In 2010, the European Union introduced a new policy to require new phones sold in Europe to support charging via MicroUSB, in an effort to standardize charging systems across all mobile phone makers.
Apple has begun offering Micro USB Adapters for the iPhone, shipping October 14 to EU customers. The adapter costs £8 or €9 and should also be included in the iPhone 4S when it ships later this month.
"Introduction of the universal charger will make life much simpler for EU consumers," said Dennis Abbott, a European Commission spokesperson. "When you discover you've left your charger at home or work, you will be able to use someone else's, knowing it will fit your phone. How cool is that?"
The industry agreed that the new charger will be for all smartphones and all "data-enabled" phones - and will use a micro-USB connector. The new universal chargers will not cover older mobile phones.
Support for micro-USB charging via an adapter, rather than plugging directly into the phone, is allowed by the EU policy. Apple isn't required to include an actual micro-USB port directly on the iPhone.