireless one) which is superior to USB for charging; it just doesn't carry any data........

      1. 42656e4d203239 Silver badge

        Re: Finally

        >>We even had at least 2 different ways of wiring a 25-pin D-type serial connector

        Right there is a problem... the 25 pin D connector is in no way just a serial connector. It is a 25 pin D connector, ready to be used for whatever the equiment requires.

        Just because it walks like a duck & talks like a duck don't be so hasty to make assumptions!

        1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

          Re: Finally

          It might walk like a duck, but until you investigate further, you have no idea if talks like a duck or how fast :-)

      2. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

        Re: Finally

        "We even had at least 2 different ways of wiring a 25-pin D-type serial connector depending on what it was on"

        Which end? DCE or DTE? Or is it for DTE-->DTE? Hardware or software hand-shaking? Is one end a 9-pin D? Or an RJ-45? (Thanks Epson till printers!!), Or a round DIN plug (Thanks Tandy printers!!)? Do we need loop-back links across sone/any of the hardware handshaking to fool the device into software handshaking mode to match the other end? Is that 25 pin D connector on the device even a serial port? It might be a parallel printer port (Yeah, I've seen computers where the male/serial, female/parallel was the other way round to most others. On the other hand, that 25-pin D might be a SCSI port, eg ZIP drives and scanners.

        1. that one in the corner Silver badge

          Re: Finally

          Ah memories - working out just which combination of adapter plugs and gender-benders would connect two devices together (not forgetting a 25-way patch panel adapter in the middle) and then trying to get the resulting solid 18 inch (maybe boasting a bit here) long block to stay in the back of the box without tearing the socket out with the weight.

          Oh, and every single one of the adapters had those screw fasteners on *both* sides; only the cabinet end was actually screwed into binding posts, so anyone walking past can knock the stack and the pieces fall apart. Did the null-modem have to go here or was it after that patch panel, yes, the one that now has all the leads on one end flapping about?

          But at least you could try sticking LEDs across the patch panel and see if any flickered as someone continually tapped on the carriage-return key.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Finally

      On the subject of Display Port can we have a standard that says that you should be able to plug a display port monitor into a display port PC and actually have the damn things work please.

      I've got various systems that are really fussy about which monitor they work with and when it comes to DP to HDMI converters that's a total minefield. Will it work at all? What screen resolution will you get? Will it be intermittent will it be stable for 1 minute, then blank out for a few seconds and then work again OK.

      Sometimes you need to rely on a converter when the bloody DP ports on the PC and monitor won't talk to each other.

      1. 42656e4d203239 Silver badge

        Re: Finally

        >>On the subject of Display Port can we have a standard that says that you should be able to plug a display port monitor into a display port PC and actually have the damn things work please.

        This is why there are so many monitors are still using VGA pc->monitor leads here at work.... There is no way of telling what will or won't work with DP. At least using a VGA lead for one screen means you have one screen that always works.

        The system documentation doesn't say what DP standard each PC is equiped with and, as you say, persuading DP to DP to work is almost as hard as DP to anything else.

  10. casinowilhelm

    What about laptops with chunky GPUs and CPUs that need more power than USB C can supply?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Joke

      > What about laptops with chunky GPUs and CPUs that need more power than USB C can supply?

      These will have to be fitted out with TWO charging ports and you connect two power supplies simultaneously.

      (Only half joking - it's the kind of solution the EU would insist on.)

      1. Anonymous Coward Silver badge
        Joke

        But conveniently someone in China will invent a splitter so you can use one power supply to connect to both charging ports.

        To sell that in the EEC though, it will require a USB-C input, maybe two of them.

    2. F. Frederick Skitty Silver badge

      That's why they specify this for devices drawing 100W or less - a power hungry laptop that draws more than that is allowed to use another connector.

    3. doublelayer Silver badge

      Laptops aren't on the list yet, they specified a threshold of 100 W above which devices can use a different connector, and changes to the USB-C specification now allow it to carry 240 W, which is usually enough even for those laptops. For three independent reasons, this is not a problem for such machines.

  11. Old Used Programmer

    One wonders...

    Does this new standard apply to Raspberry Pis? While the Pi4B and Pi-400 do use USB-C, other Pis already in production (at least when they can get the parts...) use micro-B. And, of course, there is nothing to "charge" on a Pi, so this spec may not apply to any Pi.

