The Great European Micro-USB Adaptor Rip-Off

Discussion in 'iPhone Accessories' started by Veinticinco, Oct 13, 2012.

  1. Veinticinco macrumors 6502a

    Veinticinco

    Joined:
    Feb 25, 2009
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    Europe
    #1
    It's well known that EU legislation required Apple to ensure that all iPhones from 2010 could be charged via standardised micro-USB. The inference being that Apple should fall into line with the rest of the mobile phone industry in upholding ecological concerns (to minimise waste) and also acting for the consumer's benefit and convenience.

    When the 4S was released in 2011, Apple got around this by manufacturing a 30-pin dock-micro USB adapter. Not bundling it for free, but charging 10€ or £8 for it. A cheeky wink in the direction of the EU Commission.

    It was a small but nifty accessory, and like many others, I coughed up for it. Invaluable when travelling with BB (and PC)-toting colleagues, and also in car.

    Fast forward a year, October 2012, and Apple release an newly redesigned iPhone 5 with a new proprietary connector, having spurned micro-USB standard. The same Apple that were so insistent on pushing a standardised nano-SIM design (no real benefit) on the rest of the industry, yet come up with their license-or-else Lightning connector. An old dock to Lightning adaper is produced to howls of complaint about its price but defenders cite DAC chips and the like to justify the 29 notes it costs.

    But the real-ripoff goes almost unremarked upon, probably because it takes place here in Europe not in the US...

    The new Lightning-MicroUSB adapter, like its predecessor, is a even tinier and simple connector for charging only, no audio or video carry through, no DAC or similar tech required. A standard connector that European legislators by LAW said Apple HAD to make available. This thing literally costs almost nothing to produce. So they'll bundle it in all European-sold iPhones right? No. Ok then they'll charge 10€ / £8 for it again, same as before I suppose. Uh-huh. No, try doubling that price just for giggles. Yep, 20€ / £15 :mad:

    Well done Apple. Truly Tim Cook's (the beancounter's beancounter) company now. We've long become used to paying over the odds for Apple's product, but it's really an impressive feat when as the world's most valuable/profitable company, you can simultaneously give both European lawmakers and consumers the finger.

    Bravo. :mad:

    [/spleen vent]
     
  2. darster Suspended

    Joined:
    Aug 25, 2011
    #2
    What I find more appalling is government sticking their nose into every aspect of business to the point it dictates the type of cables it must use. :eek:
     
  3. Dechter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jul 11, 2010
    #3
    My understanding of the law is that it was designed to cut back on the dozens and dozens of proprietary chargers used with many different power connectors in many different countries and with many different mobile phones, not the cabling interface itself. A common interface (Micro USB), would allow charging with power supplies from almost any manufacturer. That said, providing an adapter also follows the letter (if not the spirit) of the law, that is "allow me to charge my phone almost anywhere via Micro USB."

    Additionally, the Lightning connector (and indeed the old 30-pin connector) are capable of much more than Micro USB, which is limited to basic charging/data though non-standard variations allow for additional audio and video capability (like Mobile High-Definition Link).

    That said, I agree that Apple should have included a Lightning to USB/MicroUSB adapter with every iPhone. It would have cost them next to nothing, but gained them a lot of good will.
     
  4. Daveoc64 macrumors 601

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    Bristol, UK
    #4
    We're not Americans.

    We're happy for the government to do these things.
     
  5. SwisströM macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Sep 30, 2012
    #5

    YOU are. I'm not.
    I'm happy when the government stays out of my way, especially when there absolutely no reason to intervene. Like on this case.



    The micro-usb decision or "law" is one of the dumbest thing I've ever heard in my life...
     
  6. Veinticinco thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Veinticinco

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    #6
    Absolutely my point. I have no issue with Apple using the 'adapter' model as a legal interpretation to circumvent the micro-USB EU directive whilst pushing their own (now, a new) proprietary connector.

    But to charge for it, and at DOUBLE the price of the previous adapter, is just extracting the urine. It's nothing short of extreme arrogance telling the EU Commission where to shove it, and punishing consumers in the process.
     
  7. Holoshed macrumors regular

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    Mar 24, 2011
    Location:
    North Carolina
    #7
    As an American, you made me laugh. I mean I agree with the spirit of your comment. I do wonder why Americans have such a fear of someone trying to create a unification. Here the dollar talks and the dollar is what buys off our politicians.
     
