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Standardized Laptop Charger Approved By IEC

timothy posted about 10 months ago | from the best-news-all-month dept.

EU 289

Sockatume writes "The IEC, the standards body which wrote the phone charger specification used in the EU, has approved a standardised laptop charger. While the 'DC Power Supply for Portable Personal Computer' doesn't have a legal mandate behind it, the IEC is still optimistic that it will lead to a reduction in electronics waste and make it easier to find a replacement charger. Unfortunately the technical documentation does not seem to be available yet, but previous comments indicate that it will be a barrel plug of some kind." I wish they'd push a yank-resistant and positive-connecting plug along the lines of Apple's MagSafe.

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There's probably patents involved (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45714023)

On a magnetic yank resistant plug

Re:There's probably patents involved (4, Funny)

Zanadou (1043400) | about 10 months ago | (#45714309)

But, what about on a plug resistant magnetic yank?

Re:There's probably patents involved (4, Funny)

weilawei (897823) | about 10 months ago | (#45714929)

It's the plug resistant magnetic brits that are the real challenge.

Re:There's probably patents involved (3, Interesting)

noh8rz10 (2716597) | about 10 months ago | (#45714325)

can't use something like magsafe because all computer standards push the industry towards the lowest-common-denominator cheap component solution. This is from lobbying of all companies. Thus the "benefit" to consumers is cheap products. no wonder apple stands alone and garners 90%+ of profits in the personal computer space.

Hint to manufacturers: there's a portion of the market that likes nice things, or at least not bottom-of-the-barrel cheap things.

Re:There's probably patents involved (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45714867)

no wonder apple stands alone and garners 90%+ of profits in the personal computer space.

Please try to get accurate statistics. 45% is more like it, and that's profits, not operating revenue, which is more important.

Hint to manufacturers: there's a portion of the market that likes nice things, or at least not bottom-of-the-barrel cheap things.

And they're quite happy to screw you out of your money with companies like Alienware. Not to mention companies like EVGA and Corsair with their high-end model lines.

Re:There's probably patents involved (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45714987)

And they're quite happy to screw you out of your money with companies like Alienware. Not to mention companies like EVGA and Corsair with their high-end model lines.

At least with high end components you generally get better performance. In the case of some "high end" manufacturers you get a high end pricetag and a white case with rounded corners that won't run your software.

Re:There's probably patents involved (4, Informative)

tysonedwards (969693) | about 10 months ago | (#45714379)

There is a single patent on the connector, filed September 26, 2005 and issued December 25, 2007.
In 2001 UL created and released to market - as a standard enforced by the US Consumer Product Safety Commission - a magnetic reversible plug for use on electric fryers that would disconnect if pulled.

Apple's offering is technically different in the sense that the cord can also "attach itself" to an electronic device, and where it will not provide power should it not be acted upon by another magnetic field.

Re:There's probably patents involved (2)

Nerdfest (867930) | about 10 months ago | (#45714539)

I'm actually quite surprised someone hasn't challenged that one yet.

Re:There's probably patents involved (2)

jandrese (485) | about 10 months ago | (#45714921)

They're probably waiting a couple more years before surfacing and suing Apple for a Billion dollars.

Re:There's probably patents involved (4, Interesting)

brianwski (2401184) | about 10 months ago | (#45714651)

In a another example, my HP Veer Smartphone (it's the Palm Pre line) has a magnetic charging cable that can ALSO carry data and audio!

Seriously, the HP Veer hardware was nicely designed, but the software is a train wreck. I still can't understand how the iPhone doesn't have a MagSafe recharge option, but my HP Veer does?

Re:There's probably patents involved (1, Troll)

kelemvor4 (1980226) | about 10 months ago | (#45715035)

In 2001 UL created and released to market - as a standard enforced by the US Consumer Product Safety Commission - a magnetic reversible plug for use on electric fryers that would disconnect if pulled.

Emphasis mine. Yep, our patent system is that bad.

Until people start cooking with their apple computers I suspect apple is going to be okay.

