EU Lawmakers Vote Overwhelmingly in Favor of Common Charging Standard, Despite Apple's Protestations [Updated]

sideshowuniqueuser

macrumors regular
Mar 20, 2016
198
216
This is the problem though. There is no mandated and constant standard voltage with USB-C devices. The power bricks themselves support a set range of V-A combinations, devices request a supported combination from the charger, with some devices outright not charging even from some chargers that exceed the wattage requirements for the device.

This is exacerbated by some cables themselves not being rated for certain charging requirements. There have been issues with type-c charging combinations damaging devices.
That's not true, USB-C most definitely does have mandated standards. It's a more complicated standard with multiple voltage possibilities, but the voltage sent from the sending device is controlled by which pins the receiving device use and provide a resistance across, which communicates to the sending device which voltage to use.

The issues with damaged devices are caused my cheap manufacturers not following the standard correctly.

Quite frankly, I'm not a big fan of USB-C and it's attempt to be one plug to rule them all. There was absolutely nothing wrong with the simplicity of USB-A ports for USB, HDMI ports for HDMI, etc. If you have a HDMI port, then you know what it is for. Whereas if you have only USB-C ports and you need HDMI, you have to know which, if any, of your USB-C ports support HDMI. Similarly you need the correct cable to support what you're trying to do, you can't just use any old USB-C terminated cable for all uses. It's a mess, not a solution. It's obfuscation, not generality.
 
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gavroche

macrumors 65816
Oct 25, 2007
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Interesting. Whilst I’m not normally one to complain or compare prices across markets, I wonder if you, as a consumer, would be so blasė if you had to pay ~$1,700US for a 256GB iPhone 11 Pro Max. I suspect not ;)
I would address my complaints to my government... if it is their policies that result in that extra cost. Complaining to citizens of other countries, as if they had a vote or any say say whatsoever in those policies, is pointless.
 

Melab

macrumors regular
Aug 9, 2011
189
7
In the one where companies should be allowed to do what they want with their own products.
Since most laws do this (e.g., patent laws, contract laws that make manufacturers abide by their promises, etc.), this is a weak complaint.
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The European Union fluctuates between passing great laws like GDPR and unnecessary laws like this one.
 
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CarlJ

macrumors 68040
Feb 23, 2004
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As for not getting better solutions that USB-C, I couldn't imagine needing a connector smaller than usb-c.
Good for you. In their respective times, peoole also couldn’t imagine needing connectors smaller than Centronics parallel connectors, DB-25 Serial connectors, and USB-A connectors. Would you have liked to have been stuck with a phone that was required by law to have any of those on it? If I understand correctly, when this legislation was first conceived, it would have mandated MicroUSB, a connector substantially inferior to either Lightning or USB-C. Would you like to be currently stuck today with a phone that was required by law to have MicroUSB?

Technology is continuing to rapidly advance. Phones are naturally converging on two standard connectors - Lightning and USB-C - instead of using the dozens of proprietary power/data connectors they used to use. This is a good thing. Apple currently has 1.5 billion active devices in use, the majority of which have Lightning connectors. Every one of those devices has at least one Lightning cable associated with it. Some have more. Lightning is a good working standard for Apple devices now (in that it does not have horrible deficiencies and is charging all those devices). Mandating an arbitrary switch to USB-C on Lightning devices now means billions of Lightning cables currently in use effectively become landfill.

Let Lightning run its course, and let Apple switch when Lightning becomes inadequate (just as when they switched to Lightning from their 30-pin connector, which had at that point become inadequate). By that time, there may be something better than USB-C, just as USB-C is now better than the MicroUSB connector that we might have gotten stuck with if this mandate happened a few years ago. The rush to mandate standardizing on one connector when the industry has already winnowed down from dozens to two, would create a huge amount of needless waste in the name of preventing waste.
 