  8. Daveoc64 macrumors 601

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    Location:
    Bristol, UK
    #8
    It's not just me, it's the way things are in Europe. Our consumer protection laws and regulations are far more stringent than those in the US - I don't think the average person would want that to change.
     
  9. deannnnn macrumors 68000

    deannnnn

    Joined:
    Jun 4, 2007
    Location:
    New York City & South Florida
    #9
    Let's not turn this into a political thing. Plenty of people support their government no matter what country they live in, myself included.

    My understanding is that the lightning cable requires circuitry, even in adapters, which drives the price up. See this article posted on the front page on Thursday: http://www.macrumors.com/2012/10/11...apart-reveals-several-chips-and-copious-glue/
     
  10. Veinticinco thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Veinticinco

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    Europe
    #10
    Ha ha, says the Swiss poster, whose government are obsessively intrusive about every aspect of their citizens' lives.

    It's not "dumb", and anyway, as you're well aware Switzerland isn't governed by EU legislation. Like Norway, you're EEA not EU.

    ----------

    But that's the Lightning-30-pin adapter which as I said, requires DAC chips to support audio throughout (not video sadly, we need to wait for an HDMI adapter for that one).

    But the Lightning-micro-USB adapter is simply a point to point connector to allow charging via a standard USB cable. Nothing more. There's no "special" circuitry in there and the thing is smaller than a fingernail. So please explain the 20€ charge to me, other than Apple's greed and arrogance?
     
  11. SwisströM, Oct 13, 2012
    Last edited: Oct 13, 2012

    SwisströM macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Sep 30, 2012
    #11
    Are you ironic?

    Swiss is not a libertarian o liberist country by any means (unfortunately)... but the government intrusion is very limited compared to many EU countries.

    1) We have Bank Secrecy
    2) We have a lower tax rate than practically any other european country
    3) We have liberal laws on Euthanasia and Abortion
    4) We have a private (but mandatory) healthcare system
    5) We don't have strict rules about p2p




    WE ARE NOT EEA EITHER ... And I thank God for that too.




    Back to the topic: I really see no reason why a company should be forced to use a particular technology. Nobody is forcing you to buy an Apple device if you don't like the connection system.

    And what if in a couple months a new, non USB, non standard, connection system gets devoloped and it's revolutionary? You think government is quick enough to adapt the laws tech development?
    What if this stupid law would'have been applied to Laptop charging devices... we probably would've never seen Magsafe.

    Standardization should be done how it's always been done. By private associations, consortiums and partnerships. And let the free market decide what's best.

    How can you
     
  12. darster Suspended

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    Aug 25, 2011
    #12
    We are happy to have freedom.
     
  13. Daveoc64 macrumors 601

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    Bristol, UK
    #13
    If freedom means paying more for your iPhone and (poorer) cellular service then I'm convinced.
     
  14. Giuly macrumors 68040

    Giuly

    #14
    Well, I leave this topic to the pros.

    But I can certainly say that your iPhone charges from an USB port with the included cable.

    All you need is a Micro USB female adapter:
    [​IMG]
    and an USB gender changer:
    [​IMG]

    Which run you a total of $7 or €6, shipping included. May not look as sleek, but works and costs a fraction of the price. :rolleyes:

    Dear Chinese, here's your thousand dollar idea of the day: Make a Micro USB female to USB female adapter.
     
  15. bruinsrme macrumors 601

    bruinsrme

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    Oct 26, 2008
    #15
    Whenever the government regulates something the consumer pays for it in some way.
     
  16. Tilpots macrumors 601

    Tilpots

    Joined:
    Apr 19, 2006
    Location:
    Carolina Beach, NC
    #16
    Then don't buy the adapter. The EU aren't making you buy the adapter, right? The EU is making Apple produce the adapter at their own cost/risk, so they should have a right to charge whatever they want for it. If you think there's such a market for these adapters, start a company, produce your own and sell them at whatever price point you like.
     
  17. Veinticinco thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Veinticinco

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    Europe
    #17
    Both of which are negligible-to-zero in real terms. But yet the adaptor is not bundled in with 750€ iPhones.

    ----------

    1] Ah, the good old days. No longer the case sadly. Money laundering legislation and global pressure citing terrorism put paid to that. Not to mention the very strong likelihood of your neighbour reporting you to the tax authorities if you park a new Audi S5 up your drive.

    2] True, based on canton/region. But doesn't stop me and the vast majority of my colleagues preferring to drive a few miles home over the border into France :p

    3]-5] Again, very true.

