EU passes law mandating USB-C compatibility for phone chargers

Originally published at: EU passes law mandating USB-C compatibility for phone chargers | Boing Boing


And then Apple decides to change charging cables again for some extra cash…


I think that having a standard is good broadly speaking. I remember the days of having different electronics (phone, digital camera, external hard drive, etc) where most of them had different charging ports/cables. It’s frustrating to say the least. Though these days it’s less of an issue so I’m not sure that forcing this kind of standard is needed these days.


I do get frustrated when traveling and realizing that I have several cords - none of which is the right one.


homer simpson doh GIF


They’ll comply with the standard, but only after they put their form factor designers on the job of making sure it’s malicious compliance. It might be enough for them to incorporate a patented puzzle-like notch that makes it impossible it impossible to charge a phone via USB-C without an Apple-manufactured or -licensed cable.


Especially because USB-C is trying to be the one port for all things, so the spec for it just keeps getting longer and longer as they bolt new things to it.


It demonstrably is. EU legislation has brought us all standardised micro USB chargers in the first place. We all remember how it was before, where every manufacturer, not just better-than-thou Apple, had proprietary chargers, even between different model ranges of their own products.

And it’s not like these bureaucrats (nice brexiter language, Rob) haven’t consulted experts.


Literally because of previous EU legislation


For all that people scream about Apple, the lightning connector they use for almost all of their smaller devices has been around now for over 10 years. Over that same ten years, I can’t tell you how many different proprietary connectors I’ve had to carry around to charge other devices - round plug, USB-A rectangle, USB-square, micro-usb in at least three different plug configurations, USB-C, and the list goes on.

I expect Apple is going to use the “that are rechargeable via a wired cable” language, and eliminate wired charging entirely rather than switch to USB-C. The iPhones already support wireless charging, and Apple can make good use of the extra internal space freed up by ditching wired charging, vis a vis what they’re doing now with the removal of the physical SIM card.


You are comparing one company with literally every other company out there. I’m sure Apple isn’t the only company who has a single charging port between its own devices. The whole rationale behind this is standardisation between companies.

Genuine question: does wireless charging support quick charging these days?


Indeed: my current "power bag’ has in it: USB-A to Micro-USB, USB-A to Mini-USB, USB-A to Lightning, USB-A to USB-C, and a USB-C to USB-C, along with two seperate wall chargers for USB A and C. It’s a bit much to drag around.

The series 7 Apple watch does; mine came with a quick charge puck to USB-C. I think the Qi wireless charging spec also supports it, provided both the sender, receiver, and power supply support it.


Apple has already made the transition to USB-C on their bigger devices, so it’s not exactly difficult, much less impossible, for them to do this. What’s the big deal?


Looks at the ipad pro that charges via usb-c/thunderbolt3… why did you have to ruin DavidK44’s analogy?

1 Like

They get licensing money for every Lightning cable/device. They don’t for USB-C.

iPads are used for some niches which may require add-on devices for storage, human input or audio output/capture, amongst other things. So USB-C makes sense there.

But by keeping Lightning on the iPhone they either get a small amount of licensing money or an iPad sale. Either way, they win.


I did say ‘almost’! :wink: For those devices where internal space is at a premium (think iPhone), I fully expect wired charging/data exchange is going away quickly. In addition to power, cables have been needed for data exchange. However, Apple no longer requires a wired connection to update/initialize a new phone. For the last few iPhone models, when you buy a new iPhone you can just put it next to the old one, and the data is transferred directly. The use case for a wired iPhone is disappearing rapidly.

For Apple’s keyboards, trackpads, AppleTV remotes, etc, where internal space isn’t an issue, I expect they’ll move to USB-C. iPads are large enough that they’ll treat them like their laptops and use USB-C (except maybe the mini - it’ll be very interesting to see which way they go with that - wireless vs USB-C), especially since there are other data connections to iPads that are used, unlike with iPhones.


Yeah, lightning hasn’t really made many advances with charging speed (it’s just thin… whee), induction is probably just as valid, and phones are poster children for wireless communication (though you’ve been able to re-install a macbook for years with only a wifi connection).


It wasn’t actually legislation. It was a Memorandum of Understanding:

A lot of manufacturers signed up for it, and took it seriously, because it was a simple deal: Comply with the memorandum of understanding, or we’ll legislate.

Even Apple signed up for it. Of course, they then just ignored it whilst claiming they were compliant because people could use dongles…

I suspect that one manufacturer ignoring it is probably why this is becoming legislation.


That’s absurd. All my of chargers have standard USB-A sockets. My most useful charger has 4 USB-A sockets. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a charger with a micro-USB socket.

At a recently remodeled airport & doctor office & coffee shop & more, I see these all over the place:


Installed too soon I guess? These will be here for another decade before they do the USB-C version.