back to article Fanbois, prepare to lose your sh*t as BRUSSELS KILLS IPHONE dock

Just spent 50 quid on the latest iPhone dock? You'd better start saving for a new one, because the EU has set a timetable for its plans to force all phone manufacturers to use the same charger. Although the EU is well known for its diversity policies, it has been planning to homogenise phone chargers for some time. Ultimately, …

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Childcatcher

Appropriate use of icon..

"assuming we're still part of the EU."

Here's hoping we're not..

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Give some credit where it is deue

This is a nice example of the EC getting things right. It happens more often than people think but it is only the absurdities that get any publicity.

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Re: Give some credit where it is deue

"This is a nice example of the EC getting things right"

Only if your view of supra-state government is that its purpose is to dabble in the really important stuff like forcing a profitable and hugle successful company to adopt a rather flimsy connector that for valid commercial or technical reasons they've decided they don't want to.

If it was important to the fanbois, they'd vote with their feet. I don't own any Apple kit, but I think Apple corporation and their customers are the people to decide on how their stuff works, not a bunch of tecnhically illiterate c*nts in Brussels who can't even get their own accounts audited.

However, just as you are delighted with this sterling performance by the EU, leaping into action like a greased panther, I'm sure the 57.4% of Spanish youth who are unemployed will be f***ing delighted to hear that the overpaid @rseholes in Brussels have decided that Apple will have to use micro USB. Or the 41% of Italian young people, or 36% of Portugese youth.

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Re: Give some credit where it is deue

Hugle is my new favourite word.

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Re: Give some credit where it is deue

Standards are a Good Thing(tm)

The point of this is to allow flexibility to the consumer. If you think back to the bad old days, every phone manufacturer used a different charging connector. You often had to take your charger with you wherever you went, and would end up throwing the old charger away every time you bought a new phone.

Now, most people can use USB to charge their device. They won't even need to take a cable with them, as their friends/colleagues/employer will have one. The only hold out of this is Apple, who insist on using their own proprietary connectors.

If they are forced to allow charging through uUSB, this brings everyone together on a single, readily available standard. It will benefit all consumers. The only people it will damage are Apple, who won't be able to make such a killing on their vastly overpriced Lightning cables any more.

"I think Apple corporation and their customers are the people to decide on how their stuff works"

I doubt anyone buys an iThing because of the Lightning connector. The consumers buy Apple kit because they like the device, and one of the biggest complaints I hear from people is about the Lightning cable. This is not because it's a bad cable/connector, but because it is not the standard, and they have to carry their cable around with them. It also costs a fortune (relatively speaking) to replace when it breaks.

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Devil

Re: Give some credit where it is deue

@ Ledswinger

What are you on ? take about a rambling anti EU post wrapped up in a flimsy attempt to say they are after Apple.

This is about the fact that at the moment I have a phone from work that uses a pin connector to charge, my phone that is micro USB and a new camera from Samsung that uses another mini usb connector. It means 3 power supplys plugged ain for charging plus carrying round add to that a tablet, chromebooks starting to go micro USB istead of charging brick etc etc....

Instead I will be able to buy any device and know I can charge it using just one cable / charger. this has several advantages, smaller packaging for phone etc, lower prices as I don't need to buy another one, less landfill.....

Apple are just another company that are not using what has become bascally industry standard and will be required to do so, or do you think they should be able to only supply a 2 pin mains adaptor and force you to buy an adaptor to use it.

As for your unemployed Spanish youth, they cant afford Apple so couldnt care less....

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Re: Give some credit where it is deue [sic]

You have a strange – to me – idea of what the coercive powers of government are for. No doubt living in the US has led to my being bombarded by laissez-faire, capitalist propaganda, but I reckon governments have more important things to think about: clean air and water, safe pharmaceuticals and groceries, law enforcement, figuring out whom to kill by drone next, or figuring out when to shut down the government. Since there is no EU constitution, as in the UK, I suppose the regulators can regulate, and the legislators legislate, whatever comes into their collective heads. It just seems strange to this liberal (by US standards) that a government thinks its citizens can't be trusted to buy what they want — and note this is an economic issue (presumably less expensive micro-USB vs. more expensive proprietary connectors), not a safety one, as there's ample anecdotal evidence of people being incinerated by using cheap knockoff copies of either proprietary or "standard" connector chargers.

The US government is clearly not a role model for anyone, but at least they don't try to micromanage what should be an easy consumer decision: do I want to buy a phone with yet another proprietary connector, or do I want to pay more in return for some features/bling/whatever?

