Ten companies who control ninety-percent of the European smartphone market have agreed to standardise in/out ports in order to drastically reduce thousands of tonnes of waste generated each when phones are upgraded. Adamant that such waste was unnecessary, the EU Industry Commissioner Guenter Verheugen says the EU will back the micro-USB standard in an effort that will likely have a ‘knock-on effect’ in the rest of the world.
How much this standardisation effort will effect the iPhone’s thousands of peripherals is of course, up for debate, but could, depending on Apple’s implementation of the USB standard, have far-reaching repercussions. It is prudent to assume that Apple would attend to this initiative without disrupting third party support by including Micro-USB adapters with every iPhone. However, what level of standardisation will be required is yet unknown.
Apple’s proprietary dock is useful for much more than charging and syncing; even prior to OS 3.0, the dock has been used as an advanced in/out device for high end audio such as Alesis’ ProTrack field recorder and Audio Line Out’s range of hifi docks. With the introduction of OS 3.0, enhanced hardware and software co-operation, makes possible medical, transportation, various input peripherals, and many, many methods of communication. Apple cannot afford to sacrifice its own fledgling market in order to fully conform to the EU’s decision.
Nevertheless, standardisation via USB is an exciting initiative.