Apple, other phone makers agree on standard charger for Europe

Posted:
in iPhone edited January 2014
Apple is among a list of top handset makers who have agreed to support a European Union-backed initiative on standardizing phone chargers across the continent, which should benefit both consumers and the environment.



More specifically, the deal will see companies including Apple, Nokia and Research in Motion, develop handsets that can be charged by a standard micro-USB socket, ensuring that each phone is compatible with a standard type of phone charger.



The move aims to cut back on the thousands of tons of waste that results from discarded phone accessories in Europe each year, according to EU Industry Commissioner Guenter Verheugen. "People will not have to throw away their charger whenever they buy a new phone," he said.



In addition to the environmental benefits, the initiative should also lead to cost savings for companies and end-users down the line. That's because phone makers have also agreed to stop including chargers with their new handsets in Europe once the new micro-USB chargers become commonplace. Anyone who needs a new charger after this time will be able to purchase it separately.



The agreement, which applies only to data-enabled smartphones at this time, appears to support a broader initiative by the GSM Association to develop a universal micro-USB charging solution that would appear by January 1, 2012.



The GSMA says these chargers would boast a 4-star or higher efficiency rating in order to be three times more energy-efficient than an unrated charger and consume 50% less stand-by energy. It estimates that greenhouse gas will be reduced by 13.6 - 21.8 million metric tons as the replacement rate for existing chargers decreases.



In total, this week's agreement was signed by 10 companies, who combine to represent 90% of the European phone market. Other adopters include Motorola, LG, Samsung, Sony Ericsson and Texas Instruments.



Given that the Dock Connector has long been Apple's standard on iPods and iPhones, and is now also vital to the iPhone 3.0 third-party accessories strategy, the company is likely to comply with the initiative by including a micro-USB adapter with iPhones sold in Europe.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 197
    Companies should do this here in North America.



    P.S. First post!
  • Reply 2 of 197
    Interesting - I think the adaptor is the only solution, presumably it will mean that an iPhone can charge via one of the standard cables, whilst you would need the Apple connector to sync?
  • Reply 3 of 197
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by DanaCameron View Post


    Companies should do this here in North America.



    P.S. First post!



    Well here's your cookie



    great so everyones just gunna make silly adaptors so there phone can be compatable with mini USB. Who has stakes in mini USB. Are they made in Europe or something.
  • Reply 4 of 197
    dluxdlux Posts: 666member
    Quote:

    Given that the Dock Connector has long been Apple's standard on iPods and iPhones, and is now also vital to the iPhone 3.0 third-party accessories strategy, the company is likely to comply with the initiative by including a micro-USB adapter with iPhones sold in Europe.



    I interpret it to mean that Apple will include a Dock-to-micro USB cable in the future, instead of the now-issued Dock-to-fullsized USB cable. Future iPhone cube chargers will have the micro connector, and the kit will include a full-to-micro USB adapter to connect to computers (and/or future Apple computers will include a micro USB connector).



    What always galls me with these connectors is how the groups who create them rarely deploy any future-thinking when they set the standard. Why didn't they settle on the Micro format in the first place? Who had the brilliant idea of changing the Firewire connector from 400 to 800? (Or why didn't they anticipate the need for extra contacts in the first place?) At least the Apple Dock connector included spare pins for future technologies.
  • Reply 5 of 197
    zandroszandros Posts: 537member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by btitusjr View Post


    Well here's your cookie



    great so everyones just gunna make silly adaptors so there phone can be compatable with mini USB. Who has stakes in mini USB. Are they made in Europe or something.



    The USB-IF is made up of mostly American companies and the connectors are probably made in the Far East.



    I can't say I like the choice of plug though, the mini-USB connector always looks like it should go two more mm in, but it doesn't.
  • Reply 6 of 197
    cmf2cmf2 Posts: 1,427member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Dlux View Post


    I interpret it to mean that Apple will include a Dock-to-micro USB cable in the future, instead of the now-issued Dock-to-fullsized USB cable. Future iPhone cube chargers will have the micro connector, and the kit will include a full-to-micro USB adapter to connect to computers (and/or future Apple computers will include a micro USB connector).



