What's Up With Apple: Europe OKs USB Standard, 'Star Dreck' and More

As expected, the European Commission (EC) on Thursday released a proposal that would require manufacturers of electronic devices to use a common design for their device chargers. The primary target of the proposal is Apple Inc. (NASDAQ: AAPL). The company has resisted European Union efforts to standardize chargers, claiming such a rule would “hamper innovation.”

If the European Parliament adopts the proposal, Apple would have until 2024 to ditch its Lightning connector and adopt the USB-C connector used by most other smartphone makers. The proposal is intended to reduce waste by allowing people to use existing chargers and cables when they purchase new chargeable devices. The proposed rules also apply to smartphones, tablets, headphones, speakers, video game consoles and cameras.

According to a report at The Verge, Apple could bypass the rule by adopting a wireless charging system. The proposed rules do not apply to wireless chargers.

In addition to its argument about stifling innovation, Apple also has contended that switching its devices to the USB-C connector will increase waste as hundreds of millions of devices that use the Lightning cable will be made obsolete. This seems a bit disingenuous, as Apple could come up with a recycling program that would limit the impact.

The first two episodes of “Foundation” begin streaming Friday on Apple TV+. The series is Apple’s stab at replicating the success of “Game of Thrones.” According to a report at The Verge, showrunner David S. Goyer has said that he’s already plotted out eight seasons for the show. The show is based on Isaac Asimov’s Foundation trilogy, first published in the 1940s as short stories and later as a trilogy between 1951 and 1953.

Early reports are not encouraging. The Guardian’s review headline is perhaps a bit harsh: “Foundation review – a galaxy of money can’t save Apple’s Star Dreck.” Rotten Tomatoes gives an average Tomatometer score of 75% and an average audience score of 90%.

Finally, global preorders for new models of iPhone 13 are running more than 20% ahead of last year’s preorders for the iPhone 12, according to a report in Barron’s citing Wedbush analyst Dan Ives. We noted on Wednesday that more than 5 million new iPhones have been preordered in China.

Ives estimated that about 250 million of 975 million iPhone users globally have not upgraded their phones in more than 3.5 years, “creating pent-up demand within the company’s fixed base.” He does not expect supply chain issues to affect delivery dates. Ives has an Outperform rating on Apple stock and a 12-month price target of $185.00. Apple stock closed up about 0.7% on Thursday at $146.83.

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