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Unauthorized third-party Lightning authentication chips reportedly in production

post #1 of 41
Thread Starter 
An image published on Monday showed what is claimed to be a number of non-approved Lightning authentication chips, suggesting that unauthorized third-party accessories may hit store shelves before Apple's own partners are able to produce their own products.

Lightning Security
Alleged unauthorized Lightning authentication chips. | Source: Apple.pro via BGR


With Lightning cables and adapters already in short supply from Apple, currently the only producer of said accessories, many unlicensed third-party manufacturers have been looking to take advantage of the situation, though the connector's security chip proved to be an effective deterrent against such production.

Apple's security measures may have been cracked, however, as Apple.pro (via BGR) posted an image of what it claims to be "third party non-approved authentication chips" for Lightning cables.

According to the source of the photo, there are currently "multiple versions" of the unauthorized chip being produced in China, possibly pointing to the imminent release of inexpensive accessories.

If legitimate, the unauthorized authentication chips pose a serious threat to Apple's own "Made for iPhone/iPad/iPod" partners, as the unlicensed accessories would be on the market well before official MFI products. Apple is scheduled to discuss Lightning's terms of use with MFI manufacturers in November, and it is unclear if the third-parties will be able to make accessories in time for the holiday shopping season.

AppleInsider was first to report that Apple was presumedly using authentication chips in its new 30-pin dock connector replacement, with the discovery seemingly confirmed by a teardown of the Lightning port by Chipworks. In the investigation, the analysis firm found that the embedded authentication chip uses security technology seen in printer cartridges, which was declared to offer "just enough" security for the time being.

A report in early October suggested that Apple's chip had been reverse engineered, though the rumor failed to yield any products.
post #2 of 41
YES!
Need some kind of accessories
post #3 of 41
Originally Posted by Seankill View Post
YES!
Need some kind of accessories

 

NO!
But I'd prefer they not fry my devices or break in a week.

Originally Posted by helia

I can break your arm if I apply enough force, but in normal handshaking this won't happen ever.
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Originally Posted by helia

I can break your arm if I apply enough force, but in normal handshaking this won't happen ever.
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post #4 of 41
NVM
post #5 of 41

FWIW, my Verizon store has plenty of stock of the USB/Lightning charging cables.

   Apple develops an improved programming language.  Google copied Java.  Everything you need to know, right there.

 

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   Apple develops an improved programming language.  Google copied Java.  Everything you need to know, right there.

 

    AT&T believes their LTE coverage is adequate

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post #6 of 41
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post

 

NO!
But I'd prefer they not fry my devices or break in a week.

 

never had trouble with the ones i got for my iphone 4, charges it nicely, everytime, for says 900+ times? (over 2.2 years ish)

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by John.B View Post

FWIW, my Verizon store has plenty of stock of the USB/Lightning charging cables.

They are fine, itd just be nice to pay 5-10 bucks for a quality cable, not 20 or 30   whatever they cost (i know its 30 for the adapter)

post #7 of 41
Let that cheap shit burn!
post #8 of 41

It would be crazy though if iOS would be able to record that an unathorized cord was connected

i'll wait and see if thats true lol

post #9 of 41
Originally Posted by Seankill View Post
It would be crazy though if iOS would be able to record that an unathorized cord was connected

 

It could be iTunes/Palm all over again.

Originally Posted by helia

I can break your arm if I apply enough force, but in normal handshaking this won't happen ever.
Reply

Originally Posted by helia

I can break your arm if I apply enough force, but in normal handshaking this won't happen ever.
Reply
post #10 of 41

Is this were truly an “authentication” chip, as has been often repeated with too little evidence, then it wouldn’t be crackable like this. It’s not a challenge beyond Apple’s power to meet. It’s a chip, and one that is needed for Lightning... but is it truly an authentication chip? The “media” (er, blogs) never seem to question it.

post #11 of 41
"If legitimate ..."

How can an illegal, unauthorised, copy of someone else's product ever be thought of as "legitimate?"

You people need to use a dictionary more often. It is illegitimate by definition in both the legal sense as well as the originality/identity sense.
post #12 of 41
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gazoobee View Post

"If legitimate ..."
How can an illegal, unauthorised, copy of someone else's product ever be thought of as "legitimate?"
You people need to use a dictionary more often. It is illegitimate by definition in both the legal sense as well as the originality/identity sense.

The picture, the source, the claim.

 

Not the product.

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Shut up and go away, you useless, pathetic FUDmonger - Tallest Skil
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post #13 of 41
Quote:
Originally Posted by Seankill View Post

They are fine, itd just be nice to pay 5-10 bucks for a quality cable, not 20 or 30   whatever they cost (i know its 30 for the adapter)

 

I think we paid $19 for the real deal.

