Citing the alarming growth of e-waste, a European Union committee has unanimously voted to require all smartphone, and probably tablets as well, manufacturers to use the same type of charger. While many such European companies have already adopted a common charger interface, this could potentially pose problems for Apple who has consistently been using its own proprietary connections.

As part of its efforts to have a universal charger, the internal market and consumer protection committee of the European Union voted to introduce legislation that would require companies to use a single system for all their devices. In practice, however, companies have already been using micro USB connectors ever since it was chosen as the region’s official standard in 2010 by the European Union. This resolution, then, would only serve to make the practice legally binding, which should not pose much of a problem with most companies.

The same cannot be said, however, for Apple. The Cupertino-based creator of iPhones and iPads have been using its own 30-pin and Lightning connectors, which, as many already know, do not work with any other device other than Apple’s products. Although Lightning to micro USB and 30-pin to micro USB adapaters exist, with the latter only available in Europe, this new mandate might force Apple at the very least, to include such adapters right out of the box.

That said, the resolution isn’t final, as it still has to go through a long parliamentary procedure that will take the committee decision to the council, then to the Parliament, and then finally to voting. That should give Apple enough time to get its business in order or to offer its objections on the matter.


  • itpromike

    Just to clarify for accuracy (if you care enough); In Europe and Asia iDevices DO come with apple made micro USB to lightning adapters.

    • Justin Swanson

      Even so, I don’t like legislation forcing this… What happens when we have a BETTER standard… like MircoUSB 3.0. The manufacturers would be forced into older standards until the laws are updated with the new hardware…

      • Koolpep

        No, they are not. Apple has the lightning connector but ships with an adapters to micro USB for syncing and charging in the box, you can put any connector on your phone as long as you make sure you can somehow attach a standard micro USB cable to it to charge it, via adapter or any other solution. After accumulating a truck load of various, slightly different chargers (even from the same vendors) I must say that I applaud this regulation. Apple changed their charging/connecting cable once in 10 years so far, so they are not as bad as others in that regard. Oh and micro USB 3 is a bad example because it will be downward compatible in any case (and it’s a very ugly plug)

      • Trent Hill

        Better to be the lesser standard and consistent.

        If Apple gets away with maintaining their custom socket on their device and including a lighting to micro usb converter in the box, this whole thing has been for naught.

      • Level380

        It could go the other way and the apple lighting connector could become the standard. This would only happen if apple released its grip and let companies use it for for free.

        I really wish the USB org created a new ‘micro usb’ plug that was like the lighting plug, that could slip in any way without issues.

  • weezy34

    Lets face it, lightning port is better because it allows more things to transfer via the connection. Also being able to plug it in either way without looking is a plus. Wish my Note2 had a lightning port…

    • Andrew

      Let’s face it; iTunes.

  • nikira

    I don’t know much about apple devices, but isn’t the advantage of the lightning adapter that you can output A/V along with power. I know MHL adapters can basically do that, but there is no standard on MHL and if we’re just talking about standard Micro USB here, then there’s that limitation. If we use a Micro USB plug and everyone uses their own MHL standard, then we still have the plug problem even if it’s not related to power. It’s good to have a standard, but not, as people have posted, if the standard limits future innovation.

  • Scott Hendry

    is that really a government function? isn’t this overreaching…?

  • John Bessa

    Great idea, I wish they would do the same for car tire rims allowing 100% recycling! Add to that fruit jar and plastic lids–what a help for the economy and environment, seriously, hope for humanity — perhaps we should recycle the nay-sayers as well!