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  • Will Apple Adopt the "Universal Phone Charger"?

    Image via CNET

    Apple has made it very clear that it wants to go green.

    If that's the case, some are suggesting that Apple may get a "charge" out of the standard for a universal phone charger that has just been approved by the International Telecommunication Union.

    Although it seems highly unlikely that future iPhone/iPod Touch models will be completely revamped to accommodate this "universal" endeavor, many are hopeful that Cupertino will take notice of this development, which, according to a story this weekend on CNET, is aimed at reducing our collective carbon footprint.

    The Universal Charging Solution will enable the creation of one-size-fits-all chargers that can be used on any future phone, according to the ITU. "Universal chargers are a common-sense solution that I look forward to seeing in other areas," Malcolm Johnson, director of ITU's telecommunication standardization bureau.
    If you think the environmental impact of our glut of phone chargers is minimal, think again. It's estimated that the adoption of the universal phone charger could eliminate 51,000 tons of chargers, which translates to approximately 13.6 million tons of annual greenhouse gas emissions.

    Based on Micro-USB, the new chargers will also be energy efficient.
    Obviously, cell phone makers and other tech companies are not required by law to actually do anything with the universal standard adopted. However, Sony Ericsson is already on board. And you just have to expect environmental groups to press the issue with the likes of Apple and Microsoft until they each give a definitive thumbs up... or thumbs down.

    Since phone chargers are such big business, the issue of adopting a universal charger will impact more than just the environment. It will also impact the bottom line for any company that adopts it. And that's exactly why Apple and Microsoft could decide against the universal charger for the time being.
    This article was originally published in forum thread: Will Apple Adopt the "Universal Phone Charger"? started by Michael Essany View original post
    Comments 33 Comments
    1. Rob_Quads's Avatar
      Rob_Quads -
      All Apple will do is supply an adapter for charging or have the connector on the phone for charge only. That way the universal connector is still there for all ther various things that use it. They will never get rid of that.
    1. Yingie's Avatar
      Yingie -
      FYI Apple has already sided with the universal charger together with most mobile phone players in the market when recommendations first were issued. It's no question whatsoever that Apple will follow, be it by abandoning the dock connector or by providing an adapter.

      This siding of Apple with the universal charger happened quite a while ago too.
    1. mgebara's Avatar
      mgebara -
      I think the size of the micro-usb connector is what would take it off Apple's list. Wikipedia says that the micro-usb connector is slightly thicker than 1.5mm; eyeballing my dock connector (I couldn't find reliable specifications online) I figure it to be around 1mm thick. When the new form factor for the nano came out I understood that the dock connector was pretty much what was limiting Apple from going any thinner. What would make Apple adopt a thicker standard?

      With hundreds of millions of iPods and iPhones sold, Apple would need a VERY compelling reason to change their connection standard (ie. smaller form factor, new compelling technology).
    1. symondavis's Avatar
      symondavis -
      The iPhone charger is good enough, as it's just a USB socket with a USB cable plugged into it. I charge alsorts on mine like my camera's and other USB rechargable toys.
      Don't see why Apple need to adhere to this.
    1. sungod661's Avatar
      sungod661 -
      OK first off this is the a scam in the name of "green'. how would producing another zillion chargers to replace the already existing ones benefit the environment. 2ND HAVING HAD the micro usb on other phones it is a inferior charger to the dock. the dock has a sort of lock that keeps the charger in place and it and keps the little teeth in place allowing no wiggle room. As many who have had a usb universal charger can attest over time the connection gets worse and worse.

      this is b.s
    1. Channan's Avatar
      Channan -
      I don't see them adopting it. Can you imagine syncing with a MicroUSB? Apple would have to make iPhones with two charging ports, one for their own USB, and one for the Micro. Then, what's the point in that?

      Quote Originally Posted by sziklassy View Post
      I hardly see how this would be "going green" unless of course to MAYBE reduce people's need to buy an ipod specific cable for every room of the house and their car. No matter what kind of cable they adopt, these products will come with said cable and so will anything else that uses that cable.
      Great point! It will definitely cut back on SOME chargers (say right now you have two different types of chargers and one you needed breaks: now you're forced to go out and buy another, but with this standard, you could just use another charger lying around) but I can't imagine it being too much. Unless phones start shipping without a charger and you have to go out and buy them.
    1. CaptainChaos's Avatar
      CaptainChaos -
      I think all batteries should be rechargeable too. Since we are on the green train an all.
    1. nighthawk283's Avatar
      nighthawk283 -
      I had bunch of phones that used that kind of USB and they always stop working on me, because the metal that touch the charger charge would get wore out, and i had to get a completely new phone , or i had to move the phone around for it to work
    1. qgshadow's Avatar
      qgshadow -
      Quote Originally Posted by zatpgw View Post
      Microsoft doesn't make any phones so I'm not sure why they are mentioned so many times in this article...
      they make mp3 players, as well as a new phone comming.

      Quote Originally Posted by GIRLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLL View Post
      Yeah.. I want to be different just for the sake of it.

      It will NEVER happen, it would make all iPod and iPhone accessories that use the Dock connector obsolete because if I'm not mistaken.. it would have to change for this.
      ever heard of parallel use?, they will always keep their bottom connector but can still put a micro usb connector somewhere on the product.
    1. kaaroFC's Avatar
      kaaroFC -
      I think its a good measure, but hard to be possible because of all the money and third party hardware involved...would be great to see it happening..
    1. cheekydevil1234's Avatar
      cheekydevil1234 -
      Quote Originally Posted by niqolas619 View Post
      The last two lines of the story, unfortunately, are the only words that matter to companies in general. If they can't make money off of it, and they aren't forced to do it through regulations, they feel no personal responsibility to do it.

      It sucks and is the main cause of EVERY environmental problem we have.
      The fact is they will do something about it, it is called social responsibility and environmental impact. Apple is already spending so much money and advertisement on their "going green" that this simple solution would just send them backward. I think what the story is more making a point about is the fact that there are business out their that do produce these charges, by moving to just one is a potential to place a lot of people out of work and with the current GFC it casts another small shadow. I say go for the one charger, i personally say lets look at the latest thing that Intel and apple have been working on with the light cable because we need to make sure that the cable that is implemented is one that stands the test of time
    1. aresinferno's Avatar
      aresinferno -
      Quote Originally Posted by qgshadow View Post
      they will always keep their bottom connector but can still put a micro usb connector somewhere on the product.
      Obviously you don't have a clue about apple. On their macs - why include multiple display ports when you can pick one?
      And as for on the iPhone, there simply isn't any room. We have a mic and speaker on the bottom, along with the dock. On the top we have power, sim card and audio jack. Where will they put it? The side? This is apple, they would not ruin the aesthetics just for the sake of another port. Not to mention no space inside the actual device.

      The only 3 ways I can see this being done are:

      1. No way. Never. Dock connector or bust.

      2. Adapter included or sold separately (most likely the latter).

      3. An integrated Dock-Connector-Micro-USB port. They could potentially make the dock connector slightly smaller and put a micro-USB port to the very left or right. Your standard dock connector would plug into the whole thing, using the dock connector part for everything else the phone does while utilising the micro-USB section for power and possibly data transfer. Then other micro-USB chargers could easily plug in to the micro-USB port.
      The one worry I have is which is better / superior at data transfer or charging. Generic micro-USB chargers could charge the iPhone slow compared to apple's dock connector.

      I tend to think that apple will choose option number 1, or 2 as a last resort.
    1. ecd5000's Avatar
      ecd5000 -
      but how will apple make money off this when everyone else will have the same cable., dont see this happening if it does they have some adapter piece you have to buy for their products.