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posted by hubie on Friday October 28 2022, @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


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  • (Score: 0, Interesting) by khallow on Friday October 28 2022, @01:50AM (10 children)

    by khallow (3766) Subscriber Badge on Friday October 28 2022, @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.

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  • (Score: 3, Informative) by Anonymous Coward on Friday October 28 2022, @02:10AM (9 children)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday October 28 2022, @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 2022, @02:34AM (8 children)

      by khallow (3766) Subscriber Badge on Friday October 28 2022, @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 2022, @02:44AM

        by Anonymous Coward on Friday October 28 2022, @02:44AM (#1278901)
        Because they don't have to pay Danegeld to Apple.
      • (Score: 4, Touché) by helel on Friday October 28 2022, @02:52AM (6 children)

        by helel (2949) on Friday October 28 2022, @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.

        • (Score: 2) by agr on Friday October 28 2022, @02:16PM (5 children)

          by agr (7134) on Friday October 28 2022, @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 2022, @03:04PM (4 children)

            by Anonymous Coward on Friday October 28 2022, @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 2022, @03:58PM (3 children)

              by takyon (881) <{takyon} {at} {soylentnews.org}> on Friday October 28 2022, @03:58PM (#1279009) Journal

              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".

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              • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Friday October 28 2022, @06:21PM (2 children)

                by Anonymous Coward on Friday October 28 2022, @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 2022, @08:56PM (1 child)

                  by takyon (881) <{takyon} {at} {soylentnews.org}> on Friday October 28 2022, @08:56PM (#1279068) Journal

                  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]

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                  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Friday October 28 2022, @10:30PM

                    by Anonymous Coward on Friday October 28 2022, @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.