Analog Kid

macrumors 601
Mar 4, 2003
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Thanks for taking the time to respond to many of dilbert99's posts. If you read closely, they are mostly emotional based arguments where the ends justify the means. There are numerous options on the market for people to chose. If Apple's decision to maintain Lightning is that much of a negative, then dilbert99 has the freedom and liberty to make an alternate choice for him/herself. If enough people feel the same way, it will take care of itself. Forcing that preference on the market is damaging in ways that might be unseen at this time and may never be revealed. I only wish people understood just how powerful true freedom to chose is. Is this a world changing issue, no, but it is many many little things like this where people relinquish their rights to "get what they want" in that moment (ends justifying the means) that slowly centralize and consolidate power. Then one day, there are laws that go against "what they want" and they can't understand what happened to their personal responsibility and freedom.

Let standards bodies create standards. Let companies chose to adopt those standards. Let the market (people with individual liberty) determine if those standards and choices benefit them.
To be fair, some of this is an emotional issue but @dilbert99 is also concerned about accumulating e-waste, which is a legitimate concern. I haven't read the entire 200+ page report, so maybe there's something in there to change my mind, but I’m not personally convinced that mandating a charger standard will reduce waste— I think it’s likely to increase waste in the short run as people change over and then delay the development and adoption of new waste reducing technologies.

Another proposal in the report is requiring that phones be sold without chargers. I think that could have a significant impact on e-waste. I've got USB charger bricks coming out the wazoo at this point. Don't need another and if I do buy one it would be tailored to my needs. That's a place where a government mandate could do some good-- if the EU says "can't include the charger" then Apple is more protected from claims that they're penny pinching. A surprisingly small number of people are in favor of this idea, so it would probably take a government initiative to achieve it.


There are places where government intervention is really helpful. I mentioned lead (the metal) reduction earlier— that’s a place where the EU took the lead (different word this time) with their ROHS initiative, companies complained, but in the end it was quite effective. In that case, it was expensive to change production techniques and even a progressive company that understood the public health benefits of changing their materials would hesitate because it would put them at a competitive disadvantage. There was no incentive to really innovate because the product was much the same, just less toxic. So the question was just who would go first— government intervention ensured everyone took on the cost at the same time, so no one was put at a disadvantage.

This case doesn’t feel like that at all. As you say, the charger port doesn‘t feel world changing, but the overall power system is an area of intense interest. Battery technologies, safety, fast charging, wireless charging... I don’t see where a regulation on the port shape helps us. If they’d done this 15 years ago, we’d probably be stuck with those coaxial connectors. USB didn't even officially support battery charging until 2007. If the EU regulated this too early, there'd likely have been less innovation around delivering power over USB.

We're at a similar inflection point with wireless charging now, which makes it a strange time to start mandating anything. They need to just let this play out.

Just as important as getting good ideas to market quickly is letting bad ideas fail in the market quickly. Without a free market, it’s actually really hard to determine the subtle differences between good ideas and bad.
 

s66

macrumors regular
Dec 12, 2016
122
73
For charging a phone:
the voltage is a fixed constant and is determined by the charger
Unless they support USB-PD: then the charger can supply either 5, 9, 15 or 20V

The voltage provided isn't based on which wire you use: it's changed by the charger based on a negotiation between the phone and the charger/cable (some cables can handle 5A!)

That makes USB-c dangerous if you're using el cheapo implementations, just imagine what happens if the charger decides for itself to give 20V to something expecting just 5V.

Always buy decent USB-C cables and chargers, there's too much potential for disaster if they give too much voltage.

In the end for cheap devices, it's simpler to have aless complex power supply system than USB-C (most phones don't even need the higher voltages, but they are used in e.g. a MBP, there's no way to draw nearly 100W out of a 5V supply with thin cables...

The latest USB-PD standard even allows for incremental increase in voltage in 20mV steps ... (in order to make things like constant current chargers). The communication between the device and the charger uses a data channel to do all of that.
 
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mi7chy

macrumors 603
Oct 24, 2014
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About time. Not only for the green benefits but also no more fragile and proprietary lightning.
 

mrkite77

macrumors member
May 8, 2019
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The problem will be that when USB-D comes along, the rest of the world will benefit from the new, tiny, super-high-speed connector, and the Europeans will be stuck forever on USB-C.
Except that's not true at all.. this isn't even the first time the EU has mandated a standard charger. Back in 2009 the EU got all phone manufactuers to switch to Micro USB (from a wide variety of plugs at the time). Apple got around this by using an adapter in the EU.

