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Authentication chips discovered in teardown of Apple's new Lightning connector - Page 2

post #41 of 73
Lol to funny


Quote:
Originally Posted by RaptorOO7 View Post

So it proves that Apple is gouging their customers.  Costs = $3.50 & Sell = $29.00 that is a pretty steep markup and is simply not justifiable under any circumstances.  We have no choice but to pay the ridiculous price since no one can make a true 3rd party cable.  Shameful Apple, simply SHAMEFUL.
post #42 of 73
Quote:
Originally Posted by sportytoes View Post

The cheap cables do have a functional purpose! They allow you to charge your device. They donot transfer data so you cannot sync or connect to your car stereo.
But they do let you recharge your iphone using your PC at your desk at work without spending big money.

That's a good point!  And really, what else do you use them for?  Everything is backed up to iCloud now(which I love), so you really only need to transfer data through the cable the first time you setup the phone, right?  Use the one that came with the phone and get a cheapy for charging it up at the office or whatever.

post #43 of 73
Quote:
Originally Posted by Freshmaker View Post

You're thinking of the sodas.  The fries cost more than that.  The do make a killing on the drinks tho, you're right about that.  I know the cables cost more than $3.50 - they're probably twice that after all's said and done.  Still, a $29 selling price is extortion.  Give me the crappy knockoffs all day long.  I could care less how aesthetically pleasing the cable is.

Extortion? So they hold a gun to your head to make you buy it?

When will the Apple haters learn that manufacturing cost is totally irrelevant. The market determines what selling price Apple can achieve. If they price it at more than people will pay, they won't sell many (if any at all).

Oh, and btw, Apple's not the only one who charges a lot of money for an active cable. Try this one:
http://www.amazon.com/Power-WPL009-Flashing-Worldwide-shiping/dp/B009A6VOU0/ref=sr_1_25?s=mobile&ie=UTF8&qid=1348268644&sr=1-25&keywords=usb+cable+micro

So where is all the whining about Apple's competitors overcharging for cables?
"I'm way over my head when it comes to technical issues like this"
Gatorguy 5/31/13
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"I'm way over my head when it comes to technical issues like this"
Gatorguy 5/31/13
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post #44 of 73
Quote:
Originally Posted by RaptorOO7 View Post

So it proves that Apple is gouging their customers.  Costs = $3.50 & Sell = $29.00 that is a pretty steep markup and is simply not justifiable under any circumstances.  We have no choice but to pay the ridiculous price since no one can make a true 3rd party cable.  Shameful Apple, simply SHAMEFUL.

It's a GUESS. A GUESS! By somebody who's GUESSING. And it's a guess of the value of one part (a chip that nobody knows what it does). Just one part of the cable, which has 2 ends, and a wire between them, and needs to be manufactured and transported. It's also for the $19 cable, not for the $29 adaptor. Oh, and did I mention that it's a GUESS?

post #45 of 73
Quote:
Originally Posted by Eriamjh View Post

A simple charging adapter shouldn't need a chip.
My guess is lightning is "Thunderbolt Lite" and the chip is a converter.

This is not a simple charging cable. I'm not so sure that is an "authentication" chip but remember the male end of the plug is reversible which means that they need to split the connection and rollover the pins so when you flip it 180° it's still the same when you insert it. I'd imagine this is better to do with a chip.

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post #46 of 73

I see total of three chips on the connector. I think it is PCI-e Gen2 to USB2 chip, the reason is Thunderbolt is based on 2 lanes of PCIe Gen2 ,  in case of lighting it is single lane of PCIe, PCIe plays well as all peripharel Chip in PC world are based on PCIe. So they are all commodity priced. So this chip in the cable is PCIe <=> USB2 , other cables will be PCIe < => HDMI and so on,  Also there is authentication MCU onboard and LDO for power for these two chips.

post #47 of 73

The iPhone 5  works well with my Kenwood Excelon 993 using the lightning connection.  All functions operate (pause, forward, reverse) and all data is transferred to the display of the stereo.  There is no difference in the functionality between my old iPhone 3GS and the new iPhone 5.

