back to article Apple exec confirms iPhones will switch to USB-C because 'we have no choice'

Apple exec Greg "Joz" Joswiak has confirmed that the company will follow the European Union's requirement for mobile devices to use USB-C by 2024, which was signed into law on Monday. For now, the iPhone uses Apple's proprietary connector, Lightning. Although Apple is on the USB Implementers Forum, it began using Lightning …

  1. Pascal Monett Silver badge
    Thumb Up

    "the company will follow the [EU]'s requirement for mobile devices to use USB-C by 2024"

    Of course they will.

    If they want to continue making money in the EU.

    Sometimes, corporate behemoths don't have the last word.

    I like that.

    1. Charlie Clark Silver badge

      Re: "the company will follow the [EU]'s requirement for mobile devices to use USB-C by 2024"

      Seems to me they're milking the PR opportunity. After all, if USB-C is good enough for Macs, why isn't it good enough for phones? Finiancially it probably makes little difference to them now to switch because the money saved on cheaper BOM and standardisation will more than cover what they make in the dwindling peripherals market now that so much stuff is done wirelessly.

      1. Roland6 Silver badge

        Re: "the company will follow the [EU]'s requirement for mobile devices to use USB-C by 2024"

        USB-C is also good enough for iPads...

    2. Phil Kingston

      Re: "the company will follow the [EU]'s requirement for mobile devices to use USB-C by 2024"

      They'll make a lot more money by selling lightning-powered wireless chargers and portless phones

    3. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

      Re: "the company will follow the [EU]'s requirement for mobile devices to use USB-C by 2024"

      "Sometimes, corporate behemoths don't have the last word."

      I think that's actually the biggest part of the story. Apple being ordered to comply rather than them choosing to comply in their own special and often non-standard way. It would have been just as easy for them, once they saw the writing on the wall, to comply as soon as practicable and praise the new rules for standardising things for consumers. But no, not Apple. They have to sulk and then begrudgingly announce they "have no choice" LOL It makes them seem like petulant children.

      1. Strahd Ivarius Silver badge
        Trollface

        Re: "the company will follow the [EU]'s requirement for mobile devices to use USB-C by 2024"

        Apple is not "ordered" to comply, they are just "encouraged" to do it or lose the EU market.

        It is their choice, as for anyone presented with 2 unpalatable alternatives...

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    But what about Brexit ?

    Surely Apple will take advantage of the UKs freedom to ignore EU rules ?

    No ?

    1. NewModelArmy

      Re: But what about Brexit ?

      On Politics Live today, the Tory Brexiteer was making all manner of claims that we can now rip up all the laws from the EU and make our own, and trade with other nations.

      The perpetual ignorance or flaw by the Tories and Brexiteers, is that if you want to sell into the market, you have to comply with their standards and rules. To keep costs down, then creating a single product for all markets is much cheaper than a fragmented approach where you have to create a different product for each market.

      In the end, you still have to comply with the EU rules if you want to deal with the EU. The Brexiteers false victories are quite tiresome.

      1. Cederic Silver badge

        Re: But what about Brexit ?

        In the end, you still have to comply with the US rules if you want to deal with the US.

        In the end, you still have to comply with the CPTPP rules if you want to deal with the CPTPP members.

        In the end, you still have to comply with the Indian rules if you want to deal with India.

        The UK already has to comply with a myriad of rules if we want to trade, and do, and will continue to. Quite why some people think the EU is somehow special is quite beyond me.

        None of which incidentally requires us to allow EU law to be the law of the UK. That is what's wrong, and that is what's being changed. UK laws set by the UK, as it should be.

        1. 43300 Bronze badge

          Re: But what about Brexit ?

          Not sure what your point is? Yes, of course you have to comply with their rules if you want to seel into trading blocks, and the approach normally taken is to just to take all the trading blocks, find the most restrictive rules and comply with them, then you are covered and can sell one design into all of them.

          And the most restrictive is frequently the EU. So in practice, if British companies want to sell into the EU (as many do) they need to comply. And coming the other way, making UK rules less restrictive (if that happens) will have no impact on global devices like the iPhone as there would be no logic in creating a specific model for the UK, so they'll just sell the model which complies with EU rules.

          Whatever your views on Brexit (I voted remain, but am now largely ambivalent - I have absolutely no remaining respect for the EU, or the UK government, after the past few years) it cannot be denied that these fantasies of British companies 'doing their own thing' were always bollocks and never a realistic option in a global market.

          1. Dr Paul Taylor

            Re: But what about Brexit ?

            if British companies want to sell into the EU

            then they have to move their HQ into the EU, because otherwise Brexit has made it effectively impossible.

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: But what about Brexit ?

              To be fair that is mostly SMEs especially those in the food and drink sector. And also: the UK government couldn't give two-shits about them. "Fuck Business."

        2. MrDamage Silver badge

          Re: But what about Brexit ?

          You've heard of the UNHCR, right? According to you, you're going to throw out all of those pesky internationally agreed to human rights, because they weren't UK laws.

          How about you FULLY think through your talking points for hypocritical bollocks before opening your ignorant trap?

          1. Cederic Silver badge

            Re: But what about Brexit ?

            We were discussing trade rules and EU laws. The UN High Commission for Refugees is not an EU body. UK human right predate the EU, and indeed were a formative input to the ECHR, the European Convention on Human Rights, which itself predates the EU.

            The UK has always and continues to lead the world in human rights. It would be ignorant to claim otherwise.

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: But what about Brexit ?

              But your Home Secretary has championed exiting the ECHR? How is that leading the world on human rights?

              Apparently she has a dream, to see photos of asylum seekers being deported to Africa without due process, which the ECHR interferes with.

              1. Cederic Silver badge

                Re: But what about Brexit ?

                Maybe because there is no breach in human rights in sending someone to a safe country that will provide them security and accommodation, and the ECHR are making bad judgements that don't factor in the basic human rights of British people to be safe and secure in their own country.