Re:There's probably patents involved (1)

Russ1642 (1087959) | about 10 months ago | (#45714425)

Manufacturers can put a yank resistant device just outside of the plug.

Re:There's probably patents involved (4, Interesting)

Jeff Flanagan (2981883) | about 10 months ago | (#45715051)

Yep, my Dell charger has an easily disconnected connector a few inches from the barrel that plugs into the laptop. Yank the cord, and this connector parts, leaving the laptop on the desk when tripping on a cable.

Re:There's probably patents involved (2)

mlts (1038732) | about 10 months ago | (#45714471)

Wasn't there prior art, from a Japanese crock pot that had this technology initially?

What would be nice is to not just have power, but to have data and video on this connector. That way, one can have Thunderbolt, HDMI 2, power, 2-3 lanes of USB 3.5, 1-2 lanes of USB 2.0 (for keyboards and HIDs), and of course GigE or 10GigE, all on the same wire.

Of course, with the space freed up on the device with this one port doing virtually everything, maybe device makers might start putting back the Kensington lock slot. It won't stop a determined thief, but it does deal with the casual/opportunistic snatching.

Re:There's probably patents involved (4, Interesting)

brianwski (2401184) | about 10 months ago | (#45714751)

HP Veer Smartphone (Palm Pre line) had a MagSafe connector that had data transfer: http://www.all4cellular.com/product/hp-veer-4g-usb-cable.html [all4cellular.com]

You can still buy this phone and connector. The phone software is TERRIBLE, but the hardware was innovative and well designed.

Re:There's probably patents involved (1)

Imagix (695350) | about 10 months ago | (#45715049)

All in the space of a connector the size of your thurmb...

Re:There's probably patents involved (5, Funny)

slim (1652) | about 10 months ago | (#45714869)

A Yank resistant plug might do well in Europe and Asia, but I think most manufacturers wouldn't want to alienate the American market.

Re:There's probably patents involved (1)

kelemvor4 (1980226) | about 10 months ago | (#45715075)

A Yank resistant plug might do well in Europe and Asia, but I think most manufacturers wouldn't want to alienate the American market.

In America we're Americans. We're only "Yanks" to foreigners. Most Americans would probably not make the connection. No connection, nothing to yank. Problem solved.
I guess it does sound simmilar to "yankee" which is a slur against denizens of the northeastern US.

patented (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45714025)

You can't use MagSafe because it's an Apple innovation. It took a major stroke of genius to put a fryer plug on a laptop.

Re:patented (4, Interesting)

Hadlock (143607) | about 10 months ago | (#45714203)

And yet the Pogo charger performs the same function with the same magnetic disconnect mode. It's used by a handful of top tier tablets and phones, but clearly someone has found a loophole in Apple's patent for the connector, as it's functionally identical.

Re:patented (1)

serviscope_minor (664417) | about 10 months ago | (#45714249)

but clearly someone has found a loophole in Apple's patent for the connector, as it's functionally identical

I haven't had a change to look at this Pogo connector. If they managed to make the design much closer to the original fryer plug then they could license that. If it is close enough to the old patent they could easily (ha!) claim that the Apple patent doesn't cover it.

Re:patented (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45714305)

You haven't had a change? WTF.

Re:patented (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45714269)

If someone successfully makes a claim that a similar function can't be achieved in a different manner. (That is, the patent hinders development rather than encouraging innovation.) then the patent can be invalidated on those grounds.

Re:patented (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45714529)

Nice try, Samsung!

Re:patented (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45714515)

It's interesting actually... I genuinely wondered why you don't get mildly electrocuted when you touch the completely exposed connectors end of it, until I actually saw what they'd patented: What they've patented is that it won't provide power until it's acted on by exactly the right magnetic field to indicate that it's plugged into the laptop already.

At least for me, that passes all the tests of non-obviousness and first people to think of it.

Re:patented (5, Informative)

Jeff Flanagan (2981883) | about 10 months ago | (#45715121)

> genuinely wondered why you don't get mildly electrocuted when you touch the completely exposed connectors end of it

Why would you expect to get mildly electrocuted by a low-power DC plug? The only danger w/o the magnetic control is that you'd fry the charger by shorting the plug.