I have not tried the bluetooth connection yet but if it's like the 3GS bluetooth connection with this stereo I won't want to.  The functionality of Bluetooth with this Kenwood sucked with the 3GS.

The Kenwood is just over two years old.

http://a248.e.akamai.net/pix.crutchfield.com/ImageHandler/scale/600/600/products/2009/04/113/x113KDCX993-f_mt.jpeg
 

post #48 of 73

Apple has a captive audience, they have us locked into their proprietary standard and they control everything.  Given the sheer volume at which Apple purchases components and the fact that they do not market the cables themselves and enjoy a nice % of any "authorized" made for iPod, iPhone,iPad product their profit margins and greed have no limits.

post #49 of 73
Quote:
Originally Posted by jragosta View Post


Extortion? So they hold a gun to your head to make you buy it?
When will the Apple haters learn that manufacturing cost is totally irrelevant. The market determines what selling price Apple can achieve. If they price it at more than people will pay, they won't sell many (if any at all).
Oh, and btw, Apple's not the only one who charges a lot of money for an active cable. Try this one:
http://www.amazon.com/Power-WPL009-Flashing-Worldwide-shiping/dp/B009A6VOU0/ref=sr_1_25?s=mobile&ie=UTF8&qid=1348268644&sr=1-25&keywords=usb+cable+micro
So where is all the whining about Apple's competitors overcharging for cables?

 People can choose not to buy that micro usb cable, and go with a cheaper cable. With the new Apple connector, people have no choice. If your cable breaks, you HAVE to pay the price Apple sets, there is no "Market" determining the price. Apple can sell the cable for $80 if it felt like it and people have to buy it because there's no competitor that makes the cable at the moment.

post #50 of 73
Straight from my supplier:
 
1. Apple lightning connector is an “active” component (vs. 30pin is an passive one)
2. Only Apple authorized MFi Manufacturing licensees can buy lightning from AVNET.
3. AVNET is about to accept orders for lightning production.
4. MFi licensees can now buy lightning samples from AVNET (one licensee one set only).
 
The chip is a requirement!!!!  it will not work without it.  Currently AVNET has only released test units so any vendor promising delivery quicker then end of September to early October is questionable.
 
Production is due to ramp up next week and then there is a Holiday the first week in Asia.
 
How do I know this?  I am a seller of these cables.  In Apple's defense to the best of my knowledge these cables shouldn't cost $80.00.  My suppliers have assured me that the cables can be produced properly with the IC chip at a reasonable cost to still retail at $8.99
 
 
I will know better next week but delivery times are beginning to look like mid to late October now.  Shame on Apple for not planning better, but I don't think they planned on selling 2 million units in a few hours vs last years 1 million in 24 hours.
 
I do wish they would have provided a adaptor in the box with the phone.  Can't even get a sample of that.  Apple's not even shipping them until October.  Still couldn't think of a better phone to have!  On that note just imagine what we are going to be able to do with this new all digital connector?  Change is a pain, but I we are going to see some really neat accessories coming from this change.
 
post #51 of 73
Originally Posted by Rango98 View Post
How do I know this?  I am a seller of these cables.  In Apple's defense to the best of my knowledge these cables shouldn't cost $80.00.

 

Good. And sorry, seller, but I'll trust Apple's cables over generic ones. 

post #52 of 73
FYI Neil, it's just "Lightning." No "bolt."

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post #53 of 73
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mac_128 View Post

Wow! $3.50 to make, and they charge $19.00 for it. That's an 80% profit.

As someone else previously pointed out, component cost is only part of the total product cost.

 

Depending on the product, it might anywhere from 90% to 2% of the final cost. (Highly-scientific WAG applied to produce the answer.)

post #54 of 73
Most of you are used to being ripped off. Here in Hong Kong I payed $2 usd for 30 pin connectors before lightning came out. I guarantee that in 2 weeks i'll be paying the same for lightning cables.
post #55 of 73
Originally Posted by Lerxt View Post
Most of you are used to being ripped off. Here in Hong Kong I payed $2 usd for 30 pin connectors before lightning came out. I guarantee that in 2 weeks i'll be paying the same for lightning cables.