                Meanwhile 12000 Albanian men illegally crossed the channel this year. Don't pretend to me that they've all had to flee persecution in France because I do not believe that.

                1. Anonymous Coward
                  Anonymous Coward

                  Re: But what about Brexit ?

                  You never went to Rwanda nor France, did you?

              2. Anonymous Coward
                Anonymous Coward

                Re: But what about Brexit ?

                But your Home Secretary has championed exiting the ECHR

                You are confusing the European Convention on Human Rights, of which the UK was a founder member and has no intention of leaving, and the European Court of Human Rights, which the UK believes should not be able to overule the UK supreme court.

                1. Alan Brown Silver badge

                  Re: But what about Brexit ?

                  The idea of that Court was essentially created by Britain with other countries coming onboard later to make it happen and the single largest mover & shaker in getting it implemeneted was the grandfather of Alexander "Boris" Johnson

                  It's acted as a last resort in terms of preventing ideologically extreme laws from remaining on the books (or getting there in the first place) and removing it is eerily like steps taken by a certain other Western European country in the 1930s under a right wing populist government

                2. K

                  Re: But what about Brexit ?

                  "which the UK believes should not be able to overule the UK supreme court."

                  Yep, as we're all seeing the shit-show that is the US Supreme Court, now full right-wing religious zealots, who are putting the country back 100 years - acting as puppets for a right-wing sociopath, who admires the leaders Russia, North Korea and China, as they are "strong".

                  Cause that is such a great place to be.. I used to have a lot of respect for UK courts, but part of that, what their was always recourse... now, they're open to political manipulation.

        3. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: But what about Brexit ?

          The main difference is that the UK used to have some input into the making of EU rules. Now they don't.

          1. Alan Brown Silver badge

            Re: But what about Brexit ?

            More importantly, EU rules aren't set into place without unanimous agreement - meaning that if Britain actually objected to any of them, they wouldn't have BECOME rules

            In fact Britain was behind many of the locally unpopular rules it subsequently "blamed the EU" for - it's a convenient way of passing the blame for your own distasteful actions by obscuring the origin

            Not that it matters, Britain is now out and the EU is unlikely to let it back in for at least another 50 years even if there's a change in government tune tomorrow. Britain is finding out it's a very small fish swimming alone in shark-infested waters and "the old allies/colonies" have zero interest in bailing it out this time (they still have memories of abuse under the Ottawa agreement and being left in the lurch in 1973)

        4. Charlie Clark Silver badge
          FAIL

          Re: But what about Brexit ?

          We note how you leave laws being set by parliament out as current legislation effectively allows laws to be set by ministerial whim. So, "taking back control by the elites" seems to be fully on track.

          In practice, a lot of the ideas are more than just bollocks, they will have tangible effects on people and business by removing legislation without replacing it with something equivalent.

          1. Cederic Silver badge

            Re: But what about Brexit ?

            I thoroughly and entirely support your desire to challenge Parliament on the laws it's passing.

            Thanks to Brexit you're now allowed to.

            As was stated in Parliament on Tuesday, "The laws with which we are dealing came in under section 2(2) of the European Communities Act. Either they came in with minimum scrutiny but could not be amended or changed, or they came in with no scrutiny at all."

            Please, scrutinise the laws. I welcome this. The EU did not.

            1. NewModelArmy

              Re: But what about Brexit ?

              Are you aware that the UK sent UK people to the EU parliament in the form of MEP's that British people elected ?

              In essence, we the UK people directly elected the UK MEP's who helped create the EU laws we accepted.

              Are you aware that the UK negotiated many opt out clauses in the EU laws ?

              In essence, the UK got what it wanted and was never really forced to accept laws it did not want, as it could have vetoed the laws.

              The entire Brexit argument that we have somehow taken back sovereignty is false. A lie. We never lost it. We always had the final say to refuse any law from the EU, it is just that the UK never used it.

              1. Anonymous Coward
                Anonymous Coward

                Re: But what about Brexit ?

                In essence, we the UK people directly elected the UK MEP's who helped create the EU laws we accepted.

                Well, no. The MEPs get to talk about the laws over lunch, but they only get to vote on the rules that the (unelected) European Commission presents to them. The Commission has the power, the Parliament is just an expensive talking shop. Which is why turnout in European elections is so pitifully low almost everywhere in the EU.

        5. ICL1900-G3 Bronze badge

          Re: But what about Brexit ?

          The EU is special because it is a huge economic block right next door to us.

        6. Dave559 Silver badge

          Re: But what about Brexit ?

          "The UK already has to comply with a myriad of rules if we want to trade, and do, and will continue to. Quite why some people think the EU is somehow special is quite beyond me."

          The EU/EEA/Europe is a market of around 500M+ people (including us on our 'special' island). It is pretty much the biggest developed market in the world, somewhat larger than the USA which has only 330M people. It makes good sense for businesses to follow the standards of the largest markets, and so decisions of the EU carry a lot of weight internationally.

          (Yes, India and China are even more populous, but are not yet in a position to be buying iPhones and many other products in the same volumes. At some point they might be, and then it might be one, or both, of them setting the rules (which is perhaps a good "locally selfish" reason for the EU to be using its current soft power to be taking the global lead in this way). I can just imagine the little Brexiters' heads exploding if it turned out that other "even more" [sic] 'foreign' people (we are all human, remember) were setting the rules, and we had no input into the matter at all…)

          The EU is also made up of our nearest neighbours, where we sell (or did sell, until we tied ourselves up in red tape) most of our exports, and it's of mutual benefit to all of us to have compatible standards and products.

          "None of which incidentally requires us to allow EU law to be the law of the UK. That is what's wrong, and that is what's being changed. UK laws set by the UK, as it should be."

          The UK did set the laws for the UK (and for the rest of the EU) by being an active member of the EU, and having its fair say; indeed, the UK was one of the main proponents of the Single Market in the first place. Something like 97% of EU laws were passed with the UK's approval, there were very few cases where the UK voted against, surely this is good evidence of the benefits of a collaborative process in developing legislation?

