Several years ago, most smartphone manufacturers all began to adopt a standardised charging connector for their phones. The connector to win out was, of course, the microUSB and that can now be found on the vast majority of phones now sold, with one significant exception, Apple.
Apple have always had their own proprietary connectors, starting with the 30 pin connector first seen back in 2003 on the 3rd generation iPod’s. Apple stayed with the dock connector until they released the iPhone 5 in September of last year and switched to the Lightning Connector. The change from the 30-pin connector to Lightning caused a bit of a stir and rendered existing iPhone/iPod accessories all but obsolete.
One of the reasons Apple stuck with the dock connector for so long is that those 30-pins aren’t just for sync and charge. Not only does the connector include USB and serial connections but also video out and audio in/out. This is perhaps one of the main reasons for Apple not heading down the mini or microUSB road.
However, it now looks like Apple could be forced to use standardised connectors, at least to sell their products in the EU, as 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.
One of the reasons that the EU want to force this change is to reduce wastage from all the unused charges out there. Most people probably have more than one charger and how many of us have a drawer full from various phones we’ve owned over the years? In fact, recently, several manufacturers, in particular HTC, have started to exclude chargers from the boxes of new phones.The exact type of connector that the EU will be enforcing has not yet been decided but it seems likely that microUSB, or a compatible for of it, would be chosen.
So where does that leave Apple? Clearly they are the company to be most affected by this change and I cannot imagine that iPod and iPhone customers would be happy to give up their speaker docks, sound bars and HDMI connectors that work so well with Lightning.
So are Apple set to lose Lightning Connector or will we end up with iPhones and iPads with more than one type of connector? Time will tell but you can be sure that Apple wont take the EU ruling lying down!