So why isn't the EU stuck on Micro USB? How is it that all these phones are sold with USBC in the EU? Simple, the 2009 mandate expired in 2012.

When USB-D comes along (which considering USB-A lasted over 20 years, it's going to be a very long time before that happens), this legislation won't even exist anymore.
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just as USB-C is now better than the MicroUSB connector that we might have gotten stuck with if this mandate happened a few years ago.
The irony of this comment is amazing. Is this entire forum filled with people who don't remember 2009?
 

Jim Lahey

macrumors 6502a
Apr 8, 2014
891
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I would address my complaints to my government... if it is their policies that result in that extra cost. Complaining to citizens of other countries, as if they had a vote or any say say whatsoever in those policies, is pointless.
Sure, ok. So you would never express to others that the prices in your market are much higher unless you are talking to government officials? Righto 😂

No one is blaming "citizens of other countries". What an odd interpretation.
 

H2SO4

macrumors 601
Nov 4, 2008
4,447
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If this forces the next phones to have USB-C, I think I might just box all my old cables up and ship them to the EU. It's their fault I have dozens of cables that would be rendered useless. It should be their mess to deal with.
Buy a dongle. I’m sure that Apple have loads for you to choose from.
if this would have happened sooner you wouldn’t have all of those.
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So say the legislation says all chargers have to be USB-C. A few years pass, power needs change, devices change, and USB-C is no-longer the best way to charge devices. Technology moves on all the time and it's perfectly conceivable that the charger type which probably does fit all now won't be the best, or the greenest or the smallest or .. whatever is important at that time. However because of an EU law, which would take years to change, everyone is stuck with USB-C. You might thing, it's ok, the law will be changed to allow the new charger type, but it won't, because the whole EU market requires USB-C manufacturers will have to continue supporting it and the better replacements they have ideas for will never see the light of day.

Regulations like this which look so obvious to start with and are easy political wins often end up having long reaching consequences. I think it would be good to have a recommendation about chargers or even incentives for companies who sell products without chargers which work with a standard one customers already have. This is a better way to deal with the problem than have non-engineers legislate.
Na. This would likely force the manufacturers and ‘standards bodies’ to work together. Also, just because they are politicians doesn’t mean they’re non engineers and even if they were I’m sure they’d consult a few?
 

Coconut Bean

macrumors regular
Jul 21, 2011
215
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That's not true, USB-C most definitely does have mandated standards. It's a more complicated standard with multiple voltage possibilities, but the voltage sent from the sending device is controlled by which pins the receiving device use and provide a resistance across, which communicates to the sending device which voltage to use.

The issues with damaged devices are caused my cheap manufacturers not following the standard correctly.

Quite frankly, I'm not a big fan of USB-C and it's attempt to be one plug to rule them all. There was absolutely nothing wrong with the simplicity of USB-A ports for USB, HDMI ports for HDMI, etc. If you have a HDMI port, then you know what it is for. Whereas if you have only USB-C ports and you need HDMI, you have to know which, if any, of your USB-C ports support HDMI. Similarly you need the correct cable to support what you're trying to do, you can't just use any old USB-C terminated cable for all uses. It's a mess, not a solution. It's obfuscation, not generality.
For EU the end goal is not to make USB-C one-port to rule them all, just having a standard for charging on mobile devices. Fortunately they took USB-C an otherwise very versatile port (and not create a new charging standard lol).

The reality is that everyone but very cheap devices and iPhones have USB-C now. Apple themselves were likely going to abandon Lightning in favor of USB-C (or no ports). Apple could still lock down their phones by only allowing their own cables to do data transfer, while charging is over the USB-C protocol with any charger. What raises concerns is how will this effect moving next-gen ports, my guess is that we will see a USB-C-mini as the last port ever for phones and after that go full wireless.
 

kurosov

macrumors 6502a
Jan 3, 2009
650
143
The issues with damaged devices are caused my cheap manufacturers not following the standard correctly.
The issue isn't just with cheap manufacturer's.

