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posted by hubie on Friday October 28, @12:08AM   Printer-friendly

Apple to put USB-C connectors in iPhones to comply with EU rules

Apple will ditch the Lightning connector on its iPhones, the company has confirmed, after European regulators decided all smartphones should have USB charging as standard in two years' time.

New EU rules require all phones sold after autumn 2024 to use the USB-C connector for their charging ports. The oval-shaped plugs are already standard on other consumer electronics such as e-readers, games consoles, laptops and the vast majority of new Android phones.

[...] Now, Apple's head of marketing, Greg "Joz" Joswiak, says the company is conceding defeat. "Obviously we'll have to comply, we have no choice," he told a technology conference in California.

But, he argued, it "would have been better environmentally and better for our customers to not have a government be that prescriptive".

Related:
    UK Will Not Copy EU Demand for Common Charging Cable
    USB-C to be Mandatory for Phones Sold in the EU by Autumn 2024
    Apple May Finally Fix its Flimsy iPhone Charger Cables


Original Submission

Related Stories

Apple May Finally Fix its Flimsy iPhone Charger Cables 43 comments

Apple may finally fix its flimsy iPhone charger cables:

Every iPhone user likely has had one Lighting cable fray [on] them. It's been an annoying issue, and one that's driven third-party sellers to create braided cables that can withstand more abuse.

It seems that Apple is at the very least researching ways to make its cables more resilient. According to a patent filing first noticed by AppleInsider, Apple has been working on a "cable with variable stiffness" that gets thicker toward the ports.

Lightning cables are known for having thick connector points. It's what Apple internally refers to as the strain relief sleeve. While the ends of Apple cables are meant to keep the cable from fraying, often those areas become pressure and kink points. Apple acknowledged as much in its patent filing.

"In addition to making the cable locally stiffer, the strain relief sleeve also makes the cable thicker at the ends. In some instances, the added thickness may not be desired," the patent filing reads.

To get around this, Apple is essentially designing a cable that has denser material toward the ends that tapers off. [...]


Original Submission

USB-C to be Mandatory for Phones Sold in the EU by Autumn 2024 45 comments

USB-C to be mandatory for phones sold in the EU by autumn 2024

The EU have agreed legislation, alternate link, forcing all future smartphones sold in the EU — including Apple's iPhone — be equipped with USB-C port for wired charging by autumn 2024. The rule will also apply to other electronic devices including tablets, digital cameras, headphones, handheld video game consoles, and e-readers. Laptops will have to comply with the rule at a later date.

The legislation still needs to be approved by the EU Parliament and Council later this year, but this appears to be a formality. In a press release, the European Parliament stated clearly that the law will be in place "by autumn 2024." By this date, all devices covered by the law and sold in the EU will have to use USB-C for wired charging.

EU Agrees Single Mobile Charging Port in Blow to Apple

EU agrees single mobile charging port in blow to Apple:

Apple (AAPL.O) will have to change the connector on iPhones sold in Europe by 2024 after EU countries and lawmakers agreed on Tuesday to a single mobile charging port for mobile phones, tablets and cameras in a world first.

The political intervention, which the European Commission said would make life easier for consumers and save them money, came after companies failed to reach a common solution.

Brussels has been pushing for a single mobile charging port for more than a decade, prompted by complaints from iPhone and Android users about having to switch to different chargers for their devices.

UK Will Not Copy EU Demand for Common Charging Cable 36 comments

BBC: UK will not copy EU demand for common charging cable

The UK government says it is not "currently considering" copying European Union plans for a common charging cable.

The EU has provisionally agreed all new portable electronic devices must, by autumn 2024, use a USB Type-C charger, a move it says will benefit consumers.

[....] Under the current post-Brexit arrangements, the regulation would apply to Northern Ireland, according to EU and UK officials.