    6] Ah, but can you take a shower after 10pm at night without breaking noise pollution laws? ;)

    p.s. EFTA apologies not EEA, but still same opt-in European when it suits you kind of thing.

    ----------

    That is so far off the irony scale it's not funny :eek:
     
  18. Smigit macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Feb 21, 2011
    #18
    Personally I don't think the government should even be involved here. Put up laws to protect the environment, sure, but they aren't reducing the production of cables if every phone manufacturer still includes a new USB cable with every phone sold anyway.

    As it is, Governments are usually slow to react to changes in technology. USB may be popular now, but in the future there will be other standards and consumers will lose out if outdated laws forced manufacturers to stick to old standards. Personally I think the laws should be there to reduce environmental impact etc of a chosen standard, but not to determine what standard itself gets adopted across an entire industry (unless there is a very very good reason for it, and in this case I don't think the argument for it is string enough. Health risks or something might justify government intervention).

    But EU aside, no one is making you use the cable. If it is too expensive, buy another lightning to USB cable. The rest of the world seems to get by fine using the supplied Apple cable, and seem to have managed for 9 years before that with the 30 pin cables. If you are travelling then I'm sure your bag can accomodate the included cable.

    If not, buy the adapter. The adapter should be good for a number of years to come.
     
  19. Veinticinco thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Veinticinco

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    Europe
    #19
    I'm trying to think of an appropriate analogy here for our American visitors to this thread but struggling so here's a completely hypothetical one....

    But say the US government passed some emergency legislation that all US iPhones needed to come with a shield (due to some contentious and scaremongering research for example) and that Apple needed to manufacture it. How would you feel if Apple then charged you $20 for the privilege?

    In hindsight, perhaps the EUC missed a trick and should have been more explicit in stating that Apple needed to bundle the adaptors. What could Apple do, refuse to sell in Europe? Yeah right.
     
  20. bruinsrme macrumors 601

    bruinsrme

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    Oct 26, 2008
    #20
    The government passes all sorts of laws that we, the consumer, end up paying for. Try to buy a car without tire pressure sensors or airbags. Those items are required by law. Car manufacturers pass the cost on to the consumer, just as apple is doing.

    Can you charge and sync your iPhone without the adapter?
     
  21. JonMPLS macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    May 23, 2010
    Location:
    MN
    #21
    If we were forced to actually buy an iPhone, I might be upset. But I bought 1 (3 actually) by choice. Plus I am liking the fact the new lightening connector is way easier to insert than any of the other connector I have had so far.
     
  22. Gav2k macrumors G3

    Gav2k

    Joined:
    Jul 24, 2009
    #22
    Op you said bb I presume your referring to a blackberry? What is on the other end of 99% of blackberrys micro USB cable? Erm yeah a standard USB. The wall charger is a standard USB.

    And the side of your laptop? Yep 2+ USB ports. Charging an iPhone these days is an easy task!
     
  23. Tilpots macrumors 601

    Tilpots

    Joined:
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    Location:
    Carolina Beach, NC
    #23
    There is no appropriate analogy. You are looking for sympathy because you want a free cable that you feel you're entitled. Apple and the EU feel differently. The cable is available to purchase. If you want one, go buy it. If you don't want one for reasons of cost, entitlement or political ones, don't purchase one.

    Sounds to me like you wanted one and bought it.
     
  24. riffola macrumors member

    Joined:
    Sep 1, 2010
    Location:
    NYC
    #24
    It's not a LAW, it's just a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU)
    http://ec.europa.eu/enterprise/sectors/rtte/chargers/story/index_en.htm

    "In June 2009, Europe's major mobile phone manufacturers agreed to adopt a universal charger for data-enabled mobile phones sold in the EU. A Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) - to date signed by 14 manufacturers [6 KB] - commits the industry to provide charger compatibility on the basis of the micro-USB connector"

    That means all Apple has to do is to have an adapter available if the consumer desires for one, nowhere does it state that it needs to give them out for free with purchase, etc. As for the price, what to do? Apple's decided anything Lightning needs to be pricey this time around.
     
  25. Veinticinco thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Veinticinco

    Joined:
    Feb 25, 2009
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    Europe
    #25
    Not sure why everyone is talking about a "free cable"??

    I appreciate those in the US probably haven't seen one of these things given they're not sold Stateside (either in store or online) so here you go, here's what 20€ buys you...

    p.s. the scale is centimetres not inches ;)

    p.p.s. Of that 12mm connector, around 6mm is 'hollow' micro-USB socket.


    [​IMG]
     

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