 

Enjoy paying for something that won't work.

post #56 of 73
It will. They will copy it and charge $2. Chip and all.
post #57 of 73
Originally Posted by Lerxt View Post
It will. They will copy it and charge $2. Chip and all.


Good luck with that and the legal ramifications thereof.

post #58 of 73

It's kind of amazing how online tech blogs have detached themselves entirely from the notion of journalistic integrity, and how quickly hundreds of sites will propagate an unfounded rumor posted by one of their peers.

 

An "authentication chip"? Seriously?

 

How about the far more rational explanation that Apple has gone with a solution based on MyDP for Lightning in order to enable USB OTG and HDMI/VGA over a single 8-pin connector? This would be a sensible way to counter Samsung's choice of MHL over a modified USB Micro AB connector.

 

I would imagine the chips are there to deMUX the USB D+ and D- signals off of the MyDP main link and perform hot plug detect and voltage regulation duties.

 

It's very possible that the el-cheapo Lightning cables support charging but not sync, seeing as it would be pretty easy to make a cable with VBUS, GND and HPD via simple circuitry.

 

It would have also been nice if AppleInsider had requested that the person who originally submitted this information finish cleaning the glue off the chip and take a proper photo of it. As it is, it's pretty much impossible to make out the chip markings and perform any reasonable identification. I've seen some claim it's an NXP device and elsewhere it's reported as being from TI. My money would actually be on Analogix as the supplier of the IP and silicon for Lightning.

 

And if I were to totally armchair reverse engineer this one, the pinout for Lightning goes something like:

 

Shield

1 C-Wire / Aux+

2 Aux-

3 VBUS

4 HPD

5 GND

6 Main Link Tx+

7 Main Link TX-

8 System Clock

Shield

post #59 of 73
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post

Originally Posted by Lerxt View Post
It will. They will copy it and charge $2. Chip and all.


Good luck with that and the legal ramifications thereof.


You don't get his point, Tallest. There are no legal ramifications to copying cables in Hong Kong and China. None. There is next to no chance that someone will have an issue with counterfeit (but perfectly functional) cables to the extent that it would make such cables scarce in places like Mong Kok, Wanchai, Sham Shui Po and Windsor House.

post #60 of 73
Originally Posted by tonton View Post
You don't get his point, Tallest. There are no legal ramifications to copying cables in Hong Kong and China. None. There is next to no chance that someone will have an issue with counterfeit (but perfectly functional) cables to the extent that it would make such cables scarce in places like Mong Kok, Wanchai, Sham Shui Po and Windsor House.

 

Why does Apple bother doing business there at all if their stuff can be stolen wholesale with no ramifications (as it IS, and has been for years)?

post #61 of 73
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post

Why does Apple bother doing business there at all if their stuff can be stolen wholesale with no ramifications (as it IS, and has been for years)?

Simple answer: The benefits outweigh the drawbacks.

If Apple didn't sell to China they would still have a huge number of iPhones, just not as many and with Apple making less per unit than selling directly to customers and carriers in China.

Let's remember that Apple has to design these cables and that the new Lightening cable is much complex than the previous 30-pin connector. They have a chip that, at the very least, will split and rollover the pins so that it can be reversed. Perhaps it's the phone itself and not the connector/cable that has been improved but I do feel as if it both charges and syncs faster than with previous devices. I wonder how these technically functional cables compare to Apple's in durability and performance.

Also, when you can still someone's IP so easily you have to factor in these costs into the product so when people claim that something is too expensive which is why they bought the knock off they are only helping to keep the original at a higher price, not reduce it. They could also irrevocably hurt the bottom line of the original they so desire, especially if it's an appearance that is the primary factor for its success, like with LV bags (not saying that LV is irrevocably hurt by all the knock offs only that they are an appearance based product unlike an iPhone KIRF that will be an inferior OS and HW under the surface regardless of how great it looks on the surface).
Edited by SolipsismX - 9/23/12 at 1:18pm

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post #62 of 73
Quote:
Originally Posted by icoco3 View Post

 

That is a 543% profit....

