Apple should be forced to conform to a standard charger, say EU politicians

Jennifer Baker, IDG News Service
27 September, 2013
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Apple may be forced to abandon its proprietary 30-pin dock charger (shown above right) if European politicians get their way.

Members of the European Parliament’s internal market committee on Thursday voted unanimously for a new law mandating a universal mobile phone charger. The MEPs want all radio equipment devices and their accessories, such as chargers, to be interoperable to cut down on electronic waste.

German MEP Barbara Weiler said she wanted to see an end to ‘cable chaos’.

This is not the first attempt to set a standard for universal phone chargers. In 2009, the European Commission, the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) and leading mobile phone manufacturers drew up a voluntary agreement based on the micro USB connector.

However Apple, which sold nine million units of the iPhone 5s and 5c in just three days last week, has not adhered to the agreement despite signing up.

The draft law also lays down rules for other radio equipment, such as car door openers or modems, to ensure that they do not interfere with each other. The committee also cut some red tape, by deleting a rule that would have required manufacturers to register certain categories of devices before placing them on the market.

The committee is now expected to begin informal negotiations with the European Council in order to move the legislative process along quickly.

by Jennifer Baker, IDG News Service

5 Comments

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  1. Paul0075 says:

    I think this is a great idea. I was in support of it a few years ago when things were first drawn up.

    Having a standard charging plug, which is on most other phones, GPS and other portable devices already should mean that Apple needs to come into line with everyone else.

  2. Anthony Major says:

    The photo is not a 30 pin dock charger but is a 30 pin to USB cable. The iPhone can be charged on a USB charger using this cable so I don’t see the problem. I have never needed a 30 pin dock charger so is it just that they want to change the regular USB to micro USB. What is on the other end of the cable should not matter to them.

  3. SRB says:

    Will be interesting to see what Apple does if this goes through. USB is bigger than Lightening and also has less pins. Another dongle from Apple? A crippled European version? Or will Apple’s cable pretensions be shown up to be hot air and the iPhone is fully functional with a mini-USB adaptor.

  4. Jamie says:

    This makes perfect sense, but since when has perfect sense changed the way a company acts?

  5. Cambo says:

    Oops. Here’s the end of innovation. Let the bureaucrats loose and everyone has to be the same. Seriously, a charger connection is not the end of the world, but when EU politicians step into the picture, it’s all down hill. Apple have had a dedicated Apple unique design to ensure that there aren’t too many bastard devices burning up the electronics inside their toys. Would you put Lada parts in a BMW? That’s effectively what could happen. Apple could just ensure that the warranty becomes null and void if a non-Apple charger is attached and the software will be in the device to detect this.

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