IN A MOVE that will elicit a cry of "it's about time too" from the masses, an EU committee has voted unanimously to insist that mobile phone makers operating in member states use the same charging connector.
The more quick witted will have spotted that with one notable exception every mobile phone maker has been using the microUSB charging connector standard since the common standard was agreed upon in 2010 anyway, however this was more of a loose agreement rather than a legal requirement.
So, like a teacher not wishing to embarrass the child who has done something naughty, the EU is not singling any firm out. However, we are - it's Apple that is the focus of this EU requirement.
With the exception of one or two early Samsung tablets, only Apple has point blank refused to comply with the EU agreement, and even when it overhauled its charger with the iPhone 5, it opted for another bespoke nonstandard charger design. But finally the cries of "Has anyone got an iPhone charger?" resonating around the office will become a thing of the past.
But is this a good thing? On the face of it, it makes sense. The EU is trying to cut down on electrical waste by reducing the number of obsolete phone accessories. But by forcing Apple to conform, it will be at one stroke making hundreds of millions of charging docks, portable speakers and even HiFi sets obsolete. That's a lot of landfill.
Of course there are charging adapters that will solve the problem, but these might not fit many accessories, especially with the trend toward mobile phone charging docks.
We are still a long way from a law. The EU has merely said that it intends to pass one and you can sure that Apple won't go quietly. But while we're in favour of the intention, we're wondering if perhaps there have been too many charging accessories under the bridge to make the change now. As green initiatives go, it surely is going to create a lot of waste. µ
Sign up for INQbot – a weekly roundup of the best from the INQ