EU lawmakers drafting legislation that could force Apple to change its Lightning plug

By , Dec 20, 2013

apple-lightning-iphone-5

EU lawmakers agreed yesterday to draft legislation that will force all mobile phone manufacturers to consent to the use of a common standard for battery chargers which can fit any device. The draft could be voted on by the EU Parliament as early as March 2014.

While many see this as a huge win for consumers, who would no longer have to purchase new charging accessories for different devices, it would be a huge blow to Apple. The company uses a propriety plug, the Lightning connector, in all of its iOS product lines…

 Yahoo News’ David Gilbert (via Tuaw) reports:

“The draft EU legislation could be voted on by the EU parliament as soon as March 2014, and if it passes this stage each member country will be given two years to transpose the legislation into national law, with manufacturers like Apple and Samsung given a further year to implement the changes, meaning 2017 is the earliest we will see the changes come into effect.

The mobile phone market is obviously a global one, so the impact of any changes made in the EU will have much wider reaching effects, as manufacturers will be reticent to produce different versions of their phones for different markets.”

Apple introduced the 9-pin Lightning connector last year with the iPhone 5, fifth gen iPod touch, fourth gen iPad and the iPad mini. The change came about as part of an effort to shrink the long-running 30-pin connector, so that Apple could make its products smaller.

Other changes are included in the draft legislation, including new regulations forcing manufacturers to register their products prior to market release. A similar program is already in place here in the United States, where the FCC must approve products prior to sale.

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  • http://R0Fleming.tumblr.com/ Romanel Fleming

    That would be great, so if I decide to change from one phone to another, I don’t have to get new cords.

    • Quang

      but that law will kill innovation.
      See how Lightning connector inspire USB C-type?
      If this law is passed, EU will expand to laptop adaptor. Apple will have to abandon MagSafe adaptor then. MagSafe plug is far superior to crap laptop charger out there.

      • Mike

        We are talking about cell phone chargers…. is there a ton of room for innovation there?

      • Raashid

        Well based on reviews, the iPhone 5 charges very fast compared to competing Micro-USB phones…that’s a welcome, but proprietary, innovation (faster charging). Now phone manufacturers are competing with faster standards (USB 3.0 on the Note 3). Doubt we’ll be seeing such changes if Apple had not made the lighting connector (which BTW still is USB 2.0 speed in transfer rate).

      • on3simpleclick

        .

      • iBanks

        The ability to insert the charger in any direction is enough innovation for me. Easy to plug phone in while in dark scenarios. Try that with micro-USB

      • OhSixTJ

        If it doesn’t go in the first time, flip it over. Too hard for your self-entitled little hands?

      • iBanks

        Pretty much. Why take the extra step when it’s no needed? And I with the lightning plug I can pretty much use one hand to plug it in while I use my other little hand for other extra curicular activities if that’s ok with you.

      • Quang

        If Apple didnt make Lightning connector, do you think we will have USB type C next year?
        Your question is a big PROBLEM for the evolution of mankind. If everyone think there is no need for innovation, there will be NO innovation at all; there will be no EVOLUTION and we just stuck with old technology.
        If we had been thinking there was no way to get to the Moon, we would not have had the first man on Moon.
        For human, there is no such thing means IMPOSSIBLE. IF HUMAN CAN IMAGINE IT, HUMAN CAN MAKE IT. Everything is possible.

      • on3simpleclick

        Apple should just license the Lightning connector for all companies to use it then. Problem solved. lol

  • http://www.whited00r.com/ Lè Andy

    Though it can benefit a lot of people. I would still prefer Lighting over Micro-USB cords.

    Lighting looks so much better and cooler (and is better.) XD

    • Sean Clark

      Micro-usb is getting updated to be smaller and reversible. The design is planned to be finalized by 2014 and this mandate cannot take effect earlier than 2017, so I doubt we will be dealing with the current version.

      Not trying to argue for or against (I’m not sure I know enough to be for or against the mandate), but I think this info is important.

  • Decio Arruda

    Non-sense. If you look at how things are now, Apple’s proprietary ports are way better than other ones. Lightning is better than lightning and is beautifully designed, Thunderbolt 2 is way faster than USB 3.0 (even thunderbolt 1 is).
    This would make it unfair for Apple and close the gap between cheap and premium products.Which is never a good thing.