POT (personal open terminal) as remedy for spying (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45714031)

just browsing we don't want no trouble look at my pictures of grandma etc... we're all friends (&/or taxpayers) here stand down

with POT our so-called secrets fade away as we notice we have nothing to hide again

see nothing to hide or seek? sleek

Fingers crossed (2, Interesting)

Sockatume (732728) | about 10 months ago | (#45714045)

Hopefully the source article won't be quietly edited after-the-fact so that I look like a raging moron, as happened with my last submission. :/

Re:Fingers crossed (1)

denis-The-menace (471988) | about 10 months ago | (#45714243)

Must be nice to have that problem.

I've been here ~10+years and my subs NEVER get posted.

Re:Fingers crossed (1)

Simon Brooke (45012) | about 10 months ago | (#45714349)

You're complaining? I've been here fifteen years, and I've never had a submission accepted either!

Re:Fingers crossed (2)

NoImNotNineVolt (832851) | about 10 months ago | (#45714519)

Meanwhile I'm a relative newcomer and I'm 1/1 with my COIN [slashdot.org] "slashvertisement" submission. After I submitted, I noticed a nearly-identical submission preceding mine in the firehose. Amusingly, it's mine that made it to the front page.

When I emailed the COIN folks to let them know they made it to slashdot's front page, I didn't even get so much as a "Cool, thanks!". Now I wish I had started spamming my referral URL in the comments :P

Re:Fingers crossed (2)

RevWaldo (1186281) | about 10 months ago | (#45714665)

You're lucky! I've been here thirty years and the first time I submitted an article CowboyNeal slashed me to death with a bread knife!

.

Re:Fingers crossed (1)

weilawei (897823) | about 10 months ago | (#45714747)

You're complaining? When my grandpappy was a boy, he had to walk uphill, both ways, in the snow just to send a submission by pony express and he never got accepted once!

Re:Fingers crossed (2)

whoever57 (658626) | about 10 months ago | (#45714793)

You're complaining? I've been here fifteen years, and I've never had a submission accepted either!

I have had multiple submissions accepted and rejected, but the one thaat really rankles, is the one in which I took the time to write some new text to describe the article, then someone else copy/pasted my text into another submission that got accepted in place of mine.

Re:Fingers crossed (1)

weilawei (897823) | about 10 months ago | (#45715025)

You know, that suggests an awfully easy way to get a submission accepted, if such is your goal in life...

Re:Fingers crossed (1)

Hognoxious (631665) | about 10 months ago | (#45714959)

One of mine did, but it had Rotund Priquepull's name on it.

So Would Apple (5, Informative)

Kagato (116051) | about 10 months ago | (#45714055)

"I wish they'd push a yank-resistant and positive-connecting plug along the lines of Apple's MagSafe."

So would Apple since they have a patent on the MagSafe design. I suspect it would be quite the patent windfall.

Re:So Would Apple (1)

serviscope_minor (664417) | about 10 months ago | (#45714103)

So would Apple since they have a patent on the MagSafe design.

Perhaps they could use a design like on those Japanese domestic deep fat fryers instead.

Re:So Would Apple (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45714241)

Or the far more common Japanese water boilers...

Re:So Would Apple (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45714591)

That sounds unlikely, because those provide power whether they're plugged in or not, and hence would be an electrocution risk (unlike apple's design, who's patented functionality is not providing power until it detects the correct magnetic field to indicate it's plugged in).

Re:So Would Apple (1)

serviscope_minor (664417) | about 10 months ago | (#45714697)

not providing power until it detects the correct magnetic field to indicate it's plugged in

Fair enough. I wonder how much they patented. If the patent just magnetic based, then presumably you could add an extra pin and only switch on the PSU when you get the correct command over some 1 wire bus protocol.

Or do what the USB charger people do and only provide power if there's the correct resistance across some of the pins.

Re:So Would Apple (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45715141)

Electrocution risk? Seriously?

