To avoid pointless extra electronic waste -- as well as provide the convenience it would create for consumers -- the European Commission strongly encouraged the industry in 2007 to agree a standard for power and data connectors.
The result in 2009 was a pair of new industry standards - CENELEC EN 62684 and ETSI EN 301489-34, which together finessed the pre-existing micro-USB standard and set it as the new standard for phone power and data connections in Europe. Aware that such standards need a little help to get established, the European Commission went on to seek a Memorandum of Understanding from all the important players. Everyone - including Apple - agreed to set 2011 as a target for implementation.
As the phone market is fairly fast-moving, every other manufacturer easily met the deadline. Despite the long notice period, Apple stuck with its proprietary connector, and even the iPhone 4 retained it. So a change in connector in 2012 came as no surprise.
The only problem is, Apple has reneged on that commitment to the European Commission to change to micro-USB like everyone else. Instead, they have introduced a completely new proprietary connector. Dubbed "Lightning", it is quite unlike any other connector in the industry. But it appears to only offer power and data connections -- with HDMI via a dongle, which is also possible with micro-USB -- while forcing customers to once again either carry two chargers or spend money to buy an adaptor that is only useful for Apple phones.