    What always galls me with these connectors is how the groups who create them rarely deploy any future-thinking when they set the standard. Why didn't they settle on the Micro format in the first place? Who had the brilliant idea of changing the Firewire connector from 400 to 800? (Or why didn't they anticipate the need for extra contacts in the first place?) At least the Apple Dock connector included spare pins for future technologies.



    But that wouldn't meet the standard. To put it simply, the microusb would be on the wrong end of the cable. The micro usb has to be plugging into the phone, not into the charger. I agree with AI that an adaptor is most plausible.
  • Reply 7 of 197
    outsideroutsider Posts: 6,008member
    How about future iPhones having a micro USB port next to the iPod port on the bottom? Adapters are so easy to lose.
  • Reply 8 of 197
    dimmokdimmok Posts: 359member
    "Nokia powering up self-charging cell phone"



    http://news.cnet.com/8301-17938_105-10267006-1.html



    Lets eliminate the chargers all together.
  • Reply 9 of 197
    merdheadmerdhead Posts: 587member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by btitusjr View Post


    Well here's your cookie



    great so everyones just gunna make silly adaptors so there phone can be compatable with mini USB. Who has stakes in mini USB. Are they made in Europe or something.



    And? The point is that people avoid needless power adaptors, which are much more harmful to the environment. Having a plug adaptor is much much better carrying around multiple power packs.



    What a moron.
  • Reply 10 of 197
    irnchrizirnchriz Posts: 1,581member
    All Apple need to do is include an adaptor which has a Female mini usb on one side and dock connector on the other. Then just pack it in with a mini usb cable. This way you can use the adaptor with any compatible mini usb charger.



  • Reply 11 of 197
    noirdesirnoirdesir Posts: 1,027member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by btitusjr View Post


    Well here's your cookie



    great so everyones just gunna make silly adaptors so there phone can be compatable with mini USB. Who has stakes in mini USB. Are they made in Europe or something.



    How do you allow people to keep using their old chargers without agreeing on some kind of standard?



    But I guess your argument is that if people wanted standardized chargers they would have bought only phones which have them already. In other words, every problem will be solved by the free market. And if it is not solved, it by definition is not a problem. Market failure simply does not exist.
  • Reply 12 of 197
    dluxdlux Posts: 666member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by cmf2 View Post


    But that wouldn't meet the standard. To put it simply, the microusb would be on the wrong end of the cable. The micro usb has to be plugging into the phone, not into the charger. I agree with AI that an adaptor is most plausible.



    I guess I assumed that everyone would adopt the iPhone's charging configuration by supplying a phone-specific cable with the micro USB connector at one end, and plug that into a cable-less power cube. In other words, separate the cable from the brick.



    But if Apple has to include a female USB port for the cable to plug into, they could create a Micro USB-to-Dock adapter*, or piggy-back the USB port onto the far side (non-pin side) of their Dock cable connector.



    I really don't see Apple including a separate Micro USB connector on the iPod or iPhone themselves. That would violate their simplicity design edict, and needlessly duplicate some of the functionality of the Dock connector itself. Also, motherboard and external case real estate is precious on handheld devices. Why waste it on a port whose only function is charging the battery.



    Ultimately, I see Apple incorporating a wireless charger system, in addition to the Dock fall-back. Let Palm work the kinks out first, and hopefully a wireless charging standard will likewise emerge that all devices can share.





    * Edit: #11 posted that as well while I was composing.
  • Reply 13 of 197
    bigmc6000bigmc6000 Posts: 767member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by merdhead View Post


    And? The point is that people avoid needless power adaptors, which are much more harmful to the environment. Having a plug adaptor is much much better carrying around multiple power packs.