Apple's innovation is a cute idea, but if you're passing 20v through the plug (just looked at my laptop charger, 18.5v), you'd have to be doing something really weird with the plug to get electrocuted.

Re:So Would Apple (3, Funny)

Sponge Bath (413667) | about 10 months ago | (#45714175)

Instead of using magnets (how do they work?), add a tiny vacuum pump to keep the connector in place. Add some attachments so the keyboard can be periodically hoovered for skin flakes, food bits and the dried remains of various body fluids. One small step for power connector security, one giant leap for computer hygiene.

Re:So Would Apple (1)

weilawei (897823) | about 10 months ago | (#45714293)

So, to eliminate waste of one kind, we're going to replace it with waste of another. Vacuum seals tend to leak over time, requiring you to run the pump periodically--especially if you want one loose enough to pull out when someone trips on the cord. Brilliant.

Re:So Would Apple (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | about 10 months ago | (#45714555)

So would Apple since they have a patent on the MagSafe design. I suspect it would be quite the patent windfall.

It would be easy to smash it across the EU on the basis of prior art and obviousness. There were already magnetic power connectors; I have a magnetically-attaching cord here which goes to a waffle iron which predates MagSafe. There were also already autonegotiating power connections before MagSafe. Putting the two together on any power cord is obvious and was only a matter of time. If the government wants the patent invalidated, it shall happen.

Re:So Would Apple (1)

fermion (181285) | about 10 months ago | (#45714667)

This is the rub. Doing something innovative, like magsafe, takes time and is the exact sort of things that patents should protect. The nice thing about magsafe is that there is really no physical connection. It is not yank resistant, it is yank tolerant. Unlike barrel type adapters, there is not stress on the interface, stress that all too often means the device becomes damaged and a $1000 machine is ruined because of a $20 part.

The other thing is that magsafe cannot be only solution. We cannot be in a world where the only way to physically transfer power is a barrel plug and magsafe. The real problem is that there is just a great deal of incentive to keep charges non standard. Apple does this by coming up with a nifty and effective and useful interface. Everyone else just makes arbitrary changes.

And just because the question comes up, USB in not the answer. It is fragile connector except in the full size version.

Mag-safe or nothing (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45714059)

Seriously, stop this antiquated shit.

Re:Mag-safe or nothing (1)

Chris Mattern (191822) | about 10 months ago | (#45714299)

Because *everybody* should pay the Apple tax! It's only right!

Re:Mag-safe or nothing (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45714517)

Because people should be able to get quality hardware from more than one vendor. I'm tired of chassis that flex and get visible wear spots on their finish, inferior touch pads, crappy keyboards, flimsy chargers and plugs out of the 80s and crumby displays (I mean color/angle/contrast, not useless resolution) - because I *won't* pay the apple tax.

Re:Mag-safe or nothing (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45714817)

So what you're saying is "I want all these better things for free, it's not fair". Entitled much?

Re:Mag-safe or nothing (1)

Sockatume (732728) | about 10 months ago | (#45715171)

Did it occur to you that the Apple "tax" is why their products don't have all that bad stuff? That it costs money to get a laptop CNCed out of an aluminium block and fitted with an IPS display, rather than a plastic slab with a TN one?

YES!!! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45714151)

Dell has their own line of chargers and their laptops refuse to work with other chargers :(
Hopefully this will motivate Dell to accept the standard.

I hope it works (4, Insightful)

Fluffy the Destroyer (3459643) | about 10 months ago | (#45714153)

Dell, HP, Alienware and other company will do anything in their power to not comply with this standard. This means less chance to get money out of customers pockets. Most companies, and I point DELL this time, uses a very much different exagonal type of connection which makes universal adapters a pain in the ass to find while others like HP and other old Dell laptops are usually easy to find and replace at a very cheap price. When it's not possible, you have to call the company to get a remplacement charger for a high enough price. But I would love to see a standard in this as it would make my job much easier

Not well. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45714271)

Every time you get a new laptop, you'll get another power cable.

