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Phones

iPhone 4S micro-USB adaptor has a happy little face

The iPhone micro-USB adaptor goes on sale next week alongside the new iPhone 4S -- and it has an adorable ickle face. Aww.

Apple has decided to play nicely with the rest of the world, letting you charge your iPhone, iPad and iPod touch by micro-USB. The £8 iPhone micro-USB adaptor goes on sale next week alongside the new iPhone 4S -- and it's got an adorable little face.

Micro-USB is the standard charger for today's mobile phones, allowing you to charge your device by plugging it into either a computer or a plug socket. It's used by most manufacturers, so you can easily borrow a friend or colleague's charger cable.

Never usually one to play well with others, Apple has its own proprietary 30-pin connection on the iPhone, iPad and iPods. But under pressure from industry regulators, Apple has now introduced the cheerful little plastic connector to charge your iDevice without a proprietary Apple white cable.

Universal charging is a godsend. When every phone had a different charger, relations in the CNET UK office were based on a complex web of lending out phone chargers and USB cables. Then micro-USB came along and we could all relax. Gone are the days of phone-charger marauders roaming homes and offices chanting, "Have you got a battery for an Ericsson?"

Charging your phone from your computer even if you haven't got the plug is brilliant, and you can easily charge your iPad, iPod and Android phone all from the same plug. And you're freed from the tyranny of the funny foreign plug -- check out our favourite plugs here.

Mobile phone body the GSM Association wants all mobile devices charging via micro-USB by 2012. Android phones already do, which means we've started to see the first Android docks -- although every phone has its charging point in a different place, making docking tricky. Apple is less keen, what with its massive ecosystem of docks and stands for the 30-pin adaptor found on all Apple mobile devices.

Apple isn't the only one guilty of clinging to pesky proprietary plugs: Samsung also has a 30-pin connector in its Galaxy Tab tablets. Can't think why the boys in Apple's legal department reckon Sammy is copying... 

The iPhone micro-USB adaptor will be available on 14 October, the same day as the iPhone 4S goes on sale. We're hoping the adaptor is included in the box with the new iPhone, but we're not holding our breath.

What's your favourite phone charger? Share your memories in the comments section below or on our Facebook page