DailyMail: Britain will NOT follow the EU and make USB-C charging ports mandatory on all phones – meaning Apple's 'lightning connector' will be allowed everywhere in the UK except Northern Ireland

[....] Since the EU's announcement, it had been uncertain if the decision could affect Apple products sold in the UK and other non-EU countries in Europe.

But a UK government spokesperson has told MailOnline: 'We are not currently considering replicating this requirement.'

[....] This complicates things for Apple; the firm might have to make devices with USB-C ports to sell in EU countries and Northern Ireland, as well as making devices with a Lightning ports to sell in the UK and other non-EU countries.

To simplify things, Apple could just opt to make devices with USB-C ports in the whole of Europe.

India Follows EU's Example in Requiring USB-C Charging for Smart Devices 1 comment

India follows EU's example in requiring USB-C charging for smart devices

India is on a path to require USB-C charging ports in almost all smart devices following actions taken by an inter-ministerial task force.

Rohit Kumar Sing, Secretary of the Department of Consumer Affairs, said the move is "in the interest of consumer welfare and prevention of avoidable e-waste."

The broad consensus in the meeting was that USB-C would be required for electronic devices like smartphones, tablets, and laptops – but "feature phones" could end up with a different charging option. A sub-committee was formed to determine the fate of wearable devices.

But things won't change overnight. The move toward USB-C will be done in phases to ensure industry and consumers alike have time to adapt.

Previously: USB-C to be Mandatory for Phones Sold in the EU by Autumn 2024
UK Will Not Copy EU Demand for Common Charging Cable
Apple to Put USB-C Connectors in iPhones to Comply With EU Rules


Original Submission

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  • (Score: 2) by MIRV888 on Friday October 28, @12:33AM

    by MIRV888 (11376) on Friday October 28, @12:33AM (#1278870)

    Now that's how you soft sell.

  • (Score: 4, Interesting) by sgleysti on Friday October 28, @12:53AM (12 children)

    by sgleysti (56) on Friday October 28, @12:53AM (#1278874)

    But, he argued accidentally confessed, it "would have been better environmentally and better for our customers corporate profits to not have a government be that prescriptive representative of its citizens' desires."

    • (Score: 2, Insightful) by khallow on Friday October 28, @01:26AM (11 children)

      by khallow (3766) Subscriber Badge on Friday October 28, @01:26AM (#1278877) Journal
      I would have used the phrase "cluelessly micromanaging" in place of prescriptive myself. If it has the resources to tell you what sort of connector to use, then it has too many resources IMHO.
      • (Score: 2, Touché) by Anonymous Coward on Friday October 28, @01:35AM (10 children)

        by Anonymous Coward on Friday October 28, @01:35AM (#1278878)

        Well, yeah, the public should have those kind of resources to direct the market. It makes our vote as valuable as your dollar.

        • (Score: 1) by khallow on Friday October 28, @01:44AM (9 children)

          by khallow (3766) Subscriber Badge on Friday October 28, @01:44AM (#1278883) Journal

          Well, yeah, the public should have those kind of resources to direct the market.

          The public directs the market all the time by buying stuff. And they like those shiny connectors that the EU banned.

          • (Score: 3, Insightful) by Anonymous Coward on Friday October 28, @01:54AM (2 children)

            by Anonymous Coward on Friday October 28, @01:54AM (#1278886)
            No, they like the phones Apple makes. They probably don't like those shiny connectors all that much, probably don't given them much thought until they wind up with a place where only standard USB connectors are available.
            • (Score: 1) by khallow on Friday October 28, @02:00AM (1 child)

              by khallow (3766) Subscriber Badge on Friday October 28, @02:00AM (#1278891) Journal

              until they wind up with a place where only standard USB connectors are available.

              Then got an adapter and gave it no further thought, amirite?

              • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Friday October 28, @02:47AM

                by Anonymous Coward on Friday October 28, @02:47AM (#1278902)
                Until they lose the adapter or forget to bring it, amirite?
          • (Score: 1, Insightful) by Anonymous Coward on Friday October 28, @02:17AM (5 children)

            by Anonymous Coward on Friday October 28, @02:17AM (#1278893)

            The public directs the market all the time by buying stuff.

