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iPhone 5 Scorns Standards Promise To European Commission 543

Posted by Soulskill
from the we-have-found-that-customers-enjoy-paying-money dept.
WebMink writes "Back in 2009, Apple signed an agreement aimed at reducing electronic waste resulting from mobile phone accessories. But this week's launch of the iPhone 5 shows them reneging on that commitment. Instead of including a micro-USB connector on the iPhone, as they agreed to do along with the rest of the phone industry, they created yet another proprietary connector. At a stroke, they have junked earlier iPhone accessories, forced a new industry in Apple-only accessories to arise and broken their promise to the EC. It's a huge missed opportunity both for their customers and for the environment."
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iPhone 5 Scorns Standards Promise To European Commission

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  • RTFA (Score:5, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday September 14, 2012 @05:59PM (#41340669)

    From TFA:

    "Which is the agreed common interface?

    On the basis of the Micro-USB interface, the companies have agreed to develop a common specification in order to allow for full compatibility of chargers and mobile phones. These specifications have been translated in European standards.

    N.B.: The agreement allows for the use of an adaptor."

    Apple supplies adaptors, therefore they're not "scorning" the agreement.

  • by petteyg359 (1847514) on Friday September 14, 2012 @06:01PM (#41340695)

    Hardly. Any "smart phone" has plenty of CPU power to be a USB host, and various Android devices have been promoting that feature for several months.

  • by icebike (68054) * on Friday September 14, 2012 @06:06PM (#41340779)

    Wouldn't using USB make this a major challenge for the companies building the accessories?

    There are no shortage of accessories for Android phones, so I guess the answer to your question is and emphatic NO.

    There are a small handful of USB compatible sockets that allow charging with a standard USB charger, even though a slightly different cable can do additional things, such as direct HDMI tv connections, allow you to mount disk drives and thumb drives to the phone, etc.

    The idea is that if you forgot your charger cable, you could still charge your phone without buying a high priced proprietary charger. Any cheap USB charger cable would do.

    The fact that you couldn't dock with your bedside speakers was never the issue. Most people don't travel with those.

  • My pet peeve... (Score:5, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday September 14, 2012 @06:07PM (#41340807)

    The proprietary connector, whether it's the old one or the new one, is the reason I don't buy Apple gadgets (although I do buy and love Apple's laptops). The recent development that all devices use microusb for charging is the best thing ever. I can charge my Kindle, cellphone, cordless mouse, and bluetooth hands-free, all with the same, omnipresent standard cable.

    A couple of years ago, I worked in a small desert town in Iran. I had forgotten to bring the Apple cord for my iPod Touch. I had any number of "normal" usb cords available, including micro and mini, but there was no place where I could get hold of an Apple cord. My iPod was useless. I can't believe they still haven't wised up to the idea of a standard connector.

    Certainly a pet peeve of mine. If it wasn't for the stupid connector, my awesome Macbook Pro would be connected to an iPhone right now, instead of to a Galaxy S3.

  • by kenorland (2691677) on Friday September 14, 2012 @06:09PM (#41340823)

    Android devices not only support USB Host (and support it well), the same micro-USB connector is also used for HD video and audio via MHL. Samsung shows that you can make a micro-USB connector that allows simultaneous micro-USB, charging, and MHL connections.

  • Re:Fuck Apple. (Score:5, Informative)

    by icebike (68054) * on Friday September 14, 2012 @06:23PM (#41341021)

    I have Android and can do the same thing without the proprietary connector.
    Wait, I don't need a connector at all. Bluetooth.

  • by Master Of Ninja (521917) on Friday September 14, 2012 @06:23PM (#41341023)
    This is just another misleading story - Apple actually has complied by providing an adaptor for charging. They specification that they are adhering to is the Common External Power Supply [wikipedia.org] and allows the use of adaptors. They already have on for older type of dock connector. I suspect Apple has valid reasons as they want data transfer to be as fast as possible with their proprietary adaptors, but still allow micro-usb charging if people want it.
  • Re:RTFA (Score:5, Informative)

    by Anubis IV (1279820) on Friday September 14, 2012 @06:27PM (#41341061)

    Apple supplies adaptors, therefore they're not "scorning" the agreement.

    Exactly correct. This agreement has already been in place for years, as the summary was quick to point out, but they failed to note the fact that Apple has been complying all along by including adapters. You can expect the same to be true for the iPhone 5 as well.

    And even if they had they changed to micro-USB, they would have exactly the same problems as the ones being cited in the summary, so this strikes me as a bit of a double standard. Since the data handling via USB on smartphones is not standardized, meaning that there is not necessarily any interoperability between devices with a particular accessory, you'd still have an industry dedicated to making Apple-specific accessories, simply due to the volume of devices that they could work with. Similarly, you would have rendered all of the previous accessories obsolete by moving to a new standard, and you'd have also been forced to introduce a new adapter. Also worth noting is that micro-USB is incapable of charging an iPad [brockerhoff.net] according to that article, which this new dock connector will surely be used for.

