Get ready for the bold new future with one charging wire
On an ordinary working day, I lug around a laptop, an iPhone, an Android phone, some bike lights and a pair of earbuds.
As a result, I also carry six separate chargers, usually in the form of a complex knot at the bottom of my bag.
It’s not the worst hardship in the world, but it is quite annoying, especially as it all seems so pointless. Why don’t they have a common charger?
Well, now they will, thanks to the European Parliament, which says the move will aid innovation and reduce e-waste.
Funnily enough, that’s exactly the reverse of the argument Apple made for over a decade as its lobbyists resisted the move in Brussels.
Apple has most to lose as most of its devices use the Lightning port, whereas Android phones are already on USB-C. And, as Apple points out, the change from one standard to another will generate lots of waste. Overall there might be a reduction, but it will take some time.
The trade-offs are also tricky when it comes to innovation. Sometimes diversity aids the development of new ideas, sometimes a common standard does – if you’re reading this online, you’re doing so thanks to the common standard most people call “the internet”.
In this instance, Apple has had years to prove the benefits of going its own way and it’s hard to say it’s made an especially compelling case. Lightning isn’t clearly better than USB-C, which Apple has started incorporating into its devices anyway. It’ll be absolutely fine.
The truth is, the next generation of charging is probably going to be wireless, which the European Parliament has left alone to aid innovation.
Get ready for the bold new future: one charging wire… to charge six wireless charging pads.