42 votes

Manufacturers will be forced to create a universal charging solution for phones and small electronic devices, under a new rule proposed by the European Commission

24 comments

  1. vord
    Link
    Get over it Apple (and everyone else putting out crappy wall warts that fit within USB power limits). Not having to think about grabbing a charger is amazing. I have my laptop USB C charger by the...

    Apple has warned such a move would harm innovation.

    Get over it Apple (and everyone else putting out crappy wall warts that fit within USB power limits). Not having to think about grabbing a charger is amazing.

    I have my laptop USB C charger by the end table, and I can charge my phone, laptop, tablet, Switch, Raspberry pi 4, and a portable power bank without needing a single extra connector. And none of these devices were made by the same company. Attach two usb b micro cords to the power bank and I can charge damn near any portable device I own.

    14 votes
  2. [8]
    kwyjibo
    Link
    Setting aside my distaste for governments to tell companies how to engineer their products, this looks like great news. However, this doesn't necessarily mean future iPhones will have a USB-C...

    Setting aside my distaste for governments to tell companies how to engineer their products, this looks like great news. However, this doesn't necessarily mean future iPhones will have a USB-C port. If I were to make a relatively educated guess, I'd say iPhones are much more likely to go portless than having a USB-C port.

    According to MacRumors, the latest Apple Watch has a module that enables 60.5 GHz wireless data transfer, which is only activated when the device is placed on a propriety (read "for internal use only") magnetic dock. Considering Apple's new branding of MagSafe and its charging dock for iPhones, I'd say that's indicative of what might be coming for future iPhones.

    9 votes
    1. [7]
      vord
      Link Parent
      Easy to work around though: "Open your standard so everyone else can use it for the sake of innovation or be banned from selling your devices."

      Easy to work around though:

      "Open your standard so everyone else can use it for the sake of innovation or be banned from selling your devices."

      9 votes
      1. [6]
        kwyjibo
        Link Parent
        That proposal, which I assume that's what it is since I didn't find a corresponding sentence in the filing, is nowhere near as easy. Apple can already argue that its standard is open, since...

        That proposal, which I assume that's what it is since I didn't find a corresponding sentence in the filing, is nowhere near as easy.

        Apple can already argue that its standard is open, since third-party accessories for MagSafe exist. Not to mention Apple does not limit wireless charging capability to MagSafe only, since MagSafe enabled phones are also compatible with Qi chargers. If, by some miracle EU manages to indeed force Apple to open up MagSafe (and eliminate Apple's certification process for third-party MagSafe accessories), Apple can develop new proprietary features for its own first party accessories, and if EU objects, they can just point out the open availability of its standard and that they can't be held liable for being able to innovate faster and better than other companies. I can go on.

        I realize the second paragraph sounds bullshit, because it is, but that'd be Apple's perspective. Considering EU and the US can't even get their act together on issues that are much more urgent than what kind of cables we use to charge our devices, I wouldn't hold my breath for any government entity to tell companies what kind of ports their devices should be equipped with.

        3 votes
        1. [5]
          vord
          (edited )
          Link Parent
          One way to write a policy like the sentiment I expressed above would be along the lines of: "Any standard for providing power or data transfer must be fully open for others to freely implement to...

          One way to write a policy like the sentiment I expressed above would be along the lines of: "Any standard for providing power or data transfer must be fully open for others to freely implement to reduce e-waste and improve interoperability."

          That said, I don't disagree with your assessment given the current state of things. I dislike first-party certification processes though, given they could choose at any time to stop offering certifications. An independent standards body running them would be much better (see: Z-wave). Something akin to USB-IF is probably even better (where it isn't required to use USB-C or advertise as such).

          I'm also of the mindset that innovation is not an intrinsically good thing. In many ways, phones have made massive regressions since my Galaxy S5. Yes, wireless charging is a neat trick...but also not one that justifies massive amounts of e-waste.

          4 votes
          1. [4]
            kwyjibo
            Link Parent
            I wholeheartedly agree. I had a similar thought the other day when I used an iPad Pro for the first time. I don't understand how people can stand Face ID. I'm wearing glasses and every time I had...

            I wholeheartedly agree.

            I had a similar thought the other day when I used an iPad Pro for the first time. I don't understand how people can stand Face ID. I'm wearing glasses and every time I had to download an app (which I had to do several times since I was setting it anew), I had to take them off so that it could recognize me. Apparently it doesn't work with masks too. Good thing my phone doesn't have Face ID. That'd drive me nuts. I don't feel differently about "wireless" charging.

