13 Comments

Summary:

Apple snuck in another new product Tuesday, and it isn’t nearly as flashy as anything else it unveiled. The new Apple iPhone Micro USB Adapter allows for charging and syncing via micro USB, but it’s EU only. Why not let North America in on the deal?

micro-usb

Apple snuck in another new product Tuesday, but it isn’t nearly as flashy as anything else it unveiled. The new Apple iPhone Micro USB Adapter is a small add-on that plugs into any iPhone (except for the orignal version) via the dock connector and allows for charging and syncing using a micro USB cable.

The adapter has so far only shown up in Apple Stores from EU-member countries, since it’s clearly designed to bring Apple into compliance with recently passed EU standards for common cell phone charger standards (via TUAW). It retails for around €9  (roughly $12 USD) and ships separately from the iPhone. While it’s a bit disappointing that Apple didn’t just package the adapter with the iPhone 4S in the box, it’s more disappointing that Apple isn’t just making this available everywhere.

Even as a North American iPhone user, I’d love to have the option to pick one of these up. More and more devices are shipping with micro USB cables, including Amazon’s Kindle, many Bluetooth headsets and other electronic devices. Micro USB cables are also relatively easy to get your hands on, whereas dock connector to USB cables, especially off-brand, can be harder to find, especially when not shopping online.

A micro USB adapter would make keeping iOS devices charged a much simpler affair, especially for gadget fans with a considerable device collection. Ideally, Apple would replace the dock connector entirely with a standard connection interface, but that would mean rendering a whole lot of accessories useless, and I doubt Apple’s planning to do that anytime soon.

Apple might be offering the micro USB adapter just to comply with EU regulations, but while it’s doing that, it might as well offer them over here, too. There might be financial reasons that prevent Apple from doing so, but I’d buy one, and I’m sure there are plenty of other multi-device owners who would, too.

  1. Pretty shameful they haven’t put a micro USB port on the phone itself for charging. It’s not like there’s a lack of space for the connector (although granted I’ve never opened up an iPhone to look at the insides). An adapter is surely just another thing to fall out your pocket or lose at the bottom of a bag?

    Share
  2. Question is why doesnt the phone just have a USB port? And why is the EU legislation so loopholey that this nonsense is allowed. You might as well not have the law if the device doesnt have a USB port and forces the user to resort to and pay for an extra adapter.

    Share
    1. The user doesn’t have to ‘resort to’ and isn’t ‘forced’ to pay for anything – the phone comes with a perfectly servicable charging brick and cable. The surprising thing is that a government entity thinks it’s appropriate to dictate stuff like this…

      Share
      1. Andrew MacDonald Wednesday, October 5, 2011

        Well said, Darren.

        Share
  3. What’s “disappointing” is the EU telling companies what connectors they have to have.

    Share
  4. I think that they should just put a micro USB port on the phone itself! It would save people the hassle of having to buy another device to charge their iPhone. I like the concept of this idea too bad it’s only in EU-member countries so far.

    Share
    1. Uhh, I think this would piss off a lot of aftermarket people. I go to work out and is there a micro USB connector on every machine no it’s Apple proprietary connector. I stay at any hotel what’s in the room an alarm clock that you can dock your iPod, iPad or iPhone. iPhone/iPod accessories are a multi-billion dollar industry and Apple doesn’t want to piss them off.
      Their interface has been around since 2001 I doubt they will ever change it because of it.

      Share
  5. I like the idea of this! What they should do is just put a micro USB port on the phone itself, it would save the hassle of buying different products to charge your iPhone. I hope it comes out in more countries!

    Share
  6. Dock connectors are hard to find?!?! Seriously?!?! There have been over half a BILLION devices with dock connectors sold (1/4 billion with iOS alone). Walk in to walmart, go to the phone or car aisle, and count cables. There are TONS of dock connector cables, 12v car chagers with a dock connector, combo chargers with a dock connector, etc. There are far fewer micro USB ones, and those that are often have fiddly little interchangeable heads that break and get lost. Not sure what world you’re livin in, but it ain’t ours…

    Dock connectors are a dime a dozen – To paraphrase Jay-Z, dock connectors may have 99 problems, but availability ain’t one.

    And let’s not act like micro USB is a panacea – the ONLY problem it solves is commonality, it’s a horrible little connector…

    Share
    1. Micro-USB breaks? Never seen that. Micro-USB has a much better mechanical design than Mini-USB…

      Micro-USB is a great connector and there should be any (mobile) device that connects to a computer that needs something else to be charged or even for standard USB connection.

      Micro-USB3, that’s another (quite stupid) story…

      Share
  7. For one thing, a lot of people dont quite get it. All these proprietary charging ports create waste. They are as unnecessary as it would be if every car needed an adapter to fill up from a gas pump at the station. Shameful and utter waste of scarce resources.

    As for the idea that the EU has no place implementing waste reduction laws, well that why the US remains behind. You’re busy eating faul-libertaarian ideology fed to you by sock puppets, while the rest of the world is getting on with reducing energy usage and waste production.

    Share
  8. Why buy apple adapter when you can get the exact same thing for less, and it comes with a nice flat USB cable?

    I bought mine at yesasia.com under electronics section, and for those of you interested, it’s made by a Canadian design company called Mohzy.

    Just do a search for Mohzy USB…
    The product is Mohzy loop USB cable, works for all micro USB devices and also with Apple stuff like iPhone and iPod.

    Share
  9. Who gives a dam about me-too accessory makers. USB micro is a standard port – it should be on the phone as a charging port. If Apple wants to add proprietary crap ports in addition to the usb that is fine.

    Share

Comments have been disabled for this post