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Apple to drop Lightning connector as standardised phone chargers are approved?

Luke Johnson


iPhone 5C
iPhone 5C

A European Union Parliament Committee has voted to standardised smartphone power connectors, meaning Apple could be forced to drop its Lightning port connection.

With a move to standardised mobile chargers having been the subject of much discussion in recent months, a committee within the European Union Parliament has this week voted unanimously to introduce a law that would force all smartphone makers to adopt the same charger type.

A move that is looking to reduce waste from unused chargers, the ruling from the internal market and consumer protection committee still needs to pass through the European Council and be approved by Parliament before it is enforced.

With most Android and Windows phone handsets, including the market leading likes of the Samsung Galaxy S4, HTC One and Nokia Lumia 1020 being charged by microUSB, the ruling would likely have the biggest effect on Apple.

Having introduced its current Lightning connector alongside the iPhone 5 last year, Apple has adopted its own portable device chargers for a number of years, with the iconic 30-pin connector having been Apple’s charger connection of choice for 9 years previously.

Despite the Lightning connector offering faster file transfers and a simpler, either side up connection type than microUSB, it is unlikely that Apple’s port type would get the nod as the universal connection of choice in Europe.

Although the European Parliament committee has yet to outline what connection type would become the standard, it has been suggested that tablets could join smartphones under the new ruling.

Could the new connector standard be coming to the iPhone 6? Watch this space.

Read More: iPhone 5S review

Via: TechRadar

Mark Bray

September 29, 2013, 10:20 am

Too little to late. While I agree it is quite sensible in one way, most chargers I have had recently have been a USB and a seperate lead. My iPod touch only came with the lead, other phones and tablets I have had don't follow suit and have chargers. Legislation should target the electrical size or capacity of chargers available, of perhaps put specific USB connectors on electrical outlets in your houses

Tor Ivan Boine

September 29, 2013, 1:24 pm

dont see the problem? all chargers use USB right? the only difference is the cable that apple use. which is not wielded onto the charger.


September 29, 2013, 3:49 pm

That can only be good news. Wouldn't it be nice to go any where and not worry too much when you run out of juice. At present the iPhone uses two different types of connections and that is so annoying when you ask to charge your iPhone and they say yes we have one but it's the wrong type..


September 29, 2013, 4:54 pm

The Lightning connector is much more advanced than the old microUSB.

1) It is smaller than the microUSB connector, which helps reduce the overall size of products

2) Unlike the microUSB, there is no "right side up" for the Lightning connector, giving the user an easier time plugging in

3) Most importantly, the Lightening connector can charge a battery MUCH FASTER than you can using a microUSB connector.

What's next? The EU telling everyone they have to go back to using 5" floppy disks???

Michael Brian Bentley

September 29, 2013, 6:35 pm

The EC would be able to standardize AC power adapters by just taking the strong hint from industry and formalizing what companies have been doing for the last few years, which is put a USB connector on the AC adapter, and let the phone manufacturers provide an appropriate cable as needed. This frees up device engineering to incorporate whatever data capabilities are needed on the phone.

The article seems unclear...

Freddie John Millman

September 29, 2013, 7:42 pm

Nice solution, just use a lightning to microusb adapter?


September 29, 2013, 8:05 pm

The lightning connector also has a positive detent when it is fully inserted.


September 29, 2013, 9:38 pm

I usually make sure I have a charger with me always or at least the cable with USB. The biggest problem however when traveling is not the smartphone charger port, but the mains outlet being so different. Wondering why EU doesn't address this bigger source of waste.


September 29, 2013, 9:42 pm

Politicians are nearly always people with art or humanities degrees who don't have a clue about technology. Making chargers use a USB outlet rather than insisting on a USB connector on the end of the wire is the obvious and cheapest solution, but it would be impossible to explain to the average politician, so don't hold your breath.


September 29, 2013, 9:55 pm

What if the EU just stipulated that a USB Plug typ charger was the standard. The manufacturer could put what ever connector on the other end it desired. It seems to me this charge port is showing up in wall ports cars etc. anyway. Why push a connector end for charging. Micro USB could become antiquated for data throughput very quickly.

Martin Turner

September 30, 2013, 1:45 am

I suspect that the result will be that all devices will have to work off USB chargers. The decision relates to the charger, which is the bit which is hard to recycle. To actually specify an old standard like micro or mini USB-2 would fall foul of EU competition laws.


September 30, 2013, 7:22 am

I'm sure it will just mean USB wall warts, which Apple already produce. I doubt very much they will change from Lightning after just a year. And the amusing thing is that I've found my iPhone to be very happy to charge from any USB port or AC brick, whereas my last two Blackberrys (provided by work - I hate the things), despite their "standardised" micro-USB power connectors, have been very picky - don't work with an iPhone AC adaptor; won't charge from the USB on my laptop; won't charge from my 12V car USB adaptor. It's retarded.


September 30, 2013, 8:07 am

I noticed something similar with a Nokia Lumia 710. Normally it will charge off anything. But, if the phone has gone completely dead, then only the original Nokia charger will bring the phone back to life. I have tried a selection of USB phone chargers and various phone manufacturer supplied cables, an Anker battery pack, PC USB port etc - none will work. Not sure what is going on there, but it is a right pain in the behind.


September 30, 2013, 9:24 am

As an HTC One owner, the world would be a better place if they actually used Lightning, it's a far superior port!

However, I'd really like the EU Guidelines to stipulate what type of wireless charging will be the default. That'd be much nicer!


September 30, 2013, 11:04 am

I think you'll find they have. Phone and electric sockets are now standard across the EU (apart from in Britain!).

But the voltage is double that in the USA.


September 30, 2013, 12:09 pm

The Note 3 has the new micro USB 3 port. A more hideous port I haven't seen in a long time.

nigel coldwell

September 30, 2013, 2:16 pm

fortunately it is backward compatible.

nigel coldwell

September 30, 2013, 2:17 pm

How does 'Lightning connector offering faster file transfers' than USB? when connected to a USB host?


October 2, 2013, 9:18 am

I have phones that use both microUSB and Lightning ports. I am definitely not an Apple fanboy, but, I really like the Lightning port and wish my Android phone had one. It's far more robust than the delicate microUSB. I think the design has been thought out really well and I wish all other devices used this plug. Especially in darker conditions, I find the microUSB painful to plug in sometimes and the Lightning port has none of those problems, plus the terminals are easy to clean. I've had situations where microUSB plugs need wiggling sometimes to make it work. I've also heard of a friend accidentally breaking off microUSB plugs, I would think I'd need a pair of pliers to do that to a Lightning plug. I would hope the superior technology would get the nod but I fear that will not be the case. Apple could always leave the Lightning port and add an extra microUSB port to get around the rules, but that would take up precious space.


February 9, 2015, 7:35 pm

Make Android switch to lightning.

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