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Re: Give some credit where it is deue

Well, as a British person presently living in Portugal because my non-European wife is not allowed to settle with me in the UK (or even enter, thanks to the UKBA), despite us being married 4 years and having two kids together, I can say thanks to the EU for something *really* important - the right to live together with my family.

And the youth here in Portugal may blame many things for the job situation at present, but the EU is certainly way lower on the list than the bankers.

So let's jail all the bankers before we start this silly talk of leaving the EU.

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@You have not yet created a handle

Be careful what you wish for.

There are far more Brits in Spain than Poles in Britain and I'm pretty sure the spanish would love to send them all back.

Ditto the french, italians. portguese, etc.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Give some credit where it is deue

That is bloody weird, I know plenty of people married to a non-EU citizen, and they have no problems getting a Visa for the UK, last I checked its EU law they have to grant her access unless there is a valid reason to refuse....

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Give some credit where it is deue

You don't think many years of incompetence and political arse-ing about in the Italian system of government has had anything to do with their economic state then?

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Re: Give some credit where it is deue [sic]

> but at least they don't try to micromanage what should be an easy consumer decision: do I want to buy a phone with yet another proprietary connector, or do I want to pay more in return for some features/bling/whatever?

Good fucking job that someone decided on standards for the Internet. Want to read Apple's web page? Get yourself Apple's proprietary browser. Perhaps, companies could choose the type of mains plug they put on their products? At the end of the day, this is about waste, and there is a stonking pile of mains adaptors thrown away every year because they are tied to the device.

The EU is doing exactly what governments are supposed to do, deal with the big issues that affect pretty much everybody. Micro managing individuals and single companies is what they're *not* supposed to be doing. There is a difference.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Give some credit where it is deue [sic]

"The US government is clearly not a role model for anyone, but at least they don't try to micromanage what should be an easy consumer decision"

And that's why US consumers don't actually have any competition in the mobile phone market - if you get a phone from Verizon, you can't decide to switch to AT&T to get a better deal.

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Re: Give some credit where it is deue [sic]

This is part of the EU's internal market towards lowering barriers and increasing competition - it should be a capitalist's wet dream.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Appropriate use of icon..

>>"assuming we're still part of the EU."

>>Here's hoping we're not..

If you really want to be banished to an island prison where you need a special pass to live and work just 50 km. away from the island, where you have trade barriers between you and your immediate, large market that cost all of us time and money, I am sure that Russia or China or even the more redneck areas of the USA can accommodate you.

Meanwhile, having my available world living and working space and freedom of movement greatly enlarged for myself, my friends and my children is a wonderful source of gratitude and appreciation for me and most other grown ups I know. Are you aware that some 2 million UK citizens approve with their feet and live in Continental Europe, with plenty more rather keen to do so if they find the work? Are you aware that nearly all major and middling businesses in UK are rather pleased to be in a larger, local trading block than the island economy to which you would restrict them?

I recall travelling to our neighbours before EU days, with currency restrictions (amount taken out written in the back of the passport even), restrictions on moving etc.. Look at how, for instance, the USA imposes trade barriers, official and unofficial, on imports, on businesses setting up in USA.

No, get with it and enjoy and use the freedom of movement restored to us, that disappeared over a hundred years ago until restored by EU membership. And do n't give me that UKIP crap about special relationship a la Switzerland or Norway: these are small countries, population-wise and actually have the problem of being subject to regulations and requirements in the making of which they have no say. Switzerland is even in Schengen, unlike fearful little Britain.

Really, this colossal ignorance and fear is sad and shameful.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Give some credit where it is deue

Define a supra-state? Great Britain compared to its component countries? England compared to Northumbria and Cornwall?

Silly bugger. Stop mouthing pointless slogans and appreciate that in certain areas people and businesses benefit greatly from standards. Just because a big company does well is no reason to oppose standards that are for us, not for the narrow interest of the big company.

If their way is so wonderful, submit it to the standard makers, make a strong case for it and make it the standard.

We need to see what comes out of these deliberations before ignorant comment, or put together a good submission to try to influence the outcome.

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PJI

Re: Give some credit where it is deue [sic]

I believe one of the reasons for the proposed standard is not to tell citizens how to charge their telephones; it is to reduce the growing mountain of electronic device waste that is difficult to dispose of and amounts to an expensive, pointless, ecological and economic cost. i.e. it is to help society as a whole, just as any other rules on safety, waste disposal and so on.

I think even the USA has certain standards, such as all driving on the same side of the road, vehicle exhaust standards, drinking age (and place - odd -not trusting its citizens to carry beer in full view, unlike guns), wearing seat belts, food and drug laws, paying taxes.