    So currently you have 1 plug for your iPhone and iPod but now you'll have the super-duper awesome ability to use another adapter to power your iPhone but don't try to use it plug into your computer becasue the bandwidth is @ss - yeah, brilliant...



    This standard might be good for everybody else but when the iPhone uses the exact same cord as the iPod and thus there are 100's of millions of them and you can get a cord for it anywhere and not to mention the data capabilities are crap, umm, yeah. Maybe a win for everybody else but certainly just a waste for Apple - my iPhone doesn't need a half-capable charging only port on it...
  • Reply 14 of 197
    rptrpt Posts: 173member
    My understanding is that Apple complies with the rules today; the rules appear to refer to the charger itself, not the cable from the charger to the device.



    That said why do Apple use the appleconnector? After several generations of iPods and iPhones connected to 4 wire USB it does not appear to be very likely that there really is much immediate need for this expandability.
  • Reply 15 of 197
    thebumthebum Posts: 58member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Hugh Jarse View Post


    Interesting - I think the adaptor is the only solution, presumably it will mean that an iPhone can charge via one of the standard cables, whilst you would need the Apple connector to sync?



    There's no reason you shouldn't be able to sync with the same cable you use to charge. I do that all the time with my Mophie Juice Pack Air, which has a micro USB connector on it.



    I just hope they don't do away with the dock connector or else a lot of accessories will be useless, including my Alpine car stereo iPod adapter. With Apple's track record for frequent obsolescence of features, I wouldn't put it past them to do that.
  • Reply 16 of 197
    noirdesirnoirdesir Posts: 1,027member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Dlux View Post


    What always galls me with these connectors is how the groups who create them rarely deploy any future-thinking when they set the standard.



    Perfect hindsight is difficult to acquire before the act.

    Quote:

    Who had the brilliant idea of changing the Firewire connector from 400 to 800?



    There are quite a lot of reports of inserting a FW400 plug the wrong way into the connector, thus connecting the power pins with the data lines and consequently frying something along the data path. I have seen it myself, once somebody forces a FW400 plug the wrong way in, no extra force is needed a second time (thus easily frying a second device). The FW800 connector is much more foolproof in this respect.
  • Reply 17 of 197
    To be clear, to all those who keep saying Mini USB are incorrect. This story is refering to the Micro USB connector. I recently got a blackberry with a Micro USB charger, and while I was initially annoyed that all my old chargers were obselete, I did like the size of the Micro USB connector, and then I found $2 adaptors onlne so I could use all the Mini USB chargers and data cables I have accumlated over the years. I think from an environmental standpoint this is a great move, and I hope to see this extend to standard cellphones and eventually to the USA as well.
  • Reply 18 of 197
    mstonemstone Posts: 11,510member
    Have you seen how small the the charger is on the 3G S? That is the tiniest charger I have ever seen. The problem the EU is addressing is that chargers are thrown into land fills along with the phone. In the case of iPhone, I don't think many are going to be thrown away because they make pretty decent WiFi and iPod devices even after they are replaced with a new phone.
  • Reply 19 of 197
    noirdesirnoirdesir Posts: 1,027member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by irnchriz View Post


    All Apple need to do is include an adaptor which has a Female mini usb on one side and dock connector on the other. Then just pack it in with a mini usb cable. This way you can use the adaptor with any compatible mini usb charger.



    But they might want to include a USB to miniUSB cable with their charger for it to be usable with other phones (I already use it like this).
  • Reply 20 of 197
    trumptmantrumptman Posts: 16,454member
    This is great news! I had expressed this as a concern about Apple because every phone and even earpiece we own and use charges via microUSB. Every phone maker I know is switching over to this standard. The agreement does not stop Apple from adding the dock connector, just makes it possible to charge your phone via microUSB as well. If you are out with your iPhoneGS using your turn by turn GPS and your battery runs down, you can run into a gas station and buy a standard 12 volt microUSB car charger and keep running on down the road.



    I had recommended they put the microUSB on the top of the iPhone and the dock connector on the bottom. No matter what they do, it is good news in my view.
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