          Humanity progresses better when we work together cooperatively, rather than pretending we are uniquely 'special'. If, for some reason, the UK now decided to use its "freedom" (Oh, the oppressive USB-C! What a burden 'tis to me!) to mandate the use of barrel connectors (or possibly even worse, something like the horrible old Apple 30-pin connector again), everyone would laugh at us (even more so than they are doing already), and would ignore us, saying: "We're not making a 'special' connector for a minor market, just buy the agreed standard product, or it's your loss…".

    2. Slx

      Re: But what about Brexit ?

      Lucky escape! The outgoing Secretary of State for the 19th century was probably going to propose nice Bakelite round pin 15 amp plugs, mandatory rotary dials and full telegraphy compatibility.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: But what about Brexit ?

        Moggledite.

    3. Mostly Irrelevant

      Re: But what about Brexit ?

      The UK went from being a big player in the big EU market to being a totally separate, smaller market dependent on the EU for it's existence. Everyone will comply with EU laws and if the UK's laws are different those products will either not be sold there or an inferior version will be available at a much higher price.

      After Brexit the UK is no less beholden to the EU, it just gets no say in how the EU is run.

    4. Strahd Ivarius Silver badge
      Joke

      Re: But what about Brexit ?

      UK will make mandatory the use of the "Charles" connector starting in 2023.

      Due to unforeseen delays, the first specifications will be available in 2025, and finalized by 2035.

  3. Mike 137 Silver badge

    Contact life span

    "The contact springs are inside the cable, not the socket, meaning that while your cable may wear out, your device socket won't"

    Both contact surfaces wear every time a connector is mated or unmated. Consequently which half carries the spring contact is not a really valid criterion for life span for the pair. Particularly for these small connector types carrying power, it's primarily dictated by how long the gold plating lasts intact, as contact resistance rises smartly once it's worn through regardless of which half has lost its plating.

    1. NewModelArmy

      Re: Contact life span

      My laptop ethernet port failed after a few months of use. Somehow the sprung wires bent and crossed over. So i have to use a USB ethernet adapter.

      If the port was contact only, and the spring connector was on the cable then the failure of the springs would not be an issue as cables are easily replaced.

      1. 43300 Bronze badge

        Re: Contact life span

        How did you manage that? I've never had even the most ham-fisted of users manage to break an ethernet port (USB ports get broken periodically), and back in the days of PS/2 keyboard and mouse connectors they regularly got mashed by people trying to force them in without the pins lined up).

        1. Stoneshop Silver badge
          Boffin

          Re: Contact life span

          How did you manage that?

          USB-A plugs should have been a little wider so they couldn't fit in an RJ45 socket. The cutouts in the USB plug's metal shield don't help in getting the thing out again without damage to the RJ45 contacts.

        2. NewModelArmy

          Re: Contact life span

          I haven't a clue how it happened. The sprung connectors are very brittle too. I attempted to move them back and they snapped. I was thinking about replacing the connector but it is a lot of effort and the USB ethernet adaptor works fine, so i will just continue as the laptop is 7 years old.

      2. Pirate Dave Silver badge

        Re: Contact life span

        I had similar happen on an IBM Thinkpad 15 years ago. Was a royal PITA, and never could get them back to "normal". Wound up putting the hard drive in another laptop and being much more careful when unplugging.

        All I could figure was the tips of some of the contact "wires" got hung in the grooves of the RJ45 plug and as I pulled it out, they got bent.

        1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

          Re: Contact life span

          Yeah, it's pretty rare, but a PITA when it happens. I've seen it a few time in my years as a field engineering repairing laptops. I suspect, as you say, it's the grooves in the plastic of the plug not being quite perfect. Maybe some "flashing" left from the moulding process, or cheap tat from China[1] with a marginally narrower groove causing wear.

          [1] I'm not saying Chinese stuff is all tat. Just that most tat comes from China :-)

          1. DiViDeD

            Re: Contact life span

            ... most tat comes from China

            You've obviously never tried to assemble a 'Proudly made in Australia' garden shed.

            1. Ken G Silver badge
              Trollface

              No worries.

              She'll be right.

              1. Kane Silver badge
                Joke

                Re: No worries.

                "She'll be right."

                Didjabringabeeralong?

            2. David 132 Silver badge
              Pint

              Re: Contact life span

              I'm sure it'll turn out better than Ronnie Barker's effort!

              Icon: I didbringabeeralong. ("and a couple bottles of sweet sherry for the ladies"...)

            3. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

              Re: Contact life span

              "You've obviously never tried to assemble a 'Proudly made in Australia' garden shed."

              No, because here in the UK, it's the shed capital of the world!!!

    2. ChrisC Silver badge

      Re: Contact life span

      How to let someone know you've never experienced the joys of a damaged socket spring contact without actually saying so...

      It's not the wear and tear on both mating surfaces under normal use that's the issue here, it's the potential (very much a real one, as many of us will be able to attest to, unfortunately) for something out of the ordinary to cause enough damage to the spring contacts such that it renders the socket (almost) entirely useless. Off the top of my head, I've seen it on RJ sockets of varying flavours, on mini USB, and on the cartridge socket Nintendo use for the DS...

      So I'm very, VERY, much in favour of having the moving parts of the connector fitted to the thing that's going to be easier/cheaper to replace, than to the thing which would cost a bloody fortune to repair/replace.

      1. Loyal Commenter

        Re: Contact life span

        I once managed to pull the plastic casing for two SATA data sockets off a motherboard, leaving just the bare "sprung" pins sticking out of the MOBO. No, don't ask me how I managed it either. I'd assume those things would be at least glued on, if not soldered.

        I managed to thread the pins back through for one of the sockets, which was the one I needed to have working, but the other one was then screwed. Thankfully, the motherboard also had four others as far as I can recall.

      2. Alumoi Silver badge

        Re: Contact life span

        So I'm very, VERY, much in favour of having the moving parts of the connector fitted to the thing that's going to be easier/cheaper to replace, than to the thing which would cost a bloody fortune to repair/replace.