    The only argument left from the summary is that they've broken their promise to abide by the standard, and as you aptly pointed out, that is untrue.

    Considering how often this stuff has come up on Slashdot (particularly with the fact that it was a major point of discussion when the new dock connector leaked a few weeks back), I'm surprised it's not common knowledge on Slashdot how Apple has handled that agreement, even for our non-European friends.

  • by fluffy99 (870997) on Friday September 14, 2012 @06:31PM (#41341107)

    Technically, Apple IS compliant.

    From the agreement at http://ec.europa.eu/enterprise [europa.eu]
    Undertaking 4.2.1 states that “if a manufacturer makes available an Adaptor from the Micro-USB connector of a Common EPS to a specific non-Micro-USB socket in the Mobile Phone, it shall constitute compliance”. Annex II futher states that “An EPS provided with a detachable cable shall be equipped with a USB Standard-A receptacle. Above requirement also applies to detachable cables used as adaptor i.e. where the Micro-B is replaced by a proprietary plug”

    Switching to just a micro-USB would have been stupid as you can't get analog audio or HD video through USB 2.0. Still I feel for all the people who've invested in accessories that use the standar Apple 30-pin. Expensive accessories like docks, iHome clocks, etc.

  • by SuperKendall (25149) on Friday September 14, 2012 @06:40PM (#41341237)

    I have to make a correction here. Apple doesn't SUPPLY the adapter, but it does make one available for you to BUY

    In the EU they DO ship with a Lightning->MicroUSB port.

    You are probably thinking about the U.S., where it does NOT ship with a Lightning->iPod 30-pin adaptor. But it does ship with a Lightning->USB cable to connect to any standard USB port... if you can connect to a standard USB port already does it matter so much if there's an adaptor? It's mostly for accessories.

  • by Anubis IV (1279820) on Friday September 14, 2012 @06:41PM (#41341247)

    The law also doesn't say what the summary claims it says.

    It specifically allows [europa.eu] for adapters to be used, and Apple has had a micro-USB adapter [apple.com] available for quite awhile now that complies with the standards that have been set.

  • by SScorpio (595836) on Friday September 14, 2012 @06:44PM (#41341303)

    Or they could be the Samsung Galaxy II and III and support MHL.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mobile_High-Definition_Link [wikipedia.org]

    MHL supports power to the device, CEC standard remote control for media playback control, 1080p uncompressed video, and 8 channels of uncompressed audio.

    The only issue with MHL is that Apple doesn't paid any royalties for every device that uses the connector. The Roku Stick which is a full Roku that is the size of a large thumb drive is pretty neat as well.

  • by Jerslan (1088525) * on Friday September 14, 2012 @06:45PM (#41341321)
    Dock's weren't the only accessory that used that connector. Example: I have a dongle for connecting to Ant+ sensors (Heart-Rate, Cadence, Stride, etc..). That's not going to charge it while consuming the extra power.
  • by SternisheFan (2529412) on Friday September 14, 2012 @06:47PM (#41341351)
    Someone posted some interesting points in the linked article, I've pasted it here. ( Don't shoot the messenger who is an android fan.) Discuss... *** “Apple has reneged on that commitment to the European Commission to change to micro-USB”. This is simply false. Undertaking 4.2.1 states that “if a manufacturer makes available an Adaptor from the Micro-USB connector of a Common EPS to a specific non-Micro-USB socket in the Mobile Phone, it shall constitute compliance”. —http://ec.europa.eu/enterprise... Annex II futher states that “An EPS provided with a detachable cable shall be equipped with a USB Standard-A receptacle. Above requirement also applies to detachable cables used as adaptor i.e. where the Micro-B is replaced by a proprietary plug” —http:// ec.europa.eu/enterprise... Apple’s decision not to use a Micro-USB connector is in keeping with the agreement, as they also offer a Micro-USB to Lightning adaptor. Their charger also appears to be a common EPS, so that any USB-A to Micro-USB cable can be used with it to charge any other compliant phone; and the iPhone 5 can be charge from any other common EPS with a detachable cable (i.e. with a USB-A port, as per the standard."
  • by Coolhand2120 (1001761) on Friday September 14, 2012 @06:49PM (#41341369)
    Not sure if you knew this fluffy99, but the new connector doesn't support analog either. Also, it's proprietary, so it really fucks everyone good. Not sure if you enjoy watching everyone get fucked, but that's what proprietary connectors do. Besides, fluffy, what's wrong with digital audio and digital video? It's coming off a DAC anyhow, why not just avoid the generation loss that you would incur from unnecessarily converting it to analog?
  • by ericloewe (2129490) on Friday September 14, 2012 @06:49PM (#41341373)

    Switching to just a micro-USB would have been stupid as you can't get analog audio or HD video through USB 2.0. Still I feel for all the people who've invested in accessories that use the standar Apple 30-pin. Expensive accessories like docks, iHome clocks, etc.