    • Daniel Eliasson

      >lightning is better than lightning

      what

      • Decio Arruda

        xD I meant Lightning>MicroUSB but lost concentration…

  • jimmy little

    Assuming the EU destroys private industry innovation in the interest of settling on the lowest common denominator, what happens in a few years when micro USB goes the way of the serial port?

    • Raashid

      A new standard replaces it? Micro USB C-type sounds like a great successor…

      • on3simpleclick

        Exactly. USB C-Type will have a reversible plug, like the Lightning cable, as well as become the standard for all mobile devices.

  • Steven Honey

    hope they don’t take this kind of dictatorship and push it on other industries like automobiles…oh..too late. lol. seriously though. next we will only be able to buy one type of wheel/tire for our cars/trucks. sure it is cheaper, but what if some people would rather choose the better product over the cheaper product.

  • Stan

    i dont agree with this. my iphone 5 charges to full in less than an hour. also the reversibility of the cord is flawless. never needing to worry about inserting the cord the wrong way.

  • Hunter Green

    The 8-pin lightning connector is so much more elegant than than standard micro-USB “Android” cable. Plus, faster transfer, too.

  • Kurt

    19 euros for an adaptor…whoa

  • jose carlos

    THIS SHOULD HAVE BEEN DONE TO APPLE A HELL OF A LONG TIME AGO! THE CO. THINKS THEY ARE SUPERIOR!GOOD VERY GOOD FORCE THEM TO CHANG! KNOWING APPLE THEY WILL PROABLY TAKEIT TO COURT! JUST ABOUT EVERY CO. HAS THE MICRO USB MAKE’EM DO THE SAME!

    • Bnk Panusthitisub

      idiot

    • Rowan09

      I hate a micro USB port compared to the lightening port because it can be charged anyway. I would prefer a lightening cable standard instead or something similar. Why does Apple have to change? If I own an Apple device I only need a lightening cable so I don’t see the purpose of this law.

    • Winterz

      Apple can and probly will make a adaptor for the lighting cable. They don’t have change anything.

  • Raashid

    They could simply include such adapter in the iPhone package and the problem is solved instead of dumping the lightning port completely…

    • iOops

      You are correct. It costs Apple pennies to produce these adapters, and will take then nothing to pack them with EU iPhones when this legislation comes into affect. The whole point is allowing existing chargers and Micro USB cables to be used, which this adapter allows for, in addition to still supporting all existing iPhone peripherals.

  • Antoni

    wuuut I don’t own a single micro USB device other than my ATV 3 but I don’t count that as one. So now I have to change all my cords!!

  • Jeff Nelson

    This would be terrible. What needs to happen is everyone should have to use apples charger. It’s way better than a micro USB.

  • Winterz

    All apple have to do is make a adaptor for the lighting cable that will fit into this so called common charging point..

    • rubeN

      They already make a lightning/micro usb

  • Rick Kreuk

    As a citizen of the EU, I say: f*ck this legislation. They should do something about iOS 7 instead. Lightning>micro usb.

  • Laszlo Gaspar

    All my devices are micro usb and they all work with one charger

  • MrM0N0P0LY

    Meme time “Let’s put lightning connectors on ALL THE PHONES!”

  • igorsky

    Hey EU…enjoy your Apple USB adapters.

  • WolfgangHoltz

    Finally EU start to take action against Apple. It’s time Apple realize they need to follow EU standards.

  • http://173.58.214.169/ That’s what Siri said!!!

    Apple should include micro usb to lightning adapters with every new iPhone.

    • WolfgangHoltz

      That is ok I think, the issue is that the phone must have the Micro USB connector. If Apple throw in a bunch of adapters is just a bonus to the customers that have 30-pin cables and also Lightning cables.

  • Anonomous.TECH.man

    Good thing all my accessories are Bluetooth.

  • cunotherside

    All who reply 2 me are worthless FOOLS and I laugh at U.Hahahahaaaaaaaa

  • Toptone

    GREAT NEWS FOR THE ENVIRONMENT: no more millions of perfectly working “outdated” chargers ending up in the recycling grinder every two years just because manufacturers love lightspeed planned obsolescence.

    GREAT NEWS FOR PRACTICALITY: no more rummaging in nooks and crannies in search for the right charger with the right plug for the right phone.

    GREAT NEWS FOR CUSTOMERS: no more proprietary cables made in China for pennies and sold for 1000 times as much in “boutique” shops.

    AS FOR APPLE, SAMSUNG & al: SHUT THE FOOK UP and COMPLY! The party is over!