        OK, imagine you're the manufacturer of said product. What would you have the sucker buy more often: the cable or the motherboard?

  4. Tom 38 Silver badge

    You might have a 20W USB-C cable come in the box with your new smartphone, but it could be cooked if used with a 100W laptop power adapter.

    Only if something is purposefully out of spec. All USB-C compliant cables are rated to carry 60W (3A @ 20V) - if it doesn't, its not a real USB-C cable. A to-spec USB-C charger initially gives out a max of 7.5W (5V @ 1.5A), unless the device requests more, either passively (by the device attaching a resistor to a specific USB pin), in which case you can get up to 15W (5V @ 3A), or actively negotiating, where you can get 15 - 60W (5V @ 3A, 9V @ 3A, 15V @ 3A, 20V @ 3A). To get those higher voltages, your device has to specifically request them.

    To get 100W (20V @ 5A), you additionally need an active USB cable with a chip in it that effectively advertises that it is capable of it. No chip, no 100W.

    So, if you plug your phone which came with an apparently not to standard USB-C cable (unlikely) and you plugged it in to a 100W USB-C charger, for you to have problems your phone would have to ask for more than 20W, which would be surprising for a device that shipped with a non standard cable that only supports 20W. Its never going to get 100W unless they shipped a cable with an active chip in it that advertises it can support 100W but is only physically capable of 20W.

    In other words, a lot needs to go wrong before USB-PD fucks up. Its like they thought about this or something

    1. Mishak Silver badge

      I have a Belkin cable that I got to charge my MacBook Pro. It's nearly twice as thick as the Apple supplied one, but gets so hot it goes soft.

      It appears that one doesn't negotiate in good faith! Needless to say, I no longer use it.

      1. David 132 Silver badge

        Belkin. ‘Nuff said, sadly. Their hardware has caused me so many problems over the years that these days I actively avoid it.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Belkin lives on our procurement blacklist.

        There are a couple of companies out there that do decent, yet normally priced products so it baffles me that people even buy from Belkin.

        1. David 132 Silver badge

          I think they pretty much rely on being prominently placed in the likes of Best Buy, PC World, the supermarkets, etc... aiming at the technically-naive sector of the customer base.

        2. Loyal Commenter

          I have a Belkin thunderbolt/USB-C dock, supplied by my work, for my work laptop. The thing cost so much money, I had to go through a different procurement process to get it, and it gets so hot, it's uncomfortable to hold your hand against.

          I've seen ads for other similar docks, not made by Belkin, for about a quarter of the price. If I'd bought the thing myself, I'd certainly not have chosen that one...

    2. FIA Silver badge

      In other words, a lot needs to go wrong before USB-PD fucks up. Its like they thought about this or something

      They thought about it, but then there was that bloke from Google who had to trash a lot of kit to make sure people cared enough.

      I wonder how many house fires Mr Leung prevented?

      1. Roland6 Silver badge

        The trouble is that we constantly underestimate the determination of knock-off businesses to cut corners etc.and so produce and sell substandard cables, chargers, batteries etc. just because the public want cheap.

    3. Marty McFly Silver badge
      Flame

      That's all good until china.com puts the "I'm a 100w chip" in to a 7.5w cable and sells it for dirt cheap on Amazon/eBay/etc.

      No anger, it just seems this is the right icon for the impending result.

      1. Tom 38 Silver badge

        The chip probably costs more than making the cable properly in the first place though. Its a lot of effort to go to to make a knock off that costs virtually the same as the real thing.

        1. Stoneshop Silver badge
          FAIL

          The chip probably costs more than making the cable properly in the first place though

          You think the Chinese sell those cables at a loss but making it up in volume?

          Flinsy cable can save a lot of copper aluminium conductive wet noodle.

    4. Cederic Silver badge

      Yeah, no scope for consumer confusion at all.

      https://www.usb.org/sites/default/files/usb-if_usb_type-c_cable_logo_usage_guidelines_final_20220928.pdf

      Now check how few cables actually carry logos..

      1. Roland6 Silver badge
        Pint

        >Now check how few cables actually carry logos..

        Then turndown the light or take off the glasses or put on a blindfold and repeat the check...

  5. Mishak Silver badge

    The rationale is "[fewer] chargers

    I really wish someone would explain the difference between "chargers" and "cables" to these people.

    I am now going to have to chuck out my whole set of lightning cables and accessories when I upgrade from my iPhone 7. I won't need new chargers (none are provided with the current iPhones) as the ones I've got now will continue to work just fine when I replace all the cables...

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: The rationale is "[fewer] chargers

      I am now going to have to chuck out my whole set of lightning cables and accessories when I upgrade from my iPhone 7. I won't need new chargers (none are provided with the current iPhones) as the ones I've got now will continue to work just fine when I replace all the cables...

      Indeed. The EU, in its infinite wisdom, has just ended up causing more waste not less. Chargers from every major brand, for at least the last decade, have been fitted with USB A ports into which a multitude of different cables can be plugged.

      1. AVee

        Re: The rationale is "[fewer] chargers

        It pretty unfair to blame the EU for that, and when Apple does it is just disingenuous. The EU has been pushing for common chargers since 2009, well before Apple introduced Lightning connectors. And Apple was pretty much the only company not cooperating with the (at that time voluntary) rules. They could have conformed with the rest of the industry. They could have made lightning available for use as a common standard, instead of patenting it shut. But they chose to prioritize their own profit over the EU's desire to reduce waste. That's why all those Lightning cables exist and why the will now become obsolete, Apple did that knowingly and they can't blame anyone else for it.

        From the start the EU has said they would prefer an industry driven standard and would only pass actual laws if that didn't happen. And it happened, all phones sold in the EU use USB-C these days, all the standards are publicly available. Except iPhones, I highly doubt this would have even become a law if it wasn't for Apple refusing to cooperate...