 

19.00 / 3.50 = 5.42857...

 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mac_128 View Post


Sorry, you're right of course, I meant in as much as it costs 20% out of the 100% retail price, leaving them with 80% profit.
Still, sales are such that Apple correctly predicted there was no need to change their profit model to ensure sales of the new iPhone, and as such was a smart business move, since it doesn't devalue the perception of their products. I don't agree with it in this case as a consumer, but as a shareholder, good for them.

 

 

 

You're both wrong.  Profit is price above cost.   So $100 for a $50 cost is $100 - $50 or $50 profit.

 

It doesn't leave them with "80%" profit.  You can say that the cost is only 17.5% of the total price.  Or, that with a cost of $3.50, they make (19-3.5)/3.5 *100% or 443% profit.  Not unheard of in the realm of retail electronics today.  That may not be a loaded cost with assembly labor, design, and shipping included, but oh well.

post #63 of 73
Quote:
Originally Posted by repoman27 View Post

It's kind of amazing how online tech blogs have detached themselves entirely from the notion of journalistic integrity, and how quickly hundreds of sites will propagate an unfounded rumor posted by one of their peers.

 

An "authentication chip"? Seriously?

 

How about the far more rational explanation that Apple has gone with a solution based on MyDP for Lightning in order to enable USB OTG and HDMI/VGA over a single 8-pin connector? This would be a sensible way to counter Samsung's choice of MHL over a modified USB Micro AB connector.

 

I would imagine the chips are there to deMUX the USB D+ and D- signals off of the MyDP main link and perform hot plug detect and voltage regulation duties.

 

It's very possible that the el-cheapo Lightning cables support charging but not sync, seeing as it would be pretty easy to make a cable with VBUS, GND and HPD via simple circuitry.

 

It would have also been nice if AppleInsider had requested that the person who originally submitted this information finish cleaning the glue off the chip and take a proper photo of it. As it is, it's pretty much impossible to make out the chip markings and perform any reasonable identification. I've seen some claim it's an NXP device and elsewhere it's reported as being from TI. My money would actually be on Analogix as the supplier of the IP and silicon for Lightning.

 

And if I were to totally armchair reverse engineer this one, the pinout for Lightning goes something like:

 

Shield

1 C-Wire / Aux+

2 Aux-

3 VBUS

4 HPD

5 GND

6 Main Link Tx+

7 Main Link TX-

8 System Clock

Shield

Agreed, Its totally dumb for a cable company and AI to think these are some super secret "Auth" chips.  It is likely to handle the various tasks for the lightning connector.

post #64 of 73
Are you sure that is an Authentication chip? I mean, I am no data cable expert but the first thing that came to my mind was the fact the connector is reversible. That means the cable is reversible on one side(Lightning side), and not on the other (usb side). A chip set in line to orientate the data would make sense to me.
post #65 of 73
Quote:
Originally Posted by toastydoc View Post

Are you sure that is an Authentication chip? I mean, I am no data cable expert but the first thing that came to my mind was the fact the connector is reversible. That means the cable is reversible on one side(Lightning side), and not on the other (usb side). A chip set in line to orientate the data would make sense to me.

That's been my argument as the most likely usage for the chip, too. Welcome to the forum.

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post #66 of 73
Quote:
Originally Posted by toastydoc View Post

Are you sure that is an Authentication chip? I mean, I am no data cable expert but the first thing that came to my mind was the fact the connector is reversible. That means the cable is reversible on one side(Lightning side), and not on the other (usb side). A chip set in line to orientate the data would make sense to me.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by SolipsismX View Post


That's been my argument as the most likely usage for the chip, too. Welcome to the forum.

 

The mirroring of the pins can be accomplished fairly easily through the use of vias since the contacts are already part of a multi-layer PCB.