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Re: Appropriate use of icon..

> Really, this colossal ignorance and fear is sad and shameful.

The problem is, we could do all of this without the EU.

Trade barriers, borders, tariffs, restriction of movement of goods and people. These are all things imposed by governments. That the EU is bringing this as a benefit to us belies the reality. They are merely rolling back the incredible numbers of restrictions and oppressions given to us by our governments.

Is there really *any* reason why I can't just travel from the UK to Frances without asking permission of HM customs? The whole thing smacks of serfdom. If the EU is the only way we can achieve this, then I'm all for it.

But we don't need "rights" to do what we should be naturally be able to do without the unreasonable restrictions placed on us, by force, by our own lords and masters.

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Re: Appropriate use of icon..

I recall travelling to our neighbours before EU days

Admittedly, "before EU days" was pretty much the cold war, and there was all kinds of other crap to deal with. You know, like Germany being split across the middle by a bloody big wall and people getting their arses shot off for trying to cross over it.

Also the UK has agreed to some parts of the Schengen agreement. I think the healthcare provisions are one part. So, if you're in an EU country that isn't your home, and you fall sick, you can use that country's health service. Yes, even if you are a Pole living in the UK. I think there is even some provision where if you are ill in your home country, the domestic health service cannot help you, and there is a treatment elsewhere in the EU, you can travel to the other country and have your home nation's health service pay for the treatment.

It helped immensely with a friend trying to get on the Sativex program when he managed to say to the NHS guys in so many words, "marijuana is a treatment that works for my conditions, so how about I go to Amsterdam and you pay for it?"

He's on Sativex now, and yep, it works.

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Re: Appropriate use of icon..

"assuming we're still part of the EU."

Here's hoping we're not..

Yeah, did you hear that those nasty Eurocrats were trying to feed our starving poor?

Those pinko Guardianistas don't seem to get it:

http://www.theguardian.com/society/2013/dec/17/government-under-fire-eu-funding-food-banks

They just don't understand that if we don't starve families to death, people won't have any motivation to develop entrepreneurship skills and become the sort of self-employed go-getters we love: contract cleaners who draw minimum wage for 3 hours' work a day, and can be ditched the moment they take a day off for illness. It's the flexibility of these heroes of industry that makes Britain great.

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Re: Give some credit where it is deue [sic]

@Joe Gurman

" It just seems strange to this liberal (by US standards) that a government thinks its citizens can't be trusted to buy what they want "

What I want isn't available.

I went a long time without a tablet, because Android couldn't do real-time audio processing like iOS can, but the iPad isn't compatible with my plethora of charging devices, or my case full of SD cards. (I have all sorts of cameras and audio gadgets in my drawers).

I individually do not have the power to change that.

So you'll say we need collective buyer power... and you know what? That's what government is supposed to be -- collective power.

" and note this is an economic issue (presumably less expensive micro-USB vs. more expensive proprietary connectors), not a safety one, as there's ample anecdotal evidence of people being incinerated by using cheap knockoff copies of either proprietary or "standard" connector chargers. "

It is economical and environmental -- if chargers are proprietary, we keep binning them, and electronic waste is a huge (and growing) problem.

Besides, while nobody ever claimed it was about safety, safety may actually be improved as a happy side-effect: those faulty connectors you mention... do they have a CE mark? I doubt it -- EU safety regs are pretty damn good.

You will never be able to stop people importing their own unsafe super-cheap chargers, but when you break the proprietary monopoly, and there's a CE-tested charger available for a fiver at a local shop, why are you going to leave yourself waiting up to a month to get a £2.50 charger shipped from Taiwan?

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Re: Give some credit where it is deue

@AC

" That is bloody weird, I know plenty of people married to a non-EU citizen, and they have no problems getting a Visa for the UK, last I checked its EU law they have to grant her access unless there is a valid reason to refuse.... "

You've not been reading the newspapers -- the Home Office have been refusing residency left, right and centre, even to people who have been resident, married and working in the UK for years. Poster examples include the Australian NHS mental health worker who was kicked out, and the US man who was the sole teacher in a Scottish rural school, as well as the sole carer for his critically ill wife, and was told where to go.

The thing about EU law is that it often only determines how you treat people from other member states. So the UK has to grant access to a foreigner who has gained EU residency in another state, but it doesn't have to grant UK residency (and hence EU residency) to anyone directly.

So lots of British people are now emigrating for a year to get an EU-registered marriage to their non-EU significant others, so that they can come home.