        1. peter_dtm

          Re: The rationale is "[fewer] chargers

          And which connector did they initially push?

          The rather abysmal micro or was it mini ? Midget? One of those non reversible funky shaped misbegotten mistakes. Good job they lost that time, as otherwise how would we be able to get to the USB C ? A perfect example of why no government has any business mandating things like connectors for portable devices.

          I suppose at least the USB C is flexible.

          But what is supposed to happen when the next better standard comes around?

          There was nothing wrong in mandating an adaptor to fit between an EU spec cable from a charger and any manufacturer’s possibly superior offering that isn’t invented yet, and now never will be.

          1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

            Re: The rationale is "[fewer] chargers

            "But what is supposed to happen when the next better standard comes around?"

            If you read the legislation, or any of the many simplified guides to it, you'd know that the rules are set such that future changes in the technology has been allowed for. ANd never forget that, as posted above, almost everyone chose to follow the voluntary industry standard and it's because of the outliers such as Apple that the voluntary code has been made into a law. If it had been a couple of small, minor players, no one would have cared. But, no, one of the "big boys" had to claim they were "special".

            1. ChrisC Silver badge

              Re: The rationale is "[fewer] chargers

              Indeed, as anyone who deals with EU standards knows, they can and do change as required to keep up with the times.

              Whilst there may well be an element of "designed by committee" about them, I've come to regard them (at least the ones I have to comply with at work) as generally quite well thought out and sensible. Something I really wish I could say the same about for some of the equivalent standards from other parts of the world that I also have to comply with...

          2. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: why no government has any business mandating things

            ... up until the point where the collective market can't actually come to a standard, which is when governments step in.

            "Business", collectively, will generally do whatever they can to make a buck, starting with "I'll invent a new type of <foo> and corner the market!" and going downhill from there.

        2. Zolko Silver badge

          Re: The rationale is "[fewer] chargers

          The EU has been pushing for common chargers since 2009

          do you understand the difference between a "charger " and a "cable that plugs into the USB-A port of a charger ". Whle it is a good idea to standardize on "chargers " with a standard USB-A plug, why impose also the other end ? Each device comes with a cable anyway, so whether it's a USB-A/USB-C or USB-A/Lightning or a USB-A/WhatEver cable, it doesn't reduce electronic waste a single bit.

          1. ChrisC Silver badge

            Re: The rationale is "[fewer] chargers

            Because once you've achieved a critical mass of devices all charging using the same type of cable, you don't then need to supply a cable with each new device as it'd be reasonable to presume the owner already has enough of them already...

            Also, if right now you lose/break the only cable you've got available to charge a particular device, then you're going to place a fairly high priority on getting a replacement asap. OTOH, if one of your myriad of equally capable and interchangeable cables gets lost/broken, I suspect you'd be rather less bothered about replacing it at all.

      2. ChrisC Silver badge

        Re: The rationale is "[fewer] chargers

        How much waste did Apple create when they switched from dock to lightning?

        Also, consider the wider aspects of this move, rather than just the immediate ones. Yes, in the short term it'll mean anyone upgrading from an older to newer iPhone will have to get a new cable/adapter and maybe replace some accessories, but those are all one-time hits. Longer term, once those Apple users are set up for USB-C operation, it allows them to intwract more freely with whatever other devices they've got which are also using USB-C, reducing the likelihood of needing to buy more cables etc in future.

        1. Fred Flintstone Gold badge

          Re: The rationale is "[fewer] chargers

          I was about to post the same - the 'waste' from discarding Lightning is a one off.

          Also, since people may already have USB-C gear I'd say that even a USB C cable ought to become optional with a new device.

    2. Gene Cash Silver badge

      Re: The rationale is "[fewer] chargers

      Eh. I had to chuck all my Mini-B cables when I got my new Android Pixel

      Which sucked because I had a couple expensive 10ft ones that could actually reach the charger. This American sh*thole does not have enough wall sockets.

      I then had to track down and buy some 10ft USB-C cables, which was NOT EASY, at least when I needed them.

      1. Geoff Campbell

        Re: The rationale is "[fewer] chargers

        You can buy cheap adapters. I keep a couple of MicroUSB <-> USB-C adapters in my travelling case, for occasional use. Couple of quid on eBay, I would guess Mini USB <-> USB-C are available too.

        GJC

        1. Strahd Ivarius Silver badge
          Trollface

          Re: The rationale is "[fewer] chargers

          You are speaking to a US guy there...

          Had he looked for 3m or 5m cables on Amazon, he would have gotten them delivered int next hour.

  6. pluraquanta

    iNnovation™

    How are they still sticking with this "innovation" argument? What's innovative about a connector that delivers the same data rate as USB 2.0 and 20% of the power of even standard USB PD? If they ever bothered to update Lightning for anything other than an Apple camera for the iPad they might have a point.

    1. gnasher729 Silver badge

      Re: iNnovation™

      Not sure what you are talking about, but my two year old iPhone charges at about 19 Watt with an Anker USB A charger and USB-A to lightning cable. And at 30 Watt with USB-C to lightning cable. All this rubbish does is make sure that when either my wife or I gets their next iPhone we need two cables to charge at maximum speed. And I have a 4xUSB-A plus 1xUSB-C charger.

    2. LDS Silver badge

      Re: iNnovation™

      Today it's the standard finger to hide behind whenever they need to hide something they don't like because it kills some easy money making, instead of true innovation. Standards never stifle innovation, they promote it. Remember when each PC had its own peripherals not compatible with other brands - sometimes even not within their brands? When the IBM PC set a standard architecture, a lot of new products came to the market, because there was a larger customer base. The iPhone wouldn't have gone anywhere if there wasn't standards for the cellular network and for the internet - or Apple did intend to create its own "Apple Network", just like Microsoft attempted? What if Macs still attempted to use AppleTalk connectors, instead of Ethernet ones, and WiFi?