Over the years, I have a HUGE collection of PC power cords. You know, the ones with the 6 sides that the box and monitor use. Well, every time I get a new monitor or PC, I get a new power cord. I have 3 unopened at my desk right now - and that doesn't include old ones I gave to GoodWill for recycling by DELL (Donate used computer stuff to GoodWill and they got some deal where DELL takes it and recycles it.)

Why? Because when I get a new monitor or PC, it's much easier to use the old cable than to untangle the mess behind my desk in order to use a new one.

Yes, laptops won't be as cable intensive, but I see these things multiplying over the years.

Re:Not well. (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | about 10 months ago | (#45714669)

Out of two similar netbooks, they use the same supply. But out of the ten or twelve different laptops I've owned over the years, these are literally the only ones. no, wait, I take that back. I sent back an HP EliteBook and got back a different HP EliteBook that took the same supply, but I never would have bought another machine from HP. It was a replacement. Does it count?

On the plus side, you can use those power supplies to drive LED modules, which are often available in the same voltages for some reason. I don't know if it's coincidence or not; I suspect not but have no proof.

Re:I hope it works (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45714459)

Dell, HP, Alienware and other company will do anything in their power to not comply with this standard. This means less chance to get money out of customers pockets.

Exactly, and this is why the EU fines companies for not complying with the standard.
In the end those companies will end up with the same amount of money out of the customers pockets but end up with a worse product compared to the competition.

Re:I hope it works (2)

UnknowingFool (672806) | about 10 months ago | (#45714963)

This is probably the same reason they won't fully adopt Thunderbolt. While there are some reasons like licensing and requirements, one major reason is that laptop docking stations make a lot of money and customers often need to buy new ones with newer models. Switching to a cable that is universal will make them less money.

yank resistant barrel connector (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45714161)

Very easy to make a barrel connector yank resistant, just add a 10cm extender

That's great (4, Funny)

Ethan Bernard (2954293) | about 10 months ago | (#45714179)

Just in time for laptop obsolescence.

Standardised DC, eh? (3, Funny)

serviscope_minor (664417) | about 10 months ago | (#45714183)

Well, let's see.

USB can deliver 2.5W. My big old luggable W510 has an adapter rated for (checks) holy crap 135W. To keep things standard we could charge it with 54 parallel USB cables, since things seem to be standardising on USB these days and multiple plugs where necessary.

Re:Standardised DC, eh? (1)

Fluffy the Destroyer (3459643) | about 10 months ago | (#45714315)

I'm not a big expert in electronics but I know laptops also needs amp and if theres not enough, it wont charge.so a usb connector usually has 500mA at 5v so it wont be enough to charge a laptop

Re:Standardised DC, eh? (1)

bmxeroh (1694004) | about 10 months ago | (#45714673)

Right, and W = V x I. So if we use 54 usb cables at 2.5 watts each ( or 500ma @ 5v) we get 135 watts, albeit 27 amps @ 5 volts DC. Better have some decent size wire. Also, it was a joke so queue wooshing sound.

Re:Standardised DC, eh? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45714327)

depends on what version of USB, usb3.0 is ~5W, dedicated charger USB is ~7.5W, and USB3.1 has an optional 12V/20V 60W/100W

Re:Standardised DC, eh? (2)

serviscope_minor (664417) | about 10 months ago | (#45714355)

USB3.1 has an optional 12V/20V 60W/100W

Holy crap. That would make me leery about using really cheap cables.

Re:Standardised DC, eh? (1)

weilawei (897823) | about 10 months ago | (#45714637)

What's 5A between friends? That means you likely want a 14 AWG [powerstream.com] . I've got an extension cord here rated for 30A at 300V...or 9kW (okay, I had to attach the plug/outlet myself, but still!) It's only moderate overkill, weighs about 20lbs. O:-)

Re:Standardised DC, eh? (1)

mlts (1038732) | about 10 months ago | (#45714497)

USB 3.5 has a completely different connector than legacy cables... one like Apple's Lightning connector that plugs in either way, and can handle a lot more wattage.