            2 votes
            1. [3]
              Weldawadyathink
              Link Parent
              Faceid should work with glasses just fine. If it isn’t, try setting up an alternate appearance with glasses on.

              Faceid should work with glasses just fine. If it isn’t, try setting up an alternate appearance with glasses on.

              1 vote
              1. [2]
                kwyjibo
                Link Parent
                Maybe it was an iPad Pro specific thing, I don't know. (The device came with iPad OS 14.5 installed out of the box.) Unfortunately I don't have access to the device anymore, so I can't test it,...

                Maybe it was an iPad Pro specific thing, I don't know. (The device came with iPad OS 14.5 installed out of the box.) Unfortunately I don't have access to the device anymore, so I can't test it, but I'll take your word for it that it works with glasses.

                I can see how Face ID can be useful in certain situations, because Touch ID, which I like better than Face ID, has shortcomings as well, but relying on Face ID alone doesn't strike me as a great idea. I think both of these technologies should compliment one another. (Which is where Apple seems to be heading, so that's good!)

                1. Weldawadyathink
                  Link Parent
                  Honestly I agree with you about having both. Especially now that they have a power button Touch ID for the iPad line, having both would be great. I think the apple answer to that is this: “Face ID...

                  Honestly I agree with you about having both. Especially now that they have a power button Touch ID for the iPad line, having both would be great.

                  I think the apple answer to that is this: “Face ID always works, except when you are wearing a mask. And when you are, buy an Apple Watch to unlock your phone”. That isn’t a very great answer, but it sounds like something apple would say.

                  Also I just tested Face ID with large dark sunglasses on an iPhone 12 mini and iPad Pro 12.9. They are on iOS 15. They both worked perfectly. I have not setup the alternate appearance on either.

  3. [2]
    ras
    Link
    Great news, now do outlets.

    Great news, now do outlets.

    6 votes
    1. javathunderman
      Link Parent
      Out of curiosity, what would be the ideal outlet design? I'm most used to the North American one (since I'm American) but I've seen Tom Scott's breakdown of the design of the British plug and I...

      Out of curiosity, what would be the ideal outlet design? I'm most used to the North American one (since I'm American) but I've seen Tom Scott's breakdown of the design of the British plug and I think it puts the NA one to shame lol

      2 votes
  4. [2]
    Greg
    Link
    What do Apple specifically have against USB-C for the iPhone? Obviously "large company contradicts self" is hardly headline news, but they were singing its praises on the new iPad mini just a few...

    What do Apple specifically have against USB-C for the iPhone? Obviously "large company contradicts self" is hardly headline news, but they were singing its praises on the new iPad mini just a few weeks ago.

    I'd been assuming that they're just making extra profit on lightning cables, but then why not use them on the iPad as well? Why go portless (as the rumours suggest) rather than USB-C in future? There's clearly something I'm missing, but I'm not sure what it is.

    6 votes
    1. vord
      Link Parent
      Portless isn't much better if the adapters aren't standardized. Just instead of a dozen dongles it's 6 wireless adapters. Qi is fine for charging. AX wireless fine for data transfer. Use or impove...

      Portless isn't much better if the adapters aren't standardized. Just instead of a dozen dongles it's 6 wireless adapters.

      Qi is fine for charging. AX wireless fine for data transfer. Use or impove it, don't come up with a completely incompatible design for moderate improvements and lock-in.

      9 votes
  5. [2]
    mat
    Link
    I'm not an Apple user but I am curious as to whether they have actually innovated anything with their phones/tablets that requires lightning over usb-c? The early Apple connector, the big wide...

    Apple has warned such a move would harm innovation.

    I'm not an Apple user but I am curious as to whether they have actually innovated anything with their phones/tablets that requires lightning over usb-c?

    The early Apple connector, the big wide one, allowed for some device mounting that micro-usb did not - lots of nice i-thing docks existed where the connector acted as a support as well as a conduit for data/power. But given the similarity in both format and capability between usb-c and lightning I can't imagine there's anything they can do that usb-c can't.

    5 votes
    1. hamstergeddon
      Link Parent
      Lightning solved every single problem I had with micro-USB. For a time, before USB-C came along, it was innovative and vastly superior over all the other charging options for phones. But USB-C...