   Apple develops an improved programming language.  Google copied Java.  Everything you need to know, right there.

 

    AT&T believes their LTE coverage is adequate

Reply

   Apple develops an improved programming language.  Google copied Java.  Everything you need to know, right there.

 

    AT&T believes their LTE coverage is adequate

Reply
post #14 of 41
Quote:
Originally Posted by hentaiboy View Post

The picture, the source, the claim.

 

Not the product.

It still wasn't clear what the particular "legitimate" was referring to and there were many other words that could have been used.  

post #15 of 41
I agree 100%. I've seen nothing to indicate this is an authentication chip. Lots if speculation of course but no solid facts. If anything it would be in Apples best interest to loosen up a bit with respect to Mfi. Now they don't appear to be doing that but yet there is no evidence of an authentication process here.

Frankly we really don't know much at all about this interface, it's capability, speeds or anything else.
Quote:
Originally Posted by nagromme View Post

Is this were truly an “authentication” chip, as has been often repeated with too little evidence, then it wouldn’t be crackable like this. It’s not a challenge beyond Apple’s power to meet. It’s a chip, and one that is needed for Lightning... but is it truly an authentication chip? The “media” (er, blogs) never seem to question it.
post #16 of 41
I haven't bought a legit Apple accessory since I got my 3G and I would plan to start now. I mean $20 for a cables, I can buy 10 cables for $10, sure some may break soon, but I'll still come out ahead. And its not like the original apple cables are something special, I mean 1 year in a car or backpack and something will happen to them. I seriously wouldn't be able to afford an iPHone if I just bought Apple products.
post #17 of 41
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gazoobee View Post

"If legitimate ..."
How can an illegal, unauthorised, copy of someone else's product ever be thought of as "legitimate?"

I believe they meant "legitimate" in the Todd Akin sense of the word.

post #18 of 41
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gazoobee View Post

"If legitimate ..."
How can an illegal, unauthorised, copy of someone else's product ever be thought of as "legitimate?"
You people need to use a dictionary more often. It is illegitimate by definition in both the legal sense as well as the originality/identity sense.

 

Here's another word, "pedantic".

 

It's not necessarily illegal to reverse engineer something like this.  If the engineers were just given the specs for what was needed, and never even saw the Lightning connector; and if they developed chips according to those specs that worked, then yes, these chips could be considered legal... and legitimate (though not to the source).

post #19 of 41
Quote:
Originally Posted by nagromme View Post

Is this were truly an “authentication” chip, as has been often repeated with too little evidence, then it wouldn’t be crackable like this. It’s not a challenge beyond Apple’s power to meet. It’s a chip, and one that is needed for Lightning... but is it truly an authentication chip? The “media” (er, blogs) never seem to question it.

There is absolutely nothing that points to this being an authentication chip but I guess that makes it easier to get page hits.

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post #20 of 41
Quote:
Originally Posted by John.B View Post

 

I think we paid $19 for the real deal.

True, just for the cord though.

Just saying, everyone on here seems to think that just because they aren't "Apple Approved", means that they suck (i am sure some do).

My mom, girlfriend, and I all used cords that were not "Apple Quality" for our iphone 4s, so probably a combined 2500 charges over 2ish years, we all three still have our iphone 4s as backup phones and ipods. So just saying, i also have to note, that we had cords from 3 different suppliers.

 

Though the lightning cord is a much different cord. Will be interesting to see how they work. I will wait for some feedback first lol

post #21 of 41

I'm not sure why everybody's calling it some sort of "security authentication chip." It started when some random guy decided to pry apart the cable, saw a chip in there, and assumed it was some kind of DRM chip.

 

It's an active cable, just like Thunderbolt. Instead of having 30 pins that are rarely used and take up extra space, Apple moved some circuitry outside of the device and now has 9 pins that that auto-configure themselves and can do multiple things based on whatever's plugged into it. The chip just helps to tells the iDevice what the pins are supposed to do when something gets plugged in.

 

Apple does have other methods of "authentication," but that chip isn't one of them.

 

 

Also an interesting read: http://www.anandtech.com/show/6330/the-iphone-5-review/14

post #22 of 41
Quote:
Originally Posted by Seankill View Post

YES!
Need some kind of accessories


Please... What's the likelihood that you'd come clean to Apple and tell them the $3.00 cheap chinese knockoff accessory you bought fried your Apple product?  Are you going to fess-up and tell them the cable caused it or are you going to play stupid and say "I dunno, my phone just caught fire!!  *wink* *wink*"

This is the problem with the mentality folks like you have.  I would bet Apple deals all the time with their products being damaged in some way by unauthorized 3rd-party accessories and folks like you trying to pass the buck to Apple for your ignorance.