Re:Standardised DC, eh? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45714477)

To keep things standard we could charge it with 54 parallel USB cables, since things seem to be standardising on USB these days and multiple plugs where necessary.

It'll be called the Hydra Charging System, and to make sure you can charge ALL of your* lower power devices will come with two-plug splitter cables for each "head".

*And your friends devices. And their friends devices. And all of the devices at the festival...

Bad pun warning (4, Funny)

Sockatume (732728) | about 10 months ago | (#45714567)

They could cut down the number of leads by a factor of six if they used some sort of heavy-duty twisted-pair conductor. Then you'd have a Cat-5 of Nine Tails.

Re:Standardised DC, eh? (1)

weilawei (897823) | about 10 months ago | (#45714809)

With optional 54-1 USB->barrel connector, only $39.99.

Re:Standardised DC, eh? (1)

serviscope_minor (664417) | about 10 months ago | (#45715021)

With optional 54-1 USB->barrel connector, only $39.99.

Heathen. I value my quality so I'll take the Monster version for $599.99.

Re:Standardised DC, eh? (2)

PolygamousRanchKid (1290638) | about 10 months ago | (#45714783)

My big old luggable W510 has an adapter rated for (checks) holy crap 135W.

A W520 adapter weighs in at 170W . . . and weighs almost as much as the W520 itself! I'm expecting Lenovo to reach a crossover point, where the adapter weighs much more than the laptop itself.

I guess my new W550 down the road sometime will have an over 200W adapter . . .

I doubt that there will be any standardized adapters for us folks in the Monster Laptop Truck range . . .

Wireless charging.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45714199)

..is the future. Toss the cables I say!

I was hoping for MagSafe (2)

zoffdino (848658) | about 10 months ago | (#45714223)

Everyone here chides Apple for putting a deep fryer plug on a laptop and get a patent for it. Truth is, if they don't, someone else will and sue the heck out of them for it. If it was so obvious, why haven't anyone thought about it before Apple?

It's better if they can convince Apple to put up the MagSafe patent as FRAND. It'll be a bad joke if Apple has to include a MagSafe-to-whatever adapter with their MacBooks

Re: I was hoping for MagSafe (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45714373)

Why didn't anyone else think of it before Apple? Well, the fryer pan people did.

Re: I was hoping for MagSafe (1)

Alain Williams (2972) | about 10 months ago | (#45714557)

Why didn't anyone else think of it before Apple? Well, the fryer pan people did.

Did Apple cite the deep pan use on their patent application ? If not then should they not be prosecuted for submitting a fraudulent patent application ? Use with 'electronic equipment' is hardly a reason for considering it novel

Re:I was hoping for MagSafe (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45714463)

Everyone here chides Apple for putting a deep fryer plug on a laptop and get a patent for it. Truth is, if they don't, someone else will and sue the heck out of them for it. If it was so obvious, why haven't anyone thought about it before Apple?

Deep fryer manufacturers thought of it before Apple. You even said that in your own comment.

Re:I was hoping for MagSafe (1)

Overzeetop (214511) | about 10 months ago | (#45714607)

" Truth is, if they don't, someone else will and sue the heck out of them for it."

No, they only need to release it as a free, published connection - and then it's covered by prior art. QED.

Re:I was hoping for MagSafe (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45714801)

MagSafe was an advantage of Apple's laptop, it was a differentiator for their products. It's perfectly understandable for them to not release it as a free patent. Will Google release its search algorithm or Kuerig release its K-cup patent? No way Jose. I agree with zoffdino that if a better proprietary standard exists, it should be adopted. The EU can pay Apple some money for them to cede the rights to the MagSafe patent in some countries. Not sure if Apple will take it up though. It's not like they need money anyway.

Re:I was hoping for MagSafe (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45714825)

I love how anytime anyone makes anything that the open source fanboys hate to admit that they love they scream "open source it" like it's a moral obligation for those with skin in the game to suck up to those who've never contributed anything but the idiot sound and fury of the peanut gallery.
 
I wish for once that the open source crowd was contributing something that no one else has ever come up with first instead of trying to make a third rate knock off look like something innovative (GIMP, I'm looking at you).
 