            The top 20% does... The rest of us get scraps. Our votes are the only chance we have to direct the market, but as you can see, we are squandering that option. We could standardize batteries, chargers, and a whole lot of other stuff that are otherwise balkanized by the "market". With our votes, we can civilize the market. That is the better option.

            • (Score: 1, Disagree) by khallow on Friday October 28, @02:36AM (4 children)

              by khallow (3766) Subscriber Badge on Friday October 28, @02:36AM (#1278899) Journal

              We could standardize batteries, chargers, and a whole lot of other stuff that are otherwise balkanized by the "market".

              But that would be a waste of our votes. We don't need single standards for these things. Instead, it's a sign that government has gone off the rails that it is micromanaging this.

              • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Friday October 28, @06:12AM (3 children)

                by Anonymous Coward on Friday October 28, @06:12AM (#1278929)

                Now you're just getting all emotional, you have no rational argument against this. Sometimes the market has to be beaten with a stick to make it conform to consumer demands.

                • (Score: 1) by khallow on Friday October 28, @07:02PM (2 children)

                  by khallow (3766) Subscriber Badge on Friday October 28, @07:02PM (#1279049) Journal

                  Sometimes the market has to be beaten with a stick to make it conform to consumer demands.

                  What consumer demands? If it was important then real consumers would be demanding it.

                  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Saturday October 29, @05:01AM (1 child)

                    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday October 29, @05:01AM (#1279158)

                    If it was important then real consumers would be demanding it.

                    They are, with their vote, notice the power over the dollar(euro). The magic works

                    • (Score: 1) by khallow on Saturday October 29, @01:51PM

                      by khallow (3766) Subscriber Badge on Saturday October 29, @01:51PM (#1279204) Journal

                      They are, with their vote

                      Can't be important to them if they're not doing it with their money!

                      The magic works

                      Because we'll never want better connectors ever.

  • (Score: 4, Insightful) by helel on Friday October 28, @01:41AM (13 children)

    by helel (2949) on Friday October 28, @01:41AM (#1278880)

    On the one hand it's really the right move to make everyone use the same standard. Imagine the insanity if your appliances used different electrical outlets and you needed adapters just to plug the toaster into the wall.

    On the other hand it's a shame because the lightning port really is, imo, the superior design. Both standards feature a "tongue" that sticks into a slot. Lightning places the tongue on the cable and the slot in the device. USB, for some asinine reason, places the slot on the cable forcing the tongue to be on the device which then must be receded in or else it would stick out and be all kinds of awkward, thus making the physical size of the port and the electronics carrying it larger.

    --
    Republican Patriotism [youtube.com]
    • (Score: 0, Interesting) by khallow on Friday October 28, @01:50AM (10 children)

      by khallow (3766) Subscriber Badge on Friday October 28, @01:50AM (#1278885) Journal

      On the other hand it's a shame because the lightning port really is, imo, the superior design.

      But it wasn't a superior EU design. Remember the ulterior motive behind all this is protectionism.

      • (Score: 3, Informative) by Anonymous Coward on Friday October 28, @02:10AM (9 children)

        by Anonymous Coward on Friday October 28, @02:10AM (#1278892)
        The USB C standard was not designed by the EU. It was designed by the USB Implementers Forum, which, as far as I can see, is an industry consortium based in Oregon, and includes representatives from all across the global electronics industry. The current board of directors as of this writing has representatives from Apple (US), HP Inc. (US), Intel Corporation (US), Microsoft Corporation (US), Renesas Electronics (Japan), STMicroelectronics (Netherlands), and Texas Instruments (US), which seems to indicate that US companies have a far greater stake in the USB standards as opposed to the EU. USB-C is an open industry standard, as opposed to Lightning, which is proprietary to Apple. If there is any protectionism here, it's on Apple's side, which is using its market power in phones to add a spurious proprietary connector design to the market.
        • (Score: 1) by khallow on Friday October 28, @02:34AM (8 children)

          by khallow (3766) Subscriber Badge on Friday October 28, @02:34AM (#1278897) Journal

          The USB C standard was not designed by the EU.