    Analog audio is easily available from the 3.5mm jack they moved right next to the new dock connector. HD video is easily available through HDMI (mini or micro, both of which have cheap adapters to full-size HDMI) or MHL, which can be implemented in a microUSB connector. USB handles all other data you might need.

    As you see, there's no reason to use something proprietary, especially if you won't be supporting analog video out anymore.

  • by msauve (701917) on Friday September 14, 2012 @07:02PM (#41341473)
    "The law wasn't a suggestion."

    The law isn't even a law (or regulation, for that matter). It's a voluntary agreement ("Memorandum of Understanding [europa.eu]").

    Secondly, the agreement only covers phones which "Supports USB user data handling as defined in 'Universal Serial Bus Specification'". Although there are no details available on Apple's new connector, it's possible that it doesn't handle USB directly, but relies on a conversion chip in an external adapter. That would place Apple in compliance with the MoU.

    The MoU also allows adaptors [sic] to be used - "An 'Adaptor' is defined as a device with a Micro-USB receptacle/plug connecting to a specific non Micro-USB connector. For clarification: an Adaptor can also be a cable."
  • Re:Fuck Apple. (Score:5, Informative)

    by Guspaz (556486) on Friday September 14, 2012 @07:44PM (#41341797)

    Micro USB doesn't meet all of Apple's requirements. They've been pretty mum about what and how they're using the new connector, but micro USB is certainly not orientation independent, and the traditional connector you find on smartphones is limited to low speed (USB 3.0 uses a different and much larger micro connector). It's hard to figure out if Apple's decision to go their own way for a dock adapter is justified, but I'd point out that the last time they came up with a new and proprietary connector... the entire industry adopted it. I'm referring to mini displayport, which Apple developed as a proprietary variant on DisplayPort, but made it royalty free and got it into the DisplayPort standard itself.

    Connectors are not automatically evil just because they're developed by Apple, and designed-by-committee standards are not always the best solution to a company's individual problems. If DisplayPort had been the end-all be-all connector, then we wouldn't have seen miniDP largely supplant it.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday September 14, 2012 @07:56PM (#41341905)

    MHL doesn't fix anything in this department--especially because the S III breaks compatibility with a new and different connector itself. From your own link:

    "The Galaxy S III is the first MHL device to use a different connector - one that is not compatible with all other MHL devices and accessories.[13] Consumers had assumed that the MHL branding implied some sort of compatibility so they were surprised when MHL accessories did not work with the Galaxy S III[14] (the incompatibility is due to the S3 using an 11 pin connector rather than a 5 pin)."

    One day, there might be a stable, standardized way for the industry to achieve what Apple did with the dock connector. MHL isn't that alternative, though, nor is it a complete replacement for all function of Apple's connector. It'd be nice if Apple opened theirs to everyone else, but Apple's not nice all that often, so there we are.

  • Re:Fuck Apple. (Score:3, Informative)

    by Lumpy (12016) on Friday September 14, 2012 @08:01PM (#41341961) Homepage

    You seem to be uneducated.

    iPhone 5 us usb 3.0 usb 3.0 DOES NOT HAVE A STANDARD MINI CONNECTOR.

    Or would you rather they made it a slow turd like all the phones with usb 2.0 I certianly dont want a super slow usb 2.0 to copy my 64 gig of video and audio files over. or to extract the video recorded at 1080p.

    The next google Nexus phone will not have a mini usb connector on it, will you go all frothing at the mouth at google?

  • Re:My pet peeve... (Score:3, Informative)

    by Guspaz (556486) on Friday September 14, 2012 @08:40PM (#41342319)

    Your Samsung Galaxy S3 also doesn't have a standard connector. It has a wonderful proprietary 11-pin connector that they can't legally call micro USB.

  • by CODiNE (27417) on Friday September 14, 2012 @09:16PM (#41342603) Homepage

    But can you put 10W over a micro-USB cable? If you charge an iPad over a normal USB plug it takes forever. The iPad power plug goes way over normal USB spec. Using their own connector means they can do crazy stuff like that without worrying about frying other devices it might plug into.

    I totally agree they overcharge though.

  • Re:Fuck Apple. (Score:5, Informative)

    by Guspaz (556486) on Friday September 14, 2012 @10:14PM (#41342995)

    They agreed to no such thing (The EU's voluntary agreement gives other options, which Apple took). They've done enough unscrupulous things that you don't need to make stuff up.

  • by BasilBrush (643681) on Friday September 14, 2012 @10:39PM (#41343155)

    Do you honestly think Apple's little dongle you must pay for is according to the spirit of that directive?

    Given that it explicitly allows companies to satisfy the directive with an adapter, yes. Did you honestly believe anyone would believe you'd read the directive?

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