ComputerWorld Accuses Apple of Killing Universal Cell Chargers


A day after millions of consumers were excited to read that the top cell phone makers were rallying behind a universal charger, ComputerWorld has killed the buzz by writing that it will never work. And why is that? Because Apple (s aapl), with its 1.1 percent cell phone market share, isn’t on board. Well, yes, if you’re after a universal standard it’s probably safe to say that Apple is going to ruin it with their style-conscious, consumer-friendly, proprietary products.

The article stretches the impact of Apple’s proprietary nature by speculating that it will introduce other lines of phones, perhaps even a cheap flip phone. And all of these hypothetical Apple phones may not have the “standard” universal micro-USB port (the author also tosses in the fact that micro USB might one day get upstaged by better technology).

So what? The universal charger may not end up being universal, but neither is Apple’s market share. Still, getting the majority of the industry behind a standard charger is a great thing for most consumers, who will happily accept one fewer cord cluttering up their outlet. But here’s to hoping Apple gets with the program. It did trade FireWire out for USB on its iPods and MacBooks, after all.


ol' yeller


been talk of universal chargers for years, but you’re probably right that a little iphone fear helped move things along.


wouldn’t it be nice to be able to use anyone’s charger when you’re in need?


oh yes, all those incredible technologies wrapped into the apple connectors that enable amazing things like data transfer and charging. snap, i thought usb did that too?


@ Jake – I think you’re hinting at this in your second paragraph, but the good thing about this is I don’t need to replace my charger with an expensive one when I lose it or when I buy a second one for the office. If I’m at a friends house I can just plug into their charger. The benefits are greater than they first appear…

Bob K

The “universal charger” socket is nothing more than micro-USB, a feature promoted by a cellular industry trade group who would either love to have a piece of Apple’s pie or boot them out of the market. The iPhone already has USB (along with video, audio, serial, and yes, some proprietary magic) on the dock connector it shares with all(*) other iPods. Adding a new socket on the iPhone just for charging is utterly pointless.

But, kudos for any manufacturers with the guts to agree on a standardized connector. They’re doing everyone a big favor.


One fewer cord cluttering up their outlet?

Doesn’t this just mean one charger will work with several brands of cell phones? I have one cell phone. It uses one charger. I’ll still have one cord – universal or otherwise. I know, I know – for the power testers who carry 10 cell phones around, it will be a boon. Goody for you.

This doesn’t really help the consumer – it helps the cell phone manufacturers and kitters. They can source a universal charger which presumably will have economies of scale behind it. The charger may now NOT be included with the cell phone, so kitters can now pair up cell phones with chargers. Perhaps, even, the consumer will be “allowed” to purchase the charger separately from the cell phone.

Innovation runs wild!

ol' yeller

jobs is no dummy.

learned from his mistakes the first time around with msft and has succeeded in building an ecosystem that is more proprietary in an evil sort of way than microsoft’s ever was.

this includes profiting from the sale of high margin, but unnecessarily proprietary, connectors, chargers, cords and so on.

hopefully someone *can* build an apple proprietary to standard adapter *and* not get sued out of existence. patent experts?

Wai Yip Tung

Well, just make an adaptor from the “universal charger” to iPhone. Apple’s proprietary interface is a pain I must said. I have to buy a whole set of cables and chargers for my office, my home, my car, etc in order to keep it connected and charged.

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