Unhappy with the lack of standardisation that plagued our fair continent for many years prior, the European Commision has been insisting, as of late, that all mobile devices feature a microUSB connector, in an attempt to establish a clear interface/charging format for mobiles.
Not known for its open ecosystem, it wasn't a surprise when Apple revealed that the new 'Lightning' interface on its iPhone 5 wouldn't be a standard connector. This of course meant the the firm would have to go some way to appeasing the EC and it has now become apparent that this is to be in the form of Lightning-to-microUSB convertor module.
The little dongle can be purchased on Apple's online UK store for £15 and, though it doesn't exactly fulfil the full intent of the EC directive - there's an extra fee and you're still stuffed if you lose the dongle - it will allow for the use of standard microUSB chargers and sync cables.
On the hardware front, life is perhaps made a little easier for peripheral hackers, though it'll no-doubt still take a jailbroken device to use any third-party peripherals that didn't feel like paying Apple up to a 12 per cent sales commission.