We've had cases of one companies flagship phone's included charger and/or cable frying other flagship devices. There are devices like the Nintendo switch that run's multiple charge modes that don't work well with some premium chargers.

The purpose of this law was to allow for complete interchangeability by enforcing USB-C usage but the very nature of USB-C makes it more complicated and completely undermines the intent of the regulation.
 

garylapointe

macrumors 68000
Feb 19, 2006
1,541
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Dearborn (Detroit), MI, USA
What a bad idea. So we'll never get a charging solution better than USB-C now. Politicians shouldn't get involved in technology, especially when they don't understand it.
I'm thinking that they did a law similar with micro-USB a few years back. But somewhere along the line, they were obviously allowed to start using USB-C.

The smart thing on a law like this would be to make it enforceable for 3-years(?) so that a new standard can emerge later. And if companies don't embrace a similar standard, then we get a new law again.
 

LuciusWrong

macrumors regular
Jun 24, 2019
214
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there's no reason any future ports can't be the same shape and compatible usb-c. Look at the improvement from usb 2 to 3 using the same shape port.

Another great thing from the EU that I really hope the UK adopts. I'm fully ready for a usb-c only life.
Didn't the UK just ditch the EU because of this kind of thing?
 

garylapointe

macrumors 68000
Feb 19, 2006
1,541
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Dearborn (Detroit), MI, USA
My issue with this is that Apple went USB-C on the laptops in late 2015 and didn't even leave a "regular" USB port, kind of forcing people to adopt, but they aren't adopting everything they make. They also put a USB-C port on the Apple TV (4th gen) in 2015!

They've put it on a few iPads, so it seems like it should be part of their plan anyway.

If you're going to adopt it, then adopt it...

MagSafe adaptors were the best!
 

PickUrPoison

macrumors 603
Sep 12, 2017
6,019
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There are billions of Lightning to USB-A cables in use right now. And a couple hundred million Lightning iPads, compared to 5-10 million USB-C iPad Pros.

Compared to the number of “switchers” between Android and Apple, the Apple installed base is huge.

There little reason for the iPhone to get USB-C even within the Apple ecosystem, let alone to accommodate 10-20 million switchers.

Lightning already supports USB-C PD for high speed charging, and supports USB3 speeds as well. There’s very little benefit to a USB-C jack on iPhone.
 

jfremani

macrumors regular
Jan 17, 2008
106
1
These authoritarian big government types are the worst.

So companies can never improve on usb-c? It must all go through the government now? So ****ing stupid. I like the lightning better than usb-c cables anyway. They snap in better, are thinner, and do not get jammed up with pocket lint.

On top of that some usb-c phone cables are not capable of powering 65w+ usb-c laptops. Should that be illegal too?
 

Melab

macrumors regular
Aug 9, 2011
189
7
These authoritarian big government types are the worst.

So companies can never improve on usb-c? It must all go through the government now? So ****ing stupid. I like the lightning better than usb-c cables anyway. They snap in better, are thinner, and do not get jammed up with pocket lint.

On top of that some usb-c phone cables are not capable of powering 65w+ usb-c laptops. Should that be illegal too?
"Authoritarian big government types" is very fevered language.
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Didn't the UK just ditch the EU because of this kind of thing?
No. Border control was the main impetus.
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I'm thinking that they did a law similar with micro-USB a few years back. But somewhere along the line, they were obviously allowed to start using USB-C.

The smart thing on a law like this would be to make it enforceable for 3-years(?) so that a new standard can emerge later. And if companies don't embrace a similar standard, then we get a new law again.
If this law is going to exist, then it should expire after two years.
 
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Jim Lahey

macrumors 6502a
Apr 8, 2014
891
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Didn't the UK just ditch the EU because of this kind of thing?
Well that's an extremely complex conversation. Brexit is different things to different people. At its core, it's about taking back sovereignty. For some, this will no doubt also encompass issues such as this. For others it won't.
 
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