      1. unbender

        Re: iNnovation™

        Seems that Apple have forgotten the success of the Apple IIe which became the must have computer on the back of the expansion slots which allowed anyone to develop their own interfaces and hook up peripherals. It featured in almost every Tomorrows World report with a stream of ribbon cable hooking it up to the wizzo gizmo. It dominated the market for twenty odd years.

        It is no accident that the IBM PC had an open bus and a case with nice cutouts for your expansion cards.

        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Apple_II_series#Legacy

  7. Mishak Silver badge

    One in three chargers that is bundled with these products are never opened.

    If he really means chargers, then surely the thing to do is to say that chargers should not be supplied with every device that's sold (to encourage re-use of existing ones)?

    1. chivo243 Silver badge
      Go

      Re: One in three chargers that is bundled with these products are never opened.

      Nah, they should have a bin of them at the exit just like those gawd awful Allen\hex wrenches you can score at Ikea.... take one if you need it, if you have an extra charger, leave one!

      1. AndrueC Silver badge
        Stop

        Re: One in three chargers that is bundled with these products are never opened.

        If you have an extra charger, leave one!

        Sure, I'd trust a random charger that I picked out of a bin.

        1. Jimmy2Cows Silver badge

          Re: One in three chargers that is bundled with these products are never opened.

          Agreed, but a second bin that's drop-only might solve that. I know, I know... You want us to operate two bins?!?!? And there are the lazy and/or ignorant twats who would dump their old charger in the wrong bin, accidentally on purpose just for shits and giggles.

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: One in three chargers that is bundled with these products are never opened.

          How do you suppose they are put in the box the phone comes in?

    2. Xalran

      Re: One in three chargers that is bundled with these products are never opened.

      Actually, that's the end idea behind that law.

      But like for the common USB plug, they don't want to force the issue right away.

      At some point the companies that provides USB-C powered/recharged equipment will stop providing a charger/power supply, since they will assume everybody has one, and just mention the power the charger/power unit needs to deliver for the equipment to work/charge.

  8. Totally not a Cylon Silver badge

    Thunderbolt 4?

    What happens if Apple instead fit a Thunderbolt 4 connector?

    Looks like USB C, works like USB C but is faster......

    1. AVee

      Re: Thunderbolt 4?

      As I understand it they need USB-C and compliance with USB-PD. That's all, so also supporting Thunderbolt 4 shouldn't be a problem. All this law cares about is the charging, not the data connection.

    2. Mostly Irrelevant

      Re: Thunderbolt 4?

      There is no Thunderbolt 4 connector. Thunderbolt 4 is an alternate signalling standard that runs through a USB-C cable.

  9. ElRegioLPL

    Of course the Apple fan boy sites are spinning this as a really kind thing of Apple to do, and not the fact the EU law requires them

  10. ssssssssssssssssssssss

    Can't they just be brave and remove the port altogether?

    1. Joe Gurman

      Exactly right

      Apple could improve the water resistance of their phones, add a smidgin of space inside otherwise occupied by a Lightning or USB-C chip, and just carry on with the MagSafe and Qi charging its phones already support. But no, the EU has to legislate means and not ends.

      1. Richard 12 Silver badge

        Re: Exactly right

        Totally wrong in every possible way

        The regulation is that if the device uses a detachable ELV cable for power, the connector must be USB-C.

        So if it does not use a cable at all, it complies.

        Of course, this would never have become law if Apple hadn't been taking the piss and wilfully ignored the previous voluntary agreements.

  11. Jan 0 Silver badge

    Avoiding Waste?

    In that case, why isn't the EU also banning wireless charging?

    ++ Bring back us Dabbsy! ++

  12. DS999 Silver badge

    Apple is not making bank on $19 Lightning cables

    I can't believe people seriously believe this is about money. They also sell USB-C cables for $19, so they will be making exactly as much as they did before from selling cables. Not many people buy Lightning cables since you get them free with an iPhone, so just about every iPhone owner has more Lightning cables than they need. I bought a pack of 3 for $4 when I got my first Lightning iPhone years ago so I'd have spares, and they were MFi certified so Apple can't be making more than a few pennies on a licensed cable.

    I would actually need to buy USB-C cables to have spares when I get an iPhone with USB-C, because I currently own zero USB-C cables!

    Back in the days of the 30 pin iPod dock connector there was a big market for accessories like speakers and car docks, so one could argue there was a real degree of "lock in" in those days, but once Bluetooth accessories become common no one was using the connector for anything but charging so whatever licensing revenue Apple made back when it seemed like everything could be had in a version with a 30 pin dock is long gone.

    1. jvf

      Re: Apple is not making bank on $19 Lightning cables

      I’ve had to buy several lightning cables because of the lightning connector blunder. Exposed contacts sitting at the end of a connector subjected to real world use. What could possibly go wrong? Let me count the ways. Good riddance, I say.

      1. DS999 Silver badge

        Re: Apple is not making bank on $19 Lightning cables

        That's far superior to USB-C's design with the tongue in the port itself. When that breaks off you have an expensive phone repair. Throwing away a $2 cable is not a concern.

        I've been using Lightning cables since day one and I've never broken or had a connector wear out on me. Maybe you're getting lint in the connector and that's why are seeing problems?

        1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

          Re: Apple is not making bank on $19 Lightning cables

          "I've been using Lightning cables since day one and I've never broken or had a connector wear out on me. Maybe you're getting lint in the connector and that's why are seeing problems?"

          That's mainly because some people are less ham-fisted than others. I can say, hand on heart, that I've never broken a USB port or cable, either A, B, C, mini or micro. As a field engineer mainly fixing laptops these days, I deal with many, many devices that have broken ports though :-(

    2. Chet Mannly

      Re: Apple is not making bank on $19 Lightning cables

      If you bought 3 cables for $4, and Apple sells them for $19, then they are making $17 a cable, not a few pennies...

      1. DS999 Silver badge

        Re: Apple is not making bank on $19 Lightning cables

        I was talking about the licensing fee for Lightning ("made for iPhone" or MFi) for third party cables.

