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The end of 2010 is here, and as the calendar page turns to January, 2011, the European Commission will finally adopt micro-USB as the universal charging standard for smartphones sold throughout Europe. How will the move affect Apple’s standard dock connector?
MacRumors is reporting that the European Commission’s adoption of micro-USB as the universal charging standard for smartphones is finally ready to move forward in January. The commission chose to adopt the standard back in August after a year of debate on the subject, and this week two European standards bodies have weighed in with their approval as well.
The new standard for “data-enabled mobile phones” will now unite around micro-USB as a common charger, with 14 manufacturers participating in the agreement, including Apple, Nokia, Research in Motion and Samsung. MacRumors notes that the first smartphones and standalone chargers to support the new standard will debut in Europe in early 2011.
Needless to say, the regulations provide a quandary for Apple, who long ago settled on the familiar 30-pin dock connector used in all of its iOS and iPod products. According to a Memorandum of Understanding document (PDF link) signed in June, 2009, “it appears that Apple can comply with the regulations by including with the iPhone a small adapter to interface either directly between the dock connector and micro-USB or between the USB connector on the end of the existing charging cable and micro-USB.”
“In order that compatibility of as many Mobile Phones as possible with a Common EPS [external power supply] may be enabled, 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 to this article,” the memorandum notes.
That probably comes as good news to Steve Jobs and Company, who likely weren’t too excited about the prospect of ditching their lucrative 30-pin dock connector or adding a micro-USB port to their already diminutive products.
Follow this article’s author, J.R. Bookwalter on Twitter