It reminds me of people admitting on this forum that they dropped their phone in the toilet or bathtub, shorted it out and tried to "pretend" to an Apple rep that they don't know why it's not working.  People just don't want to grow-up and assume responsibility for their actions if it means they can steal a buck from someone else.

post #23 of 41
Quote:
Originally Posted by Seankill View Post

never had trouble with the ones i got for my iphone 4, charges it nicely, everytime, for says 900+ times? (over 2.2 years ish)
Previous cable is just wire, as long as the shielding is good, no worries about frying or breaking device. But lightning cable has a chip inside because of adaptive wiring system. If the knock off chip doesn't emulate perfectly, there is possibility of breaking device.
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Fun and relaxing way to prepare Japanese Language Proficiency Test (JLPT) test with Juku Apps
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post #24 of 41

I really have no sympathy for Apple if unlicensed accessories come out first. They should have talked to accessory makers *MONTHS* ago, not NEXT MONTH, well after the phone has come out. What in the heck were they thinking?

 

We should have had accessories on release day. Instead their ridiculous obsession with secrecy (over a connector? How is secrecy even necessary here?) has resulted in them shooting themselves in the foot.

 

Big fail.
 

post #25 of 41
Quote:
Originally Posted by zorinlynx View Post

I really have no sympathy for Apple if unlicensed accessories come out first. They should have talked to accessory makers *MONTHS* ago, not NEXT MONTH, well after the phone has come out. What in the heck were they thinking?

 

We should have had accessories on release day. Instead their ridiculous obsession with secrecy (over a connector? How is secrecy even necessary here?) has resulted in them shooting themselves in the foot.

 

Big fail.
 


And I have zero sympathy for you if your unlicensed accessory breaks your phone and you try crying back to Apple that your phone was a faulty product when in fact it was your fault.

post #26 of 41
Quote:
Originally Posted by sflocal View Post


And I have zero sympathy for you if your unlicensed accessory breaks your phone and you try crying back to Apple that your phone was a faulty product when in fact it was your fault.

 

Has there ever been a story about a third party cable breaking an iPhone?

 

I know there's been a few stories about third party batteries in iPods doing bad things but nothing about cables. 

post #27 of 41

I have no qualms about using a $6 30pin cable instead of the Apple branded $29 cable, however I don't think I'd want to use a cheap no name brand cable that needed complicated electronics like the lightning cable, it might be fine but I would not want to take a chance.

post #28 of 41
Quote:
Originally Posted by AnalogJack View Post

I have no qualms about using a $6 30pin cable instead of the Apple branded $29 cable, however I don't think I'd want to use a cheap no name brand cable that needed complicated electronics like the lightning cable, it might be fine but I would not want to take a chance.

Note it's $19.

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post #29 of 41
Quote:
Originally Posted by macslut View Post

 

Here's another word, "pedantic".

 

It's not necessarily illegal to reverse engineer something like this.  If the engineers were just given the specs for what was needed, and never even saw the Lightning connector; and if they developed chips according to those specs that worked, then yes, these chips could be considered legal... and legitimate (though not to the source).

 

Oh come on.  This is stupid.  You are actually arguing that the Chinese cloners are operating in some kind of blind box clean room environment?  Why because that gives them the moral high ground (which they care about soooo much of course).  What a load of crap.  Who's being pedantic now?

post #30 of 41
Quote:
Originally Posted by RichL View Post

Has there ever been a story about a third party cable breaking an iPhone?

I know there's been a few stories about third party batteries in iPods doing bad things but nothing about cables. 

Not that I recall. I've heard of a charger burni up an entire car- but I'm pretty sure that was urban legend. And that's one.

Sflocal needs to take a chill pill. It's like someone raped his dog- it's just a third party accessory dude- relax... Your stock will be fine.

And Zorin is dead on. There is zero reason at all why the lightning meeting didn't happen the week of or the week after the iPhone press conference. All it did was delay the legitimate third party accessory makers and delay us, the consumer, of getting some charging docks or alarm clocks. Is only a complaint because of what could have been- a month earlier for accessories.

