Apple could be forced to add micro-USB port by EU

Modernised radio equipment directive could enforce common phone charger

apply could swap to wireless chargers like the gear 4

Iconic smartphone manufacturer, Apple, could find itself forced to add a micro-USB port to its iPhone mobile handsets by a European MEPs. They have just amended the draft law to stipulate that the ability to work with common chargers will be an essential requirement for radio equipment. They’ve definitely got mobile phones in mind here. The logical outcome would be a one-charger-fits-all for handsets – and a micro-USB port is the only viable option. Hence, if Apple is going to sell smartphones within the EU (and therefore Europe) it could be forced to add a micro-USB port to its devices.

MEPs argue that a common charger should be developed for all mobile phones sold in the EU to reduce waste; costs; and hassle for users.

“This serves the interests both of consumers and the environment. It will put an end to charger clutter and 51,000 tonnes of electronic waste annually,” commented German socialist MEP, Barbara Weiler.

The draft directive lays down harmonised rules for placing radio equipment – including cellular telephones, on the market.

What’s worse is the fact that the Directive could become law within some EU countries by as early as 2017.

Being able to charge an iPhone through a micro-USB port doesn’t equate to the same thing as Apple abandoning its ‘Lightning’ connector for device-to-device communications, of course.

Nokia, for example, has sold handsets in the past which use both its old style small pin chargers and micro-USB for charging. Giving users the choice.

But micro-USBĀ  would increase the build cost and take up handset real estate making it more difficult to design a slim iPhone.

Apple could, of course, migrate its smartphones over to wireless charging – a technology that would fit the one-charger-fits-all requirement.

However, GoMo News isn’t convinced that car manufacturers selling into Europe will move to fitting wireless chargers by 2017.

They’re more likely to favour the micro-USB approach. So Apple would come unstuck.

GoMoNews isn’t entirely sure it is technically feasible. However, one solution for Apple might be to supply a micro-USB to Lightning adapter cable.

That would certainly cheer up component manufacturer, Volex.

We don’t know a convertor cable that would work with any micro-USB style charger.

It is also somewhat defeating the object by introducing an extra bit of wire when the Directive is intended specifically to cut down on waste.

About Tony Dennis

Tony is currently Editor of GoMobile News. He's a veteran telecoms journalist who has previously worked for major printed and online titles. Follow him on Twitter @GoMoTweet.
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3 Responses to Apple could be forced to add micro-USB port by EU

  1. Paul Webster says:

    Apple sell such an adapter
    http://store.apple.com/uk/product/MD820ZM/A/lightning-to-micro-usb-adapter
    they have one for the old connection as well

  2. admin says:

    Our point is that supplying such a cable with all iPhones is hardly going to cut down on electronic waste. Merely add to it. So we don’t think the EU would count it as compliance.

  3. Sash says:

    I’m generally for smaller, less intrusive government. However, the micro-USB is so ubiquitous, there’s no reasonable reason Apple can’t include it on their iPhones.

    That said, knowing how Apple operates, I could easily see them activating only the power portion (not the data transfer capabilities) of a micro-USB on their devices to meet this EU “requirement.”

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