          Point is that going to a USB C standard would be better for EU manufacturers than going to a Lightning Connector standard would be.

          • (Score: 2, Informative) by Anonymous Coward on Friday October 28, @02:44AM

            by Anonymous Coward on Friday October 28, @02:44AM (#1278901)
            Because they don't have to pay Danegeld to Apple.
          • (Score: 4, Touché) by helel on Friday October 28, @02:52AM (6 children)

            by helel (2949) on Friday October 28, @02:52AM (#1278904)

            Apple's still going to manufacture their phones in China and India. This isn't about protectionism. This is about reducing electronic waste and protecting customers from vender lock in.

            I know it's hard to imagine since we live in an oligarchy but some governments just do things that are good, at least once in a blue moon.

            --
            Republican Patriotism [youtube.com]
            • (Score: 2) by agr on Friday October 28, @02:16PM (5 children)

              by agr (7134) Subscriber Badge on Friday October 28, @02:16PM (#1278991)

              How does a $15 charging cable (the only difference between Lightning and USB-C) lock any consumer in? And how does obsoleting hundreds of millions of Lightning cables reduce electronic waste?

              • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Friday October 28, @03:04PM (4 children)

                by Anonymous Coward on Friday October 28, @03:04PM (#1279002)

                Is that the only difference? I have a Macbook and I bought extra USB-C cables (because I thought the same and wanted to save the $15) and the laptop knows the difference. There seems to be a lot of black box magic with cables these days as chargers seem to know whether the USB cable you've plugged in can handle the "fast charge" currents or not.

                • (Score: 2) by takyon on Friday October 28, @03:58PM (3 children)

                  You can still fry a device today by e.g. plugging a non-compliant 12V USB-C charger into it. So clearly not everything has the right "magic".

                  --
                  [SIG] 10/28/2017: Soylent Upgrade v14 [soylentnews.org]
                  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Friday October 28, @06:21PM (2 children)

                    by Anonymous Coward on Friday October 28, @06:21PM (#1279039)

                    Do you have any idea how the computer knows? The only thing I've found with a little searching is "look for the lightning bolt" printed on the end or "plug it in and try it," both of which are not very satisfying answers. If it's not the case that there are extra conductors in the Thunderbolt cable, then it must be doing something like data throughput or maybe current testing?

                    • (Score: 3, Informative) by takyon on Friday October 28, @08:56PM (1 child)

                      Short story, the cables need to have microchips in them to negotiate with devices. Also, Thunderbolt has been merged into USB as of USB4.

                      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/USB-C#USB_Power_Delivery [wikipedia.org]

                      USB 3.1 cables are considered full-featured USB-C cables. They are electronically marked cables that contain a chip with an ID function based on the configuration channel and vendor-defined messages (VDM) from the USB Power Delivery 2.0 specification. Cable length should be ≤2 m for Gen 1 or ≤1 m for Gen 2. The electronic ID chip provides information about product/vendor, cable connectors, USB signalling protocol (2.0, Gen 1, Gen 2), passive/active construction, use of VCONN power, available VBUS current, latency, RX/TX directionality, SOP controller mode, and hardware/firmware version.