Heck, even the wunderkind of Raspberry Pi that we hear so much of around here isn't true open source. LOLzzz!
 
Oh well, back to sleep, fanboy... wait for someone else to innovate again and cry about how mean and nasty they are for actually wanting to turn a profit for their work. those of us in the real world know that you haven't got anything else.

Re:I was hoping for MagSafe (4, Insightful)

UnknowingFool (672806) | about 10 months ago | (#45714775)

If it was so obvious, why haven't anyone thought about it before Apple?

Two things come to mind: 1) The bottom line. Many companies don't always do the little things because it takes time and money to do things. I'm pretty sure an engineer from another company came up with great ideas but they were cut in planning/development. Apple will spend years on a product before releasing it and they will charge enough to make this strategy work. 2) Featuritis. Many companies focus on too many features. This is related to #1. Following the history of Apple, their products never have the most features. Apple seems to focus only on a handful of them and get them right before adding new ones. Geeks here don't appreciate that as Apple will never win the bullet point count, but for the average consumer they are less impressed with numbers of features than working features.

Take for example, the original iPod that synced automatically when you plugged in the cable. I think it was at Jobs' insistence that this be a 1-step process. Now doing so isn't technically difficult, but it takes coordination between hardware and software. It also required a philosophical change away from file/directory based transfer to one based on metadata. For example, most people don't care which directory/subdirectory their favorite songs where located but what they were (songs by The Rolling Stones, blue-grass songs, etc.). Now other companies might have been focused on other features like playing every format from Ogg to WMA or an equalizer with 11 bars, etc. Apple concentrated on making the UI simpler for the average consumer.

Different power requirements (3, Insightful)

Alain Williams (2972) | about 10 months ago | (#45714267)

One problem with this is that some laptops take much more juice to run than others. So will the standard charger have to be powerful enough to feed the biggest laptop or will we get a range of, say, 3 -- which would be a good advance on what we have today if the same plug was used, so the most powerful PSU could be used with a light laptop, as long as a light PSU had a cutout to protect it from overload?

The specifications are protected from download by a password, so I can't check :-(

I doubt that the likes of Apple would adopt this.

Re:Different power requirements (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45714451)

- magsafe is an awful device that does not carry enough amperes for a normal or rather high power laptop.
- apple patended it and like the iphone will want to keep their device under controlled obsolescence no matter what.
- apple remains actually blurry on the differences of wattage between their laptops and DC transformers specs, very often it is deceiving to have charging issues. another will, however deliver too high currents and damage your battery silently.

don't buy a mac.

Re:Different power requirements (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45714917)

- magsafe is an awful device that does not carry enough amperes for a normal or rather high power laptop.

Right, that would be because apple have spent some effort on making very powerful laptops that don't use huge amounts of power, unlike other manufacturers.

apple remains actually blurry on the differences of wattage between their laptops and DC transformers specs, very often it is deceiving to have charging issues. another will, however deliver too high currents and damage your battery silently.

Score: -1 Bullshit. Any apple charger can be plugged into any Apple laptop. The worst thing that will happen is that the laptop will continue to discharge (in the case of plugging in a too low power charger). In the case of the correct power, and too high power cases, the laptop will charge correctly. This will not damage your machine.

Safe disconnection! (1)

Simon Brooke (45012) | about 10 months ago | (#45714317)

Strongly agree about safe-disconnect connectors. I think my next laptop will probably be a MacBook, even though I'll just strip MacOS off and put Linux on, simply because of MagSafe. I've wrecked two laptops, one from tripping over the charger cable, and one from it falling of the arm of a chair and landing on the charger connection. Both times, it resulted in motherboard damage.

OK, you can say I'm clumsy - but laptops are designed to be used on the move.