Immigration laws in the UK are really the pits.

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About bloody time

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Hmm..

Will companies that refuse to comply be hauled in to the dock?

/Gets coat

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Re: Hmm..

Hope so as long as they are all charged the same way.

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Not only but also

"particularly Apple fanbois, who currently have to pay a small fortune for an official fruity charger"

Even if it's a standard plug, fanbois will still "have" to pay a fortune for an official one.

But yes, this is all well and good talking about a charger, but these bespoke sockets don't just charge, so when are they going to mandate the universal A/V data sync etc. cable?

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jai
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Re: Not only but also

these bespoke sockets don't just charge

I think this where the problem is going to be.

instead of having one socket, you'll now have two. one for charging via the universal connector that won't do anything else, and then another one that'll be used for the data syncing, AV output, peripherals, etc etc.

So now, every phone will come with two cables, and a charger. Instead of the one cable and charger that they now come with. Way to "reduce unnecessary waste" !!!

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Mushroom

Re: Not only but also

Sounds like my last few company Nokia dumbphones (as I'm too much of a minion to yet warrant a smartphone - I only work for a company that produces micro-chip making equipment, so nothing too high-tech or useful for us). All have had mini- or micro-USB ports, but can you charge them that way?

No way Jose - you have to use the other little hole in the bottom (or top in the most recent brick) solely for charging, and make sure that you don't stick it in the headphone socket by mistake. And of course they even changed the connector on that power connector to a shorter/thinner one a couple of phones back, so it's another stack of chargers that are useless unless you go buy yet another adaptor...

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Re: Not only but also

So now, every phone will come with two cables, and a charger. Instead of the one cable and charger that they now come with. Way to "reduce unnecessary waste" !!!

Or the vast majority of phones will come with a single port that does everything and fits to most phones, and a couple of awkward bastards will insist on using a seperate port for "enhanced functionality". You know, like data.

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Re: Not only but also

"instead of having one socket, you'll now have two. one for charging via the universal connector that won't do anything else, and then another one that'll be used for the data syncing, AV output, peripherals, etc etc."

Or a socket which can handle MicroUSB + extended plugs, like Nokia used to do with their charging shoe years ago.

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M7S
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There's more good news in the press release

" The rules aim to keep pace with the growing number and variety of radio equipment devices and ensure that they do not interfere with each other while respecting essential health and safety requirements."

IF (note capitalisation) this works then presumably as kit us replaced over time my wifi and cordless telephone will no longer be wiped out by the microwave/baby monitor etc next door and also the amateur beardies will no longer be stuffed by Ethernet-over-power.

Admittedly when I saw the bit in the article about negotiating the sale radio equipment I held out some hope about abolishing DAB and standardising on DAB+ but you can't have everything...

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Re: There's more good news in the press release

Write to your MEP and pray that he understands your message ... most of them will not ...

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I have trouble understanding why an iPhone user will have to save money for a new dock - certainly Apple WILL NOT add a second port to their phone, because of "space" restraints - they want the thing as small and slick as possible.

What this will mean, though, is that the next dock he buys will cost a 1/10th of the price and provide the same functionality ... if he buys it online, that is ... PCWorld will still sell the shit at "silly consumer" prices....

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Black Helicopters

Warranties....

I just wonder how this will affect warranties. If a rogue "few quid" charger causes damage to a phone, is the PSU mfr liable or the mfr of the phone being charged or even the person who without any forethought or technical training, plugged the two together?

I imagine the support system writers are adding this question to their scripted genius help sheets right now.

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Re: Warranties....

The manufacturer of the charger, assuming the power output is out of spec. I'm glad I could clear that up for you.

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If I was Apple, I'd simply bundle a convertor which could plug into the current port and allow charging via micro USB. I'd be amazed if that was particularly hard to do - charging shouldn't be more than two pins and the adapter could do any negotiation necessary (and presumably would negotiate to a low speed charge with some smoothing to account for the fact that they probably wont trust the input voltage to be exactly what they want)

From a design perspective I think its unlikely they'd add a second port within the handset and from what I can see the standard will only apply to chargers not docks (and do you really want a mandated technical interface standard for docking stations set by a political forum?)

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Like this?

I assume that this is Apple's response. Since the change has been coming for years, they've had plenty of time to prepare:

http://store.apple.com/uk/product/MD820ZM/A/lightning-to-micro-usb-adapter

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Oh no! They're planning SCART 2.0 !