                      [...] USB Power Delivery uses one of CC1, CC2 pins for power negotiation between source device and sink device, up to 20 V at 5 A. It is transparent to any data transmission mode, and can therefore be used together with any of them as long as the CC pins are intact.

                      https://www.anandtech.com/show/8539/usb-power-delivery-v20-and-billboard-device-class-v10-specifications-finalized [anandtech.com]

                      Another change is that all devices must now negotiate the amount of power required, and that can be renegotiated if another devices requires additional power. A good scenario would be if you have a laptop, and you are charging your phone on one of the USB ports. The phone would be pulling the maximum amount of power it can in order to charge quickly. If you then plug in a USB RAID array, it will need additional power at the start in order to get all of the disks spinning, but then can be lowered to a steady state. The system can lower the power delivery to the phone, provide it to the RAID array, and then move it back to the phone when the power is available.

                      https://www.anandtech.com/show/16712/usbc-power-delivery-hits-240w-with-extended-power-range [anandtech.com]


                      In the fixed voltage scheme, the Standard Power Range (SPR) mode supports 3A and 5A at 5V, 9V, 15V, and 20V. The 3A configuration supports between 15 and 60W. The 5A scheme requires a specific type of cable and can supply up to 100W. The new Extended Power Range (EPR) mode supports all voltage and current combinations of SPR, and also includes 5A supply at 28V, 36V, and 48V, allowing for support up to 240W.

                      In the programmable power supply (PPS) scheme available in SPR mode, currents are limited by the source and the cable's advertised capabilities. While the programmed voltage ranges track the ones in the fixed voltage scheme, the actual voltage may vary between 3.3V and 5.9V (for the 5V setting), 11V (for the 9V setting), 16V (for the 15V setting), and 21V (for the 20V setting) in steps of 20mV.

                      In the EPR mode, the AVS model allows for the voltage to be adjusted between 15V and one of 28V, 36V, or 48V in steps of 100mV depending on the negotiated EPR contract. The source and sink need to enter this specific EPR mode and the cable between them also needs to support EPR for these new voltages to be enabled.

                      EPR specifications keep safety in mind by allowing sources to scale back to 5V with a hard reset in case of unresponsive downstream sinks. The sink is also required to keep up periodic communication with 'keep-alive' messages to the source in this mode.

                      Cables supporting EPR need a compulsory electronic marking indicating EPR compatibility using 'EPR Mode Capable' bit set. Standard Power Range cables (SPR) support only up to 100W PD.

                      https://hackaday.com/2019/10/18/usb-power-delivery-for-all-the-things/ [hackaday.com]

                      https://www.ti.com/interface/usb/type-c-and-power-delivery/overview.html [ti.com]

                      There are a variety of helpful logos meant to confuse inform you about power capabilities:

                      https://www.tomshardware.com/news/usb-if-reveals-new-usb-type-c-power-rating-logos [tomshardware.com]
                      https://cdn.mos.cms.futurecdn.net/2xNtvPTedv872deRFgkopb-970-80.png.webp [futurecdn.net]

                      --
                      [SIG] 10/28/2017: Soylent Upgrade v14 [soylentnews.org]
                      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Friday October 28, @10:30PM

                        by Anonymous Coward on Friday October 28, @10:30PM (#1279090)

                        Thanks. I keep forgetting about microelectronics in those tiny backshells these days. I'm surprised there haven't been more security exploits that come from that.

    • (Score: 2) by drussell on Friday October 28, @08:39PM (1 child)

      by drussell (2678) Subscriber Badge on Friday October 28, @08:39PM (#1279064) Journal

      There is absolutely no reason they couldn't put more than one damn port on a phone...

      How much could it possibly cost for them a lightning connector AND a USB-C on their $1000 phone?!

      GASP! You might be able to charge AND connect another separate accessory at the same time without an expensive adapter?!!

      No, you're not allowed to have more than one port?!! No headphone jack for you!

      • (Score: 2) by takyon on Friday October 28, @09:04PM

        It's best to have a USB-C port centered on the bottom so it can be compatible with things like the Razer Kishi. But I'd like to see 2 USB-C ports and a headphone jack down there on phones. And tablets/2-in-1s should have more than one port, no excuses there.

        Lightning + USB-C on the bottom is an inelegant solution for Apple so they wouldn't do it. Also, maybe they would need to do something special to keep people from frying the phones with that setup?

        --
        [SIG] 10/28/2017: Soylent Upgrade v14 [soylentnews.org]
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