Apple enjoys trendsetting, but they also love consistency. A recent agreement with the European Union may mean Apple loses some of that consistency to add standardized USB to the iPhone.
Almost every portable device from Apple uses a proprietary 30-pin connector that provides power, audio, video and syncing capabilities. While it provides great functionality, it means that you have a unique cable just for Apple devices. The large number of proprietary connectors have led to there being approximately 30 different chargers for phones sold in Europe. Europe has been paying much closer attention to power usage in electronic devices, and chargers in particular. If a household has seven devices with seven different types of chargers, they likely will keep seven chargers plugged in at all times using electricity. If a household can charge every device with one type of charger, they may only have one or two in use. Manufacturers can also concentrate on making smart chargers, which use less energy, in only one style.
Because Apple loves consistency, whatever change they make to the iPhone for the European market will likely also appear in the U.S. However, the question remains, how would Apple do it? If they dropped their standard dock connector, all video-out and audio-out accessories would suddenly be useless. Adding a second port doesn’t seem Apple’s style either.
There is yet another problem. The agreement was to adopt Micro-USB, which actually has two major connector types. If half of the phones use Micro-B, and the other half use Micro-AB, there could still be an issue. Nothing in the press release states precisely which connector is required, just which format (Micro -USB).
Is having a standardized charger that important to you? What about being able to sync with a standard cable? Let us know your thoughts in the comments box below.