Apple has signed up to an EU-wide "harmonization" of phone chargers, which Pocket-lint first brought you news of back in September 2007.

The iPhone-maker has joined Nokia, Sony Ericsson, Motorola, LG, NEC, Qualcomm, RIM, Samsung and Texas Instruments in signing an agreement to use a standard micro-USB socket to charge handsets.

The agreement means that from next year, Apple will have to offer a micro-USB socket on the iPhone. Whether that means that the traditional dock connector will be changed or whether there'll be an adaptor remains to be seen.

It's unclear too, what'd happen to the dock ecosystem that's built up around the iPod and iPhone. We've put in an email to Apple asking it to clarify what the company's plans are, but have had no response at the time of writing.

On the bright side, the agreement should mean an end to the difficulty of coping with five different chargers in your house or office. Here's hoping that the European Commission offers some way of recycling all those old chargers that are now redundant.

UPDATE: Apple's responded, and in a statement told Pocket-lint: "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".

That sounds, to our ears, like a micro-USB adaptor will be bundled with future versions of the iPhone, as well as the cable that it currently comes with. Problem solved, though perhaps with not quite the simplicity that Apple often invokes.