        Yes, they are making plenty of money on the Lightning cables they sell for $19, but they are making the same money on the USB-C cables they also sell for $19, so the argument that they want to hold onto Lightning because of all the money they're making on it falls apart.

        Samsung sells USB-C cables for $19 for 3A (15W max) or $24 for 5A (25W max) and probably other phone OEMs who sell high end phones are charging similar markups. Don't buy from a big OEM if you want the best price for USB-C cables - but on the other hand you never know what you're getting when you buy $2 cables from a no name supplier since there is no one policing the quality of USB-C cables. Not even Amazon, who will basically let alone sell anything until enough complaints come in, by which time a fly by night company has closed down and is already selling on Amazon under a new name!

        1. Richard 12 Silver badge

          Re: Apple is not making bank on $19 Lightning cables

          Erm, did you read your first paragraph?

          Apple make a licencing fee on every Lightning cable and every Lightning device sold, on top of the annual fees for being permitted to manufacture Lightning cables or devices.

          That revenue stream will disappear.

          1. DS999 Silver badge

            Re: Apple is not making bank on $19 Lightning cables

            Sure, but there are very few "Lightning devices" sold anymore. This isn't 2010, when everyone had a Bose speaker with a 30 pin dock connector. Nobody plugs stuff into their phone anymore except a charger. And chargers don't have a Lightning port - never have had one.

            Basically the only licensing business left is for cables, and Lightning has been Apple's standard now for a decade. Every time you get an iPhone you get another Lightning cable. Who is buying new Lightning cables these days, whether from Apple or a third party?

            So that "revenue stream" you say will disappear is gonna be pretty tiny these days.

            1. Dave559 Silver badge

              Re: Apple is not making bank on $19 Lightning cables

              I'll put my hand up and say that I am one of the people who has to buy a new Lightning cable every so often, because the 1 m cable that you get with a phone isn't really long enough. I need 2m, or ideally 3 m, in order for the cable to be long enough to reach from my bedside table to the charger.

              Apple cables cost stupid money, so you do what everyone does and buy a cheaper cable from the supermarket or an online tat bazaar. You hope that you (or the supermarket's supplier) chose a reasonably professional and good quality brand, but sadly it is often the case that the cable stops working at some point between 3 and 24 months, and you have to buy a replacement. It's stupid, and a damning indictment on the quality (or lack thereof) of too many tat manufacturers, but it's still cheaper than buying an Apple cable (so far).

              1. HMcG

                Re: Apple is not making bank on $19 Lightning cables

                Last time I bought a proprietary Apple cable it lasted less than 3 months. I hate to bust your bubble, but Apple cables are made in the same Chinese factories as the "tat manufacturers".

    3. Mr. Flibble

      Re: Apple is not making bank on $19 Lightning cables

      So what is it about then?

  13. ParlezVousFranglais
    FAIL

    All that will happen is that in a couple of years time, Apple/Samsung/Insert-your-chosen-vender-here will release a device that has both USB-C AND their new "son-of-lightning" connector marketed as way more whizzbang than USB-C and with a new charger bundled supporting said new whizzbang-son-of-lightning port

    Nothing in the EU law says this can't happen - in fact I'd be surprised if Apple aren't already thinking along these lines...

    Vendor marketing will simply be "use the crappy USB-C standard if you want, but ours is better because blah blah blah..."

    And back to square one - same as PC vendors bolting RS232 ports into PC's for 20+ years after 99% of peripherals had moved on "just in case"

    1. brett_x

      Thunderbolt

      First of all, no device manufacturer is going to take up space for 2 connectors on a small electronic device if that's what you're suggesting.

      Also, other protocols can run on the USB-C type port. Thunderbolt 3 & 4 use a USB-C connector. Apple has been using it on their laptops for years. I suspect if they need the speed of Thunderbolt for data transfers, it will be on the premium iPhone at first. But honestly, I don't know many people that plug in their iPhone to transfer or transmit data ever. So I think Apple will probably use a standard USB-C port.

      1. Jan 0 Silver badge

        Re: Thunderbolt

        > I don't know many people that plug in their iPhone to transfer or transmit data

        Then you don't know many people with a camera. Plugging your memory card into the 'phone can be so much better than the camera manufacturer's clunky Bluetooth or WiFi transfer software.

    2. 43300 Bronze badge

      Hasn't this already happened with Macbooks - i.e. the magsafe connector plus the USB-C ports on the laptop itself?

      I believe they can also charge through the USB-C ports - is this at the same speed as through the magsafe connector (for the high-draw laptop models)?

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      I miss rs232 :( simple to build into my project simple to program for etc

      1. The Rest of the Sheep
        WTF?

        Har-Dee-Har-Har

        Me and my Breakout box have a few snide comments about that...

    4. deadlockvictim Silver badge

      A modst proposal

      Nanoraptor on Twitter has a modest proposal: https://twitter.com/NanoRaptor/status/1577409285805731840/photo/1

      Her suggestions are great to consider, if somewhat mac-oriented. I could spend an evening going through her Twitter feed,

  14. Barrie Shepherd

    Apple could make the next iPhone wireless charging only and supply a shiny new charger pad with each phone.

    The charge pad can have a fixed wire to the power pack and outside world and the EU Law would be met. Of course the charge pad would need a bespoke handshake protocol before the phone could be charged maintaining the walled garden and protecting accessory revenue.

    They could then fit any connector they like on the phone for data connectivity - just so long as it is not for charging.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      My iPhone only works in my car’s Apple CarPlay using a cable, not bluetooth or wireless. So dumping the cable option means I have to buy a new car when I need to upgrade from my iPhone 8?

      1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

        So? What's the problem? I'm sure the new Apple EV division would like to take your order. Think how shiny it will be with a glowing Apple logo at the front AND back :-)

      2. anonymous boring coward Silver badge

        Yes, you have to buy a new car. Obviously. There's no other solution.