      Lightning solved every single problem I had with micro-USB. For a time, before USB-C came along, it was innovative and vastly superior over all the other charging options for phones. But USB-C checks all the same boxes, is ubiquitous, and is cheaper. And to add to your point, I feel like the era of "i-thing docks" is gone. Between bluetooth and just having USB-2 in, there's no reason to limit your device to just apple's by putting a lightning port on it.

      5 votes
  6. hungariantoast
    Link
    When I have my phone plugged in it's running "off AC power" instead of from the battery. Can wireless chargers similarly power the phone "from the wall" or do they only transfer power to the...

    When I have my phone plugged in it's running "off AC power" instead of from the battery. Can wireless chargers similarly power the phone "from the wall" or do they only transfer power to the battery which then discharges it to the device?

    Just asking because being able to run my phone not on its battery has been really nice.

    Of course it's not as nice as being able to set charge thresholds on my laptop so its battery is just idling while it's plugged in and not charging or discharging but we've pretty much given up control of our phones to the duopoloy so that's a pipe dream...

    4 votes
  7. [8]
    RNG
    Link
    I wonder if this law has an expiration. I love USB-C. I don't buy products that don't use USB-C. My earbuds, headphones, cellphones, laptops, Bluetooth speaker, and tablet all use USB-C. But just...

    I wonder if this law has an expiration.

    I love USB-C. I don't buy products that don't use USB-C. My earbuds, headphones, cellphones, laptops, Bluetooth speaker, and tablet all use USB-C. But just because USB-C is a great all purpose port in 2021 doesn't mean it will be in a decade.

    I support this move, but hesitantly, it could have the effect of stifling innovation when it comes time to move to a better solution. Case in point: I was a Micro-USB person for years, and was glad it was supported on most devices. I'm happy with the move to USB-C, and I may be glad to see a new standard down the road.

    4 votes
    1. [7]
      hamstergeddon
      Link Parent
      It's worth noting that USB-C is just the connector type. The underlying USB spec can change. You do can USB 2, 3, or 3.1 over USB-C, for example. So 10 years down the line it's possible that USB-4...

      It's worth noting that USB-C is just the connector type. The underlying USB spec can change. You do can USB 2, 3, or 3.1 over USB-C, for example. So 10 years down the line it's possible that USB-4 or 5 will be using USB-C connectors as well.

      4 votes
      1. [3]
        Greg
        Link Parent
        USB 4 is already specced to use the USB-C connector exclusively, in fact. I think the M1 Macs might even already support it.

        USB 4 is already specced to use the USB-C connector exclusively, in fact. I think the M1 Macs might even already support it.

        7 votes
        1. [2]
          teaearlgraycold
          Link Parent
          Isn’t it just Thunderbolt 4? If so every Thunderbolt 4 device already supports usb 4.

          Isn’t it just Thunderbolt 4? If so every Thunderbolt 4 device already supports usb 4.

          3 votes
          1. Greg
            Link Parent
            I didn't realise they were that closely linked, but I think you're right! If I'm reading correctly, all Thunderbolt 4 products support USB 4, but then Thunderbolt 4 has a few other bits thrown in...

            I didn't realise they were that closely linked, but I think you're right! If I'm reading correctly, all Thunderbolt 4 products support USB 4, but then Thunderbolt 4 has a few other bits thrown in as well.

            2 votes
      2. [3]
        Weldawadyathink
        Link Parent
        Just an FYI the usb consortium likes to change names of things. Usb 3 has been renamed to usb 3.1 gen 1, and then renamed to usb 3.2 gen 1. Usb 3.1 gen 2 has been renamed to usb 3.2 gen 2. The...

        Just an FYI the usb consortium likes to change names of things. Usb 3 has been renamed to usb 3.1 gen 1, and then renamed to usb 3.2 gen 1. Usb 3.1 gen 2 has been renamed to usb 3.2 gen 2. The faster speed created when usb 3.2 was released is called usb 3.2 gen 2x2. Yes it is super confusing.

        5 votes
        1. vord
          Link Parent
          In the end, I don't care so long as my data transfers are > USB 2.0 speeds and nothing catches on fire. :-)

          In the end, I don't care so long as my data transfers are > USB 2.0 speeds and nothing catches on fire. :-)

          2 votes
        2. hamstergeddon
          Link Parent
          Yeah they're really not helping things with their naming conventions. At least now we don't have to worry about half a dozen different connector types!

          Yeah they're really not helping things with their naming conventions. At least now we don't have to worry about half a dozen different connector types!

          2 votes