    1. AVee

      Re: One wonders...

      As far as I can tell it is not. It is about chargers, so this it only ever applies to battery powered (mobile) devices. So it's not relevant to a Pi (or a router, printer, television, lawn mower, christmas lights, etc). Secondly, it's part of the Radio Equipment Directive which which limits it to device transmitting radio signals, so that excludes things like flashlights, (infrared) TV remotes, etc.

      1. milliemoo83

        Re: One wonders...

        I'm sure the Pis with ethernet can run off powered ethernet if the switch supports it?

        1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

          Re: One wonders...

          Not without buying an add-on.

  12. kevin king

    Yet they can't seem to standardise a Mains Plug all over Europe.... Don't get me started on Denmark, Italy, Cyprus and French versions add in the

    Swiss and UK amount to 6 different mains plug sockets.

    1. 42656e4d203239 Silver badge
      Happy

      Ouch - who left that plug there?

      As far as mains plugs are concerned they should all standardise on the, obviously superior, UK standard.

      1. Mishak Silver badge

        Re: Ouch - who left that plug there?

        The UK one has it's advantages*, but the Swiss is the best in terms of density - you can get three (with an earth pin) in the same footprint as a single UK outlet.

        * With the main disadvantage being it likes to lie on its back (pins up) waiting to be trodden on in the dark.

        1. David Hicklin Bronze badge

          Re: Ouch - who left that plug there?

          With the main disadvantage being it likes to lie on its back (pins up) waiting to be trodden on in the dark.

          That's a design feature, how else do you find that dropped lamp lead in the dark ?

          1. Ian Mason

            Re: Ouch - who left that plug there?

            With the main disadvantage being it likes to lie on its back (pins up) waiting to be trodden on in the dark.

            That's to catch Frenchmen trying to sneak into your house.

      2. Dagg

        Re: Ouch - who left that plug there?

        nah, the Type I as used in Australia and New Zealand is much better..

        Much lighter and smaller with same voltage and current and no need for a built in fuse.

        And best of all hardly ever sits pins up as the cable normally exits on the back.

    2. Dan 55 Silver badge

      There are Schuko plugs and Europlug (for when the appliance draws < 2.5W and is double insulated). Those work with all sockets practically everywhere apart from Italy but even then Italian sockets are compatible with Europlug and the Italian plug and newer Italian universal sockets are compatible with all three.

    3. Claverhouse Silver badge

      Perhaps the reason they are not interested in having a Standard European Mains Plug is that it would be expensive to replace all the plugs now in use.

  13. david 12 Silver badge

    "and any other device charged with a cable"

    I predict increased interest in wireless chargers.

    1. ICL1900-G3 Bronze badge

      Re: "and any other device charged with a cable"

      So good for the planet... Not.

    2. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

      Re: "and any other device charged with a cable"

      "I predict increased interest in wireless chargers."

      Which standard?

  14. FU

    I have mixed feelings, in general I like anything that screws over Apple, but they do have a point that it stifles integration. To say otherwise would be to say there could never be a connection better than USB-C. If this ruling has happened 10 years ago we would still have to try 4 times to make sure it was plugged in the right way.

    1. Charlie Clark Silver badge

      We did have a similar law about 10 years ago that mandated micro-USB. It did what it was supposed to do and accelerate industry standardisation on USB for power and data for mobile phones.

      USB-C is mechanically robust and reasonably forward proofed but the law does make provision for changes in the future should something better, say USB-D, come along. Though I suspect by then much charging will be wireless.

      What I would personally like to see is more USB ports in domestic power sockets as, if these are connected to battery storage, we can do without a lot of 240 V AC to 5 V transformers.

      1. Anonymous Coward Silver badge
        Meh

        > What I would personally like to see is more USB ports in domestic power sockets as, if these are connected to battery storage, we can do without a lot of 240 V AC to 5 V transformers.

        What do you think those USB ports are connected to then? Hint: the 'transformer' (switch mode) is built into the socket housing.

        No, you can't have infrastructure wiring at 5V because the losses would be too high.

        I agree with the premise, just not the reasoning. Having USB ports everywhere for low power devices and normal mains sockets for high power ones makes perfect sense to me.

