Brows furrowed on Apple universal phone charger stance

The universal mobile phone charger that was agreed in Europe is nearing completion, with a sample already in production, but Apple could be an obstacle to its deployment.

The idea behind the charger was that a single form used by all phone companies would be more environmentally-friendly by eliminating the need for a new charger for every phone purchase, while also reducing the necessary packaging for phones. It could also lower costs and drive phone prices down.

The universal charger will use a micro-USB connection, which is standard in many modern phones. 14 companies agreed to the initiative last year and many of them, such as Nokia, Samsung and Sony Ericsson, are now using micro-USB ports.

Apple, on the other hand, is not, which could cause some problems. Apple has long been using proprietary connections, which forces consumers to buy Apple peripherals and replacement chargers.

The initiative does not require a full switch to micro-USB, but it does ask that adaptors be provided so that micro-USB chargers can be used. It’s a less elegant choice than simply changing the port, but it’s more likely to meet with approval by companies still clinging to proprietary connections. Apple promised to implement this approach.

Apple told ZDNet that it is committed to using its proprietary dock connectors and that it was not required to change that. It was tight-lipped about the adaptors, however, which could mean it’s having second thoughts about an introduction.