      3. imanidiot Silver badge

        And this is why proprietary car interface systems are a bad idea. Alternative to buying a new car for reasons akin to the ashtray being full use something like a CarLinkIt to convert your wired setup to wireless (No idea how well that works).

  15. 45RPM Silver badge

    It might be a controversial thing to say - but I think that Lightning was a great port for its time . I could plug it in without looking at it, or even with the light off, and I really value that attention to detail. USB of the time was a hopeless standard.

    USB-C is a different kettle of fish entirely. It does everything that Lightning does - but faster. It supports more peripherals. It’s cheaper. Lightning is now just a case of ‘Not Invented Here’ syndrome, the twiggy drive of the 2020s. Apple should know better. Good riddance to it.

    1. Binraider Silver badge

      By that argument FireWire should have beat USB. And FireWire had IEEE standards to develop it from.

      Obviously, cost of FireWire adapters was silly, so a FW mouse made no sense.

  16. mark l 2 Silver badge

    It funny how Apple didn't have a problem with the e-waste they created when switching from the 30pin connector to lightening with the Iphone 5.

    They are clearly annoyed they will loose money on licensing of lightening to 3rd parties going forward and that its one less vendor lock in they have on Apple devices

  17. Timo

    Self inflicted

    It would seem that Apple put themselves in this situation a long time ago when they created the lightning connector but decided not to license it out to the industry (or too make it too expensive to consider).

    Imagine if they had licensed it at some sensible rate, that form factor might have become the standard and not USB-C.

    1. Spazturtle Silver badge

      Re: Self inflicted

      Apple originally approached the USB-IF with what we now call the Lighting connector and proposed it as a replacement for micro USB but it was rejected as the USB-IF decided that consumers didn't care about reversable connectors.

  18. sanmigueelbeer Silver badge
    Coat

    namely that it would render the billion or so Lightning connectors in circulation as e-waste

    I disagree. Apple can "strike while the iron is hot" and can come up with an Apple-branded lightning (female) to USB-C (female) cable/converter.

    Apple can even make even more money by pricing one for $100.

  19. jezza99

    Waiting…

    I’m waiting for all the Fandroids who have been cheering this on to ditch their device and buy a new Apple phone with USB-C. They were all saying “I don’t buy Apple because they use lightening”.

    Or will hell freeze over first?

    I’ve never had a problem with a lightening connector, though one cable wore out, replaced with a spare I already had. I’ve used the same charger for all my devices for years.

    I guess there will never be a USB-D as they would need to get the EU to update their laws first.

    1. imanidiot Silver badge

      Re: Waiting…

      "They were all saying “I don’t buy Apple because they use lightening”."

      I've never ever heard anyone give THAT as the reason for not buying Apple. Stupid interface, walled garden, cost, cultishness, ugly design, etc, yes all of those, but "they use lightning connectors"? Absolutely never.

    2. MrMerrymaker

      Re: Waiting…

      I've never ever heard anyone give THAT as the reason for not buying Apple. Stupid interface, walled garden, cost, cultishness, ugly design, etc, yes all of those, but "they use a process of reducing darkness"? Absolutely never.

  20. trevorde Silver badge

    iPhone Brexit version

    * 1" steam inlet

    * 5' x 3' insulated steam chamber

    * 300 lb generator set

    * normal charging time: 6 days

    * fast charging time: 1 day

    * phone runtime: 26 mins

    * available: St Crispin's Day 1798

    1. Hubert Cumberdale Silver badge

      Re: iPhone Brexit version

      https://xkcd.com/2377/

  21. anonymous boring coward Silver badge

    "The contact springs are inside the cable, not the socket, meaning that while your cable may wear out, your device socket won't"

    Sure, if all that ever goes wrong with a contact is lost springiness...

    Naive statement, to say the least. All physical contacts can wear out, and get damaged.

  22. anonymous boring coward Silver badge

    I'm a bit confused. A lighting cable usually has a USB connector at the other end, no?

    What they should legislate is that captive cables on chargers are bad, and chargers need much more readable current spec ratings. (And voltage, perhaps, for USB-C.)

    And that cheap chargers that ruin equipment and endanger people need to be eradicated. (Go after fake certification logo usage.)

  23. Fr. Ted Crilly Bronze badge

    oh no

    How sad, it's a shame, never mind, move along....

  24. Nonymous Crowd Nerd

    The Best Thing the EU has done to date

    Discuss...

    This is seems to be a "good thing" without qualification.

    What other candidates are there? The Euro? Hmmm. Not so sure those living in Greece or Italy would be totally keen.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: The Best Thing the EU has done to date

      I think the electorate in some EU countries got a vote for it ( Euro ) , rejected it but ended up with it regardless. ( Netherlands ? )

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: The Best Thing the EU has done to date

      I suspect if you polled people on the "good" and "bad" things about the EU, most of the "good" would be those that have been around since the EEC, and most of the "bad" would be those introduced since Maastricht.

  25. Loyal Commenter

    How long before...

    Apple finds a way for its phones to use USB-C charges and cables, but mysteriously have its phones only charge with cables and chargers supplied by Apple. Possibly with some sort of encrypted handshake in the data channel...

    1. Hut6

      Re: How long before...

      I was thinking along the same lines, with the USB3 cable for new EU models of iPhone ( supplied in the box ) costing 50 euros more than the "standard" cable supplied to other Global "regions"...

  26. Binraider Silver badge

    Well, this is one way of breaking the back of apples long standing practice of selling a charger for 50 dollars.

    The accessories market is a big deal to apples bottom line, because the raw phone hardware is not desperately different otherwise to anything android. ARM chip, a bit of RAM, SD card and a screen.

    Expect price point of next iPhone to go up a bit to make up the loss in accessory bs.

  27. HMcG

    They have always had a choice.

    Very selective recall from Apple.

    Apple have always had the choice to support the current market standard in terms of connector. They have always chosen to go with their own proprietary, patented home-brew (at 3 times the price) as a part of their walled-garden strategy. The EU legislation is just their customers way of telling them we've had enough of that shit.

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