        1. Charlie Clark Silver badge

          If you already have battery storage, then you already have DC, and stepping down to a single line introduces far lower losses than a heap of individual transformers does. I already have extension cables with multiple USB ports.

      2. DS999 Silver badge

        the law does make provision for changes in the future should something better

        No one will invest in developing anything better, because it would take years for the EU to approve it - and there would be no guarantee they would ever do so. Meanwhile if you wanted phones to adopt it they'd have to add it as a second port, and no one is going to do that. You might be able to get it on laptops since they have more than one port, but in reality what you will see is everything shoehorned into USB-C whether it makes sense or not.

        Forget any new type of connector that is magnetically attached or fiber optic, or even has more wires to provide additional capability, because no company will fund development of something that would have to rely on EU bureaucracy doing the right thing to become a success.

        Mark my words, the EU USB-C mandate will still be in place when you and I are both dead.

    2. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

      "To say otherwise would be to say there could never be a connection better than USB-C."

      For a connector capable of dealing with 100W, maybe up to 240W in some combinations, just how much smaller or different might be theoretically possible? Does physics allow for much smaller at these power rating? I find it pretty amazing as it is that the USB-C plugs and cables don't melt!!!

      1. Dagg

        USB-C plugs and cables don't melt!!!

        Ohms law watts = volts x amps. On a thin cable if you use a higher voltage with the same current you get a higher wattage.

        1. John PM Chappell

          No, it doesn't. Ohm's law states that current between two points is proportional to the potential difference between them. (V = IR).

          What you're talking about is the power equation, where the terms are voltage, current and power (not 'volts' 'amps' & 'watts', which are units for measuring those); P (sometimes W) = IV.

          On a thin conductor, your concern is heat from resistance to the current, since it will reach a higher temperature from the same amount of energy; it will melt sooner than a thicker conductor carrying the same current. 240 Watts is not inconsiderable, and it is impressive to me, also, that USB-C will support it.

          To directly address your assertion, for a given voltage, you can only control the current by controlling the resistance: if you increase the voltage, you need a higher resistance for the same current, and the higher resistance means more heat. You cannot really change the resistance of a conductor, you can change input voltage, and that will proportinally affect current (I.E. Higher voltage gives higher current). In short, No.

          1. richardcox13

            It is seems to be almost universally missed when USB-PD discussions come up that the engineers who put together the specifications might have thought about these things.

            Eg. USB-PD does not use 5V for power (beyond the lowest powers). In the latest spec it can be up to 48V.

            Of course no-name cheap cables might not be built to spec, but that is not a USB specification problem, that is a problem with people who just get the cheapest and then moan about quality.

  15. CrackedNoggin

    I've got a box of bad cables prior to USB-C - seems like 7 out of 10 degraded very quickly. I guess I do feel sorry for Apple that they were producing less waste through superior design, but now they don't get any points for that. Maybe they should have made Lightning a public interface.

    1. DS999 Silver badge

      There was some talk about Apple considering submitting it to the USB forum for standardization, but that didn't happen - whether due to Apple wanting to keep control over it or USB forum's NIH who knows.

      The thing I wish USB-C had adopted is having a port that can't be broken. The 'tongue' in the USB-C port is something that can break and render the port non functional. That's impossible with a Lightning port, the thing that breaks is on the end of the cable. Much easier to replace a cable than a port.

      1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

        100% agree with that last point. As I said in another post on another topic, the number of people who lift up laptops one handed, and always seem to manage to pick them up from the side opposite the power lead, thus bending the plug in the socket, is astounding. Invariably that's classed as user damage and not covered by the warranty.

        (Lets not even go down the rabbit hole of people who lift the laptop up by the screen and at some stage will leave "fingerprints" in the LCD panel.)

  16. David Lawton

    Another EU bad idea

    I really hope Apple finds some way to stick it to the EU and yet another ludicrous law. Maybe just get rid of the charging port?

    1. Totally not a Cylon Silver badge

      Re: Another EU bad idea

      Well, the new AirPods can be charged via the watch wireless charger and the new iPad is supposed to have the large circular magsafe charger from the iPhone.....

      And MacBook seems to be going to have both inline magsafe and USB C charging.....

