The European Commission in the EU has proposed legislation mandating USB-C charging for mobile devices, with an emphasis on reducing electronic waste. Yes, that means the iPhone is in the firing line.
- There’s a pretty good indication Apple has been edging towards USB-C on all of its devices: its Macs and iPads are now, mostly, USB-C port based.
- That’s because it’s better: USB-C wipes the floor with Lightning, with fast charging and wildly faster data transfer speeds.
- Apple sticking with Lightning has two sides: doing away with it would mean a bunch of cables become useless, but the longer it leaves its platforms on Lightning, the worse it is for the ecosystem.
Anyway, now the EU is looking to put its foot on the pedal and force USB-C:
- The proposal focuses both on the charging port and fast charging technology, which aim to be harmonized.
- There’s also a rule to unbundle the sale of a charger from the sale of the electronic device, with the aim to reduce the number of chargers piling up in households.
- One more piece to this is information: “…producers will need to provide relevant information about charging performance, including information on the power required by the device and if it supports fast charging.”
- The overall aim? “USB-C will become the standard port for all smartphones, tablets, cameras, headphones, portable speakers and handheld videogame consoles.”
That’s the idea, anyway:
- This is a proposed change. It still requires a green light from EU member states and EU lawmakers.
- Then, there’s a 24-month transition period, meaning it’ll take until 2024 to come into effect.
- And it doesn’t affect portless devices, meaning a portless iPhone, which was rumored for the iPhone 13 by the way, would escape a USB-C switch. Will this push wireless charging devices?
- Oh and one more twist, Apple or anyone could have two ports: a proprietary one, and a USB-C port.
Apple is mad, EU doesn’t care:
- Of course the counterargument is that this will stifle innovation. Apple said so itself, in a statement: “We remain concerned that strict regulation mandating just one type of connector stifles innovation rather than encouraging it, which in turn will harm consumers in Europe and around the world.”
- Via Reuters, the EC says it doesn’t care: Commission industry chief Thierry Breton dismissed Apple’s comments. “I have known these companies for years. Every time we put (forward) a proposal, they start to say ‘oh, it will be against innovation’. No, it’s not against innovation, it’s not against anyone. Like everything the Commission does, it’s for consumers,” he said.
- Benedict Evans called it “profoundly stupid” and “embarrassing,” based on the idea that now innovation beyond USB-C will stop, which is a fair point.
- I’m less scathing given we do need to do things that hurt the environment less.
- Still, the idea is that if this happened six years ago, we could’ve all been stuck on micro-USB as the One True Standard.
- So will we be stuck at USB-C even if a new successor format emerges that’s much better?
- I suspect the idea of just making one connector with open fast charging standards really good and ubiquitous is good. But it has a time limit: the law should, at best, be enforced for a limited period of time, given innovation possibilities.
- I mean, I often think back to my dissatisfaction when Apple switched from the giant 30-pin dock connector to the Lightning port in 2012, instantly laying waste to a bunch of electronics with built-in docks, cables, accessories, and so on.
- That was two years before USB Type-C emerged, unfortunately.
EV chargers, too?
- Let’s face it, the EU is late to this which it acknowledges with excuses: it’s been trying since 2009 with voluntary agreements.
- The next great problem is EV charging cable plugs.
- In case you haven’t tried to charge one yet, there is no universal standard. There are differences in geographical locations, and by manufacturer too. There are now more or less four prevalent types depending on speed and AC/DC, with variations depending on maker: Tesla developed its own adaption of Type 2, of course, for its Superchargers which don’t fit other cars.
- But standardizing a plug type now might limit possibilities like charging speeds and characteristics before the market is mature, or complicate efforts like hot-swapping batteries.
👉 Google announced lots of features for Android, Google TV, Auto, Assistant, and Gboard yesterday. Some were previously Pixel exclusives like Locked Folder in Google Photos, and Heads Up (which I ended up trying and turning off, by the way). Big new features include accessibility options, using Android phones to turn on Google TVs, more fun emoji mashups in Gboard’s Emoji kitchen, Google TV update and wider rollout, and plenty more (Android Authority).
📸 Many Google Pixel 6 and 6 Pro camera features leak, here’s what you can expect assuming it’s accurate (Android Authority).
🎮 Nintendo Direct reveals Mario Movie release date and voice cast including Chris Pratt as Mario, Jack Black as Bowser, and on the gaming front, new Kirby, Mario Party, and more — but no Breath of The Wild 2 news (Android Authority).
👨🔧 Here are people reacting to the voice cast of Mario: (CNET).
📁 Microsoft says the Surface Duo 2 will receive three years of updates (Android Authority).
🍎 It’s iPhone day as phones get delivered and you can physically buy them. I was wondering if people still queue for a new iPhone in the current era, and boy that was a dumb thought, of course they do! (Yahoo UK).
⌚ The Apple Watch Series 7 features a secret 60.5GHz wireless connection for data transfer, for the first time, but it’s only for Apple use for now… (9to5Mac).
🔥 Diablo II: Resurrected impressions are emerging, and this one tackles the game, and all the non-game issues swirling around Blizzard (Ars Technica).
📂 WSJ’s Facebook Files is Facebook’s biggest crisis since Cambridge Analytica, partly because it’s all Facebook’s own files and data (Platformer).
⚖ Also, Facebook paid FTC $4.9B more than required to shield Zuckerberg, lawsuit alleges (Ars Technica).
🚴♀️ New York City passes extensive laws to protect food delivery workers (Engadget).
🔋 A new battery-free system can run perpetually with intermittent power: it just seamlessly stops operating without power, and starts again with power. Useful for DIY makers for now (Interesting Engineering).
🤔 “Some days I feel like the holy trinity of NFTs, DAOs, and DeFi might replace the very foundation that society rests on. Other days it feels like 90% vaporware and Ponzi schemes that collectively emit more CO2 than a medium-sized country.” (Every).
🤯 The Mandalorian’s Emmy win means another amazing VFX reel for you. Wildly cool to see things that are physically made and what’s CG (Gizmodo).
🐔 “Why do we call people who are scared, as acting/being “chicken”, when chickens are straight-up savage and will chase you mercilessly if angered?” (r/nostupidquestions).
How do you organize your electronics files, in 2021? Folders? Directories? What if you just had no idea what file systems were, because you’d grown up with apps and a desktop and devices that can instantly search entire devices instantly.
That’s what this piece on The Verge gets into, with a focus on teaching and students who just haven’t really thought about files being stored in discrete locations:
- That’s a concept that’s always felt obvious to Garland but seems completely alien to her students. “I tend to think an item lives in a particular folder. It lives in one place, and I have to go to that folder to find it,” Garland says. “They see it like one bucket, and everything’s in the bucket.”
- One of these students explains the various files and data on their computer as a “laundry basket where you have everything kind of together, and you’re just kind of pulling out what you need at any given time.”
- It matters for budding developers and IT pros and so on, but the question is: if search is good enough, why bother?
Confession: every single Daily Authority draft is in a single (searchable) folder,
Tristan Rayner, Senior Editor.