So, it looks like the proposed legislation from 2010 that had the backing of most smartphone manufacturers hasn’t actually been adopted. That legislation appears to have returned once again to the European Parliament and it appears to have already overwhelmingly passed a regulation that would require a universal connector by 2017. Considering that almost every single smartphone manufacturer with the exception of Apple already utilizes the same connector, the MicroUSB and that MHL enables 4K video through a MicroUSB connector, there are very few arguments against such a move.
Obviously, there will be a lot of resistance from Apple since they have never actually adopted an industry standard connector for their phones since their inception. They are currently on their lightning cables for their smartphones and tablets and while the legislation is currently only a draft law, it appears that Europe’s council of ministers will likely approve the regulation as they have indicated that they have already given it their informal backing. The real truth is that the people that stand to lose the most are Apple and all of their accessory manufacturers that design specifically for Apple.
Personally, I’m amazed that it has taken this long for the European Parliament to get to this point and that we don’t have something similar in the United States. There is nothing about Apple’s own lightning connector that makes it superior to MicroUSB and there is a good chance that there may be a MicroUSB Type-C connector by 2017 in devices that would likely make MicroUSB superior in every way. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve had to rescind my offer to top up someone’s iPhone because my chargers didn’t have a lightning connector. Which is also part of the problem, Apple is absolutely Nazi when it comes to controlling who uses their connector and as a result there simply aren’t very many accessories on the market that support lightning.
With MicroUSB, almost every single smartphone manufacturer now supports the standard voluntarily. Lenovo, Motorola, Samsung, HTC, Nokia, Huawei, LG, Xiaomi, ZTE, Sony and even Blackberry as well as many many others all support MicroUSB as the primary means of charging and data transmission. Apple is quite literally on their own here, and that’s what I believe the European Parliament wants to change because those are the connectors that are consistently causing waste and becoming a problem for consumers and the environment. Normally, I don’t really think it is a good idea for government to intervene in business matters, especially in terms of technology but it is really hard to argue against their position unless you’re an Apple or an Apple Fanboy, many of whom I think would also support this legislation.