The last "Euro-connector* harmonisation" effort was SCART - you know, that lumpen abomination of a connector which could be wired in so many incompatible ways and which lacked any kind of positive retention mechanism so when you'd finally got a cable that implemented the right combination and direction of signals, it always worked itself loose just as you pushed your Sky-box back into the gap above the VCR.

* Largely pushed by Les Frogs.. I believe at one point it was actually illegal to sell a TV/VCR in France without it having a SCART connector.

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Re: Oh no! They're planning SCART 2.0 !

I always thought SCART was great. Though not perfect by a long shot - the varying cordsets were a PITA and early data bus control was varied, and the SVideo connections later on were one way.

However, It allowed for a heap of stuff we didn't have before it - auto switching of multiple signal types, auto device on and channel selection, Aspect ratio selection, PPV implementation and on screen display / subtitling to name the cool things I recall.

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Re:Re: Oh no! They're planning SCART 2.0 !

SCART great? A connector seemingly designed to fall out at regular intervals? SCART after judicial use of pliers to ensure the connector stays in is quite good but the easy in fucking easy out design was quite laughable.

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Re: Re:Oh no! They're planning SCART 2.0 !

Depends. What I really hate about SCART is how big it is and how it's placed in the most stupidest places imaginable, which usually means you take an hour to push a cheapo cable into the slot because the cable coming out of it is forced up against another bit of cable (like the aerial cable) or a bit of the plastic backing jutting out like some evil penis.

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Re: Re:Oh no! They're planning SCART 2.0 !

I have more more issues with HDMI / HDCP than I ever had with SCART / Macrovision. At least with SCART I could re-solder and reuse in a matter of moments.

Show me ANY OTHER cable and connector combo from 35 years ago which was better. Bearing in mind that the technology that the SCART connector brought to the playing field, the innovation it proved was the really good thing.

Some fighter jet wiring looms *might* come close, certainly not those in the jaguar or the nimrod - but at least they had leverage fastenings.

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jai
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more propagander hate-articles by Jasper

Just spent 50 quid on the latest iPhone dock? You'd better start saving for a new one

For starters, you've been ripped off as even the official Apple docks are only 25 quid!

And secondly, it's three years until this comes into force - you've got a very low opinion of El Reg readers if you think it'll take them 3 years to save up 50 quid. And anyway, aren't you always suggesting that Apple owners have more money than sense, so by that logic the cost of a new dock will be negligable to us.

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Errr, Apple doesn't have to stop using any of its own ports, it just needs to also include a micro usb port (as thats likely to becomes the stabdard) as well if it chooses which charges the phone as well. Whether they do this or not will depend on design and inside space.

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Silver badge

If the legislation allows it, they might even only have to include a "standard-to-proprietary" adapter, and keep having proprietary adapters everywhere.

Here's to hoping the American government does not decide to pass the same law, and go for a different standard. That would actually make the phone manufacturers happy, since that would make importation between countries impossible.

That said, I am against the legislation. All other matters aside, Apple has bloody good connectors for its laptops. Having a legislation like that (adapted to laptops) would have made these connectors impossible to introduce.

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Why would that make importing impossible? Generally the cables connect to a plug separately, so you just buy a UK plug and connect it to your US cable....

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The Apple charger IS universal though. There is nothing stopping you plugging other USB phones in to charge them.

The cable isn't universal though but then consider this:

The USB standard does not support anything more than about 5 watts over a mini connector so how is it that Apple should have to lower their standards and produce shite chargers with inadequate power supply capabilities just because everybody else is happy to stick with a cruddy design. How are you supposed to use and charge an iPad at the same time (and yes, in the context of power supplies phones and tables are the same thing).

Let's not forget why this came about, different designs of chargers and (captive) cables for all the crappy old Nokia guff from the last decade where virtually every phone had a different charger SKU. It's take the EU this long to get their shit together and now they are going to make a ridiculous mandate to correct a problem from the last decade that has already been solved.

Plus Lightning was designed to switch signalling as faster technologies come into play, hence the chip in the connector. But I'm not even starting on that one.

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Overpriced, late and useless

We can almost guarantee that the design will be completely useless, will cost well over €1 billion to develop, will be delivered 10 years after the deadline and by that time the EU will have forgotten about it. The only people who will remember this will be, as per normal EU fantasies, the poor bloody European taxpayer.

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Re: Overpriced, late and useless

Er, you do realise that the uUSB connector is already in use (for charging and data) by almost everyone except Apple? I've not heard the design is useless or late.

Or have you posted on the Reg when you meant to post on the Daily Mail?

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Re: Overpriced, late and useless

Whoops, you're wrong. It already exists and it's just normal microUSB.

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