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post #31 of 41
Great news. $2 cables again. Well done to the Chinese manufacturers.
post #32 of 41
Our company has successfully tested these third party chips and cable from several suppliers in the far east and we haven't seen any incompatibilities. The cables are charging and data transfers are the same speed as the official Apple cables. I'm not sure why the need for the extra authentication, but nonetheless, it's already been broken.
post #33 of 41
Quote:
Originally Posted by sflocal View Post


Please... What's the likelihood that you'd come clean to Apple and tell them the $3.00 cheap chinese knockoff accessory you bought fried your Apple product?  Are you going to fess-up and tell them the cable caused it or are you going to play stupid and say "I dunno, my phone just caught fire!!  *wink* *wink*"

This is the problem with the mentality folks like you have.  I would bet Apple deals all the time with their products being damaged in some way by unauthorized 3rd-party accessories and folks like you trying to pass the buck to Apple for your ignorance.

It reminds me of people admitting on this forum that they dropped their phone in the toilet or bathtub, shorted it out and tried to "pretend" to an Apple rep that they don't know why it's not working.  People just don't want to grow-up and assume responsibility for their actions if it means they can steal a buck from someone else.

 

Like i said before, 2500+ charges = 0 problems

At the current rate, my iphone 4 is more likey to turn to dust

 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by fuwafuwa View Post


Previous cable is just wire, as long as the shielding is good, no worries about frying or breaking device. But lightning cable has a chip inside because of adaptive wiring system. If the knock off chip doesn't emulate perfectly, there is possibility of breaking device.

 

I made note of that

post #34 of 41
Quote:
Originally Posted by SolipsismX View Post


Note it's $19.

 

 

 

In Australia when I bought my 5th gen nano they were $29, now they are $25 over here.

post #35 of 41
Quote:
Originally Posted by AnalogJack View Post



In Australia when I bought my 5th gen nano they were $29, now they are $25 over here.

All prices are assumed as USD unless other stated.

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"There is no rule that says the best phones must have the largest screen." ~RoundaboutNow

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post #36 of 41
Quote:
Originally Posted by sflocal View Post


And I have zero sympathy for you if your unlicensed accessory breaks your phone and you try crying back to Apple that your phone was a faulty product when in fact it was your fault.

I have a great deal of sympathy for anyone in this position. I choose not to to buy non-licensed cables because it seems like a poor plan to risk this until the products are seen to be safe but that is my choice and it is an affordable luxury. This is not the case for everyone.

 

On the other hand it is still not clear how these cables work and what they are for yet. Hopefully we will find out next month. By getting a knock-off cable now you could be risking damage to your machine but also you could be sacrificing functionality that we are not yet aware of. If it is the latter, it could also be a waste of money.

post #37 of 41
Originally Posted by festerfeet View Post
This is not the case for everyone.

 

… If they "couldn't afford" something with usable build quality, would they be buying Apple products? 

Originally Posted by helia

I can break your arm if I apply enough force, but in normal handshaking this won't happen ever.
Reply

Originally Posted by helia

I can break your arm if I apply enough force, but in normal handshaking this won't happen ever.
Reply
post #38 of 41
Quote:
Originally Posted by sflocal View Post


And I have zero sympathy for you if your unlicensed accessory breaks your phone and you try crying back to Apple that your phone was a faulty product when in fact it was your fault.

You conveniently skipped over his main point. Apple should have had this meeting with third party manufacturers MONTHS ago instead of next month. This assbackwards way of doing things only hurts customers.
post #39 of 41
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post

 

… If they "couldn't afford" something with usable build quality, would they be buying Apple products? 

Yes, I know of people who make a significant purchase like and iPhone or iPad and are really stretching their budget to do so. Therefore they are able to rationalise the risk of using a cheap non-approved cable because they can't afford anything else. Like you I don't choose to take that risk and we seem to be in the position that for a relatively small cost we can or choose to avoid that issue.

 

We have a lot of staff that are paid well and fairly in China who earn a fraction of what they would expect to earn in the West. Admittedly a lot of their living costs are considerably lower than Europeans or Americans but the capital cost of an iPhone or iPad is a substantial lifestyle choice. Therefore the saving of 10/20 dollars to buy a spare cable is not such a big deal to some but will be seen as significantly different to others when it could be a similar cost to a meal out for 4 at a pretty good local restaurant. 

post #40 of 41
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gazoobee View Post

 

Oh come on.  This is stupid.  You are actually arguing that the Chinese cloners are operating in some kind of blind box clean room environment?  Why because that gives them the moral high ground (which they care about soooo much of course).  What a load of crap.  Who's being pedantic now?

 

No, I'm saying that reverse engineering can be legal, and even more so that reverse engineering can occur such that it can't be proven in a court of law that it was illegal.  I have no idea exactly what the engineers did, or even if it was reverse engineered in China as opposed to here in the US with engineering orders being sent to China for manufacturing, but the point still stands regarding the phrase,  "If legitimate...".

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