Re:Safe disconnection! (3, Informative)

SuricouRaven (1897204) | about 10 months ago | (#45714613)

Be warned: The hardware in the Retinas is somewhat dubiously EFI and ACPI complient. You can get it running linux, but it takes a fair amount of hackery to deal with the weirdness.

c0m (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45714321)

be 'very poorly firstO organization th3 future of the

Glad I don't live in the EU. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45714369)

You know they're going to fumble the ball. They're going to call for the old barrel charger.... the design flaw that has sent more of my hardware to the eGrave than any other. I can't tell you the number of laptops I've had to pitch because I wasn't shelling out 800 dollars to repair a laptop when I could buy something with roughly the same specs for a couple hundred more and actually have a warranty again.
 
MagSafe is great. Thank God someone out there had enough of that ancient technology. Cry about Apple all you want but they did it when no one else would take the initiative.

Re:Glad I don't live in the EU. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45714579)

. Thank God someone out there had enough of that ancient technology. Cry about Apple all you want but they did it when no one else would take the initiative.

Agreed. I recently switched to a MacBook, and the power connector is simply brilliant. No worries about busting that barrel connector inside the laptop ever again. And this coming from a long-time Apple hater. I still don't like the iPhone, but I have to admit the MacBook and OSX are a joy to use after years of using Wintel laptops.

Standards Inhibit Innovation (2)

BoRegardless (721219) | about 10 months ago | (#45714469)

The minute you standardize, the standards organization then tries to make or suggests it should be compulsory.

That often restricts innovation in many ways. It is one thing to have standards for connection and interface whether electronic or mechanical, but to try to standardize a whole "charger" ignores what is going on now with resonance charging, even lower power circuits, solar boosting, etc.

Yank-resistant? (1)

NoImNotNineVolt (832851) | about 10 months ago | (#45714645)

Apple's MagSafe connector is the opposite of yank-resistant. It can be yanked out more easily than any other connector I've ever seen.

Re:Yank-resistant? (1)

Sockatume (732728) | about 10 months ago | (#45714685)

Half right, it's the laptop side of the connector that is yank-resistant; it doesn't go anywhere, regardless of how much the cable is pulled.

This seems pedantic, even for me...

nothx.jpg (1)

TrancePhreak (576593) | about 10 months ago | (#45714791)

Apple's magsafe always falls out for me. If they are the pinnacle of design then that tech is not worth it.

Re:nothx.jpg (1)

weilawei (897823) | about 10 months ago | (#45714871)

The whole point is to have it disconnect with a moderate amount of force, causing you the annoyance of plugging it back in rather than the annoyance of sending your laptop flying across the room when you trip on it. One of my old external hard drives died this death...

Please fix the Micro-USB orientation standard (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45714807)

Why is the Micro-USB turned one way on my Samsung and another on my Nexus units? Fix that first.

Apple will have to change their connector (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45714901)

Apple will have to change their connector. Which is shit anyway because... you know... magnets around computers and all.

Re:Apple will have to change their connector (1)

weilawei (897823) | about 10 months ago | (#45715003)

Try rubbing it on your credit card, and you won't have to put up with buying Apple products anymore.

I hope it's something at least somewhat sturdy.... (1)

Dega704 (1454673) | about 10 months ago | (#45714973)

If I had a dollar for every broken power jack I have seen and/or replaced, I would buy Apple's MagSafe patent. Seriously though, it will probably be something that will vary in quality depending on the manufacturer. I just hope they all adopt it so we don't have to deal with this mess anymore.

Whatchoo talkin' about Willis? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45714989)

"I wish they'd push a yank-resistant and positive-connecting plug along the lines of Apple's MagSafe."

You mean you'd rather ensure your laptop was damaged whenever someone trips over the cord... nice thinking there, jackhole.

Now they need to force it at gunpoint... (2)

Lumpy (12016) | about 10 months ago | (#45715037)

It is raging piles of BS that laptop makers get away with the random charger and random voltage BS they have been pulling over the past 20 years. I really hope they swing a hard hammer with this one and demand that no laptop can be sold in the EU without this connector and using a standard power supply (I.E. 85 watts 17.31624 volts)

Obligatory XKCD (1)

marciot (598356) | about 10 months ago | (#45715081)

Here we go again:

http://xkcd.com/927 [xkcd.com]

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