    2. GruntyMcPugh Silver badge

      Re: Another EU bad idea

      We're in the middle of an energy crisis, and you're advocating less efficient wireless charging? Also, Apple saw increased market share in Europe recently, I doubt they are contemplating 'sticking it to the EU', but rather more looking forward to increased sales and profits.

    3. DS999 Silver badge

      Re: Another EU bad idea

      They might do that. I imagine they are considering their options, and if the law for end of 2024 is for devices introduced to the market after that time they wouldn't have to make the final call until the iPhone 17 that goes on the market in Sept 2025.

      Regardless of the timing I imagine they are considering both alternatives. Wireless charging may be less efficient, but with Apple's magnet based charger that lines it up exactly the losses are minimal. They have already moved away from almost all uses of Lightning for carrying data - while you CAN use it to deliver data everything it does for delivering data can be done wirelessly so nothing would be lost if they dropped it entirely and went for wireless charging.

      1. that one in the corner Silver badge

        Re: Another EU bad idea

        > so nothing would be lost if they dropped it entirely and went for wireless charging

        except for the power lost due to inefficient wireless charging.

        1. DS999 Silver badge

          Re: Another EU bad idea

          The power loss when using Apple's magnetic Qi connector is very minimal since it is lined up perfectly and the distance the power has to travel is much less than the typical "pad" type wireless charger.

          1. Dagg
            FAIL

            Re: Another EU bad idea

            Apple's magnetic Qi connector

            But you do realise that apple will change it for the next phone release and force you to buy the latest shiny shiny version...

  17. Chris Evans

    Limited period?

    If they made it mandatory for a limited period then at the end of the period anything new would mostly[1] have to have significant enough advantages to be acceptable in the market place.

    [1] Unfortunately Apple doesn't follow the normal rules and would do its own thing.

  18. TeeCee Gold badge
    Facepalm

    Laptops will be required to use USB-C beginning in 2026.

    By which time USB-C will almost certainly be obsolescent.

    Never, ever in million years allow politicians to legislate on tech. By definition, anything they mandate is always going to be at least five years old and heading for the bin.

    This is one of those dumb laws designed to pander to the twatocracy, which is bound to become a right, royal shitshow at some point in the future.

    1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

      "This is one of those dumb laws designed to pander to the twatocracy, which is bound to become a right, royal shitshow at some point in the future."

      Is that what happened when micro-USB was mandated for phones? As with the micro-USB legislations, this one is also designed to adapt to future technology changes in that this one supercedes the last one.

      1. conel

        Micro-usb was never mandated.

        But do imagine the situation now if the EU had succeeded in doing so.

        1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

          OK, so not legislated, but mandated. Not quite the same thing. But when you have the EU telling manufactures to standardise something with the obvious threat of enforcing it if they don't do it voluntarily, then that as good as legally binding as makes no difference.

          https://www.engadget.com/2010-12-29-european-standardization-bodies-formalize-micro-usb-cellphone-ch.html

  19. nijam Silver badge

    > ... as well as – somehow – bad for innovation.

    They mean "bad for lock-in."

    Apple has always loved their proprietary stuff, and their loyal congregations always assumed that that proved that the proprietary stuff was better because it was what Apple chose, and that Apple were better because the used the (better) proprietary stuff.

  20. conel

    Shortsighted

    Imagine if the EU had succeeded in mandating micro usb a decade ago. We'd be stuck waiting on the politicians to allow progress/ innovation. For people claiming there is no more innovation to be made, who saw laptops/ phones using the same charging connector 10/ 15 years ago?

    There is no environmental savings here either, this does effect the charger but the phone. Apple are already shipping ithings with usb-c to lightning connectors and all the mandate will do is cause people to throw out their existing lightning cables.

  21. that one in the corner Silver badge

    Who is so boring they throw away "unused" cables?

    Aside from the obvious, for a techie crowd (cut the ends off and use for wiring elsewhere - for PCB work there are some really fine wires in the cheap leads):

    - some are just the right size for LEGO figs to grip, Indibrick Jones style

    - posh braided cables have been made into bracelets (purple works well)

    - thin leads can be braided and used as handles for shopping bags woven from old plastics

    If imagination runs out, just use one to tie the rest in a tidy bundle until a wild idea strikes.

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