 

However, we know this interface is capable of HDMI output, and there is no way to map an HDMI signal pin-for-pin to the Lightning connector, so we can be fairly certain that it uses an altogether different transport protocol for digital video. Likewise, there is no reason to presume that any of the pins on the Lightning connector correspond directly to the signals for USB or any other digital interface. If Lightning was based on a simple switched architecture, where the SOC selected which signals to provide based on the capabilities advertised by the attached device, just using an ID pin along with some passive circuitry would have been sufficient.

 

Therefore, my guess is that the chip is a Lightning to USB 2.0 protocol adapter, and that Lightning is actually using a protocol based on MyDP.

post #67 of 73
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post

 

New, from Monster, the DX500304 Apple Lighting Cable, 5": $129.99*!

 

*10" DX500305 available in November for $159.99

 

EDIT: Oh, gosh, I was joking. The guy's actually selling this for $80… 

A special heating process permanently straightens the cable so it is not covered in kinks like the Apple Lightning cable is when it comes out of the box.

 

There must be something very special about that hairdryer.

 


Edited by iPhone5Addict - 9/25/12 at 3:10pm
post #68 of 73
Quote:
Originally Posted by scootermafia View Post

No, you won't be able to charge your iPhone with the fake cables.

And you know this because you have these fake cable to hand, right?

post #69 of 73
I would be shocked if the chip is an authenticator. Rather, I expect it is to handle the flexibility of the cable. If I turn it over, it still goes in, but how does the and - 5v (usb power) know where to go? The chip probably provides the logic to handle that.

That is why microusb can only be put in one way.
post #70 of 73
Didn't the old connectors start using chips like these too? Really the only question is, is it the same chip? I remember they started doing that and old cables wouldn't work with new iPods then.
post #71 of 73

I'm the guy that did this disassembly, so let's summarize, since there's a lot of information out there and not everyone is synthesizing it fully.

 

The cable's chips/board is only able to interact with the USB V+ wire (the USB power line).  It has no interaction with the data lines.  The USB power pins are mirrored so they connect to the same place in the iphone's Lightning jack when you flip it.  The data pins are different.  They don't mirror, they're the same pin on the top row of pins as the bottom.  So when you flip it, the iPhone itself is assigning them.  The chips in the cable aren't doing that.  We don't know precisely what the chips on the cable are, while they look sophisticated, they could be doing something pretty mundane, probably negotiating with the charger to see what kind of a power source it is (laptop, wall cord, car cord) then deciding if the power specifications are right to supply power.

post #72 of 73
Quote:
Originally Posted by scootermafia View Post

I'm the guy that did this disassembly, so let's summarize, since there's a lot of information out there and not everyone is synthesizing it fully.

 

The cable's chips/board is only able to interact with the USB V+ wire (the USB power line).  It has no interaction with the data lines.  The USB power pins are mirrored so they connect to the same place in the iphone's Lightning jack when you flip it.  The data pins are different.  They don't mirror, they're the same pin on the top row of pins as the bottom.  So when you flip it, the iPhone itself is assigning them.  The chips in the cable aren't doing that.  We don't know precisely what the chips on the cable are, while they look sophisticated, they could be doing something pretty mundane, probably negotiating with the charger to see what kind of a power source it is (laptop, wall cord, car cord) then deciding if the power specifications are right to supply power.

Why don't you post some facts rather then all assumptions. Because that's all you have been doing so far.

post #73 of 73
The presence of a chip doesn't mean it's "authentication". It may be a tranceiver, much like the chips in Thunderbolt cables. It might also be doing protocol conversion, to allow lots of different features to share the same 8 pins on the phone side of the cable.

I agree that this chip is (at least initially) going to make the cables expensive, but unless the author has tracked down the chip's model number and identified it as authentication chip (which isn't mentioned in the article), it could serve any number of purposes.

The days of cables being simple wires-and-connectors are pretty much gone. Most modern connections (especially high-speed ones) are more complicated than that.
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