Apple has joined the alliance of companies willing to convert to a universal mobile phone charger meaning less handset waste in the future, but won't be dropping its proprietary dock connector.

In a statement sent to TechRadar, Apple confirmed that it won't be getting rid of the dock connector, likely only supplying an adaptor to work with the micro USB format its rivals have signed up to:

"As we've said in the past, we are committed to the Apple dock connector and this initiative will not require us to change it. Today's memorandum gives manufacturers the option to provide an adapter that connects with the universal charger."

Although the move is voluntary, Apple is a big name joining the likes of Nokia, RIM and LG, which all pledged to move to the new format in 2012.

But the new announcement and wider group of companies pledging allegiances appears to have moved things forward, with next year the likely date for the first chargers, based on the micro-USB standard, to appear.

Charger mountain

There are estimated to be at least 30 different mobile phone charger types in the market at the moment, leading to mountains of waste when people upgrade to a new handset.

It's likely the move will lead to a large reduction of packaging in mobile phones, with an 'I've already got a charger' option likely available at purchase.

The EU has been leading the call for a universal charger, so Apple has had to think up a solution that satisifies all parties, although losing the dock connector would affect a huge amount of legacy products based on the specification.

Via Reuters