or Connect
AppleInsider › Forums › Mobile › iPhone › Functional Chinese knock-off of Apple's Lightning cable disassembled
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

Functional Chinese knock-off of Apple's Lightning cable disassembled

post #1 of 68
Thread Starter 
One of the first unauthorized Lightning connector cables from China has been tested and torn apart for a closer look at the cheaply made ??but still functional ? counterfeit accessory.

Lightning


Frank Donghi of Toxic Cables reached out to AppleInsider after he got his hands on a knock-off Lightning to USB cable from China for $3.50. He said the cable works as expected for charging and syncing, though he noted the connection is "very noisy" when used with external music players due to a lack of proper shielding when compared to Apple's official cables.

"There is no shielding of any sort," he said.

Even after taking one cable apart to look at its integrated chips, Donghi found that the knock-off Lightning connector still works properly, though he characterized the build quality as "extremely poor." He modifies and resells his own fully custom Lightning cables with silver wires.

Lightning


Donghi added that there are 10 different kinds of knock-off Lightning cables and accessories currently being manufactured in China. He said it's possible that some of the other counterfeit cables could be of higher quality, but the one he obtained is very cheaply made.

Unauthorized Lightning connectors first began shipping from China last week. They include standard USB sync and charge cables, as well as Lightning to 30-pin adapters.

Lightning


Any cables currently being shipped are not Apple-certified Lightning accessories, meaning Chinese companies have reverse engineered Apple's new Lightning connector to make these products. The company is expected to hold an official "Made for iPhone" conference in early November to discuss the terms of the Lightning connector with third-party accessory manufacturers.

The first signs of unauthorized Lightning cables and adapters surfaced last week, when pictures showed a number of Lightning authentication chips that were said to be in production. AppleInsider was first to reveal in September that authentication chips were discovered in disassembling Apple's new Lightning connector, which could make it more difficult for unauthorized cables to be manufactured.

Apple acted quickly to employ Lightning and replace its 30-pin dock connector on its so-called "iDevices." The port first showed up in the iPhone 5 in September, and debuted this month with the new iPod nano, iPod touch, iPad mini and fourth-generation iPad. The only products sold by Apple with the company's legacy 30-pin connector are the iPad 2 and the iPod classic.
post #2 of 68

Lightning cables only benefit Apple. I'm glad someone has managed to do this and hopefully many more companies start making 'knock offs'.

 

Either that or Apple does a u-turn and does the sensible thing by adding micro USB to every device.

post #3 of 68
Will these cables even see the light of day in the US. I expect Apple will launch its phalanx of lawyers against these products
post #4 of 68

Apple is still going to send out licenses to 3rd party accessoiries-manufacturers, they just haven't done it yet. And in all honesty, while I do applaud 3rd party accessoires (like pretty much everyone I assume), I would not like to see this kind of quality. Something without shielding which gives off static noise and whatnot is not really the type of quality to write home about.

post #5 of 68
Quote:
Originally Posted by neiltc13 View Post

Lightning cables only benefit Apple. I'm glad someone has managed to do this and hopefully many more companies start making 'knock offs'.

Either that or Apple does a u-turn and does the sensible thing by adding micro USB to every device.

Yes, because it's sensible to have a poor and limited option for connecting our devices¡ Lets all move backwards in technology¡

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

 

Goodbyeee jragosta :: http://forums.appleinsider.com/t/160864/jragosta-joseph-michael-ragosta

Reply

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

 

Goodbyeee jragosta :: http://forums.appleinsider.com/t/160864/jragosta-joseph-michael-ragosta

Reply
post #6 of 68
What? Donghi's website charges £100 for an "iPhone-5-Audiophile-Silver-Custom-Made-Lightning-Cable", the only product found by a site search for "lightning".
post #7 of 68

Have you ever actually used micro-USB?  Every time I plug the thing in, I have to stop, check the orientation, and then try to insert the thing...sometimes not getting it right on the first try.  The whole point of the new connector was ease of use, and multiple applications.  So you can do USB...or analog audio, or HDMI or whatever comes down the pike.

post #8 of 68
Quote:
Originally Posted by neiltc13 View Post

Lightning cables only benefit Apple. I'm glad someone has managed to do this and hopefully many more companies start making 'knock offs'.

Either that or Apple does a u-turn and does the sensible thing by adding micro USB to every device.

So you actually want a $3.50 cable that is of poor quality and induces noise into the connection? How stupid is that? And I suppose you will blame Apple and claim it's their problem when the cable causes problems? We already see this on forums. Somebody with some el-cheapo router raging against Apple because his iPad won't connect to it.
post #9 of 68
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sevenfeet View Post

Have you ever actually used micro-USB?  Every time I plug the thing in, I have to stop, check the orientation, and then try to insert the thing...sometimes not getting it right on the first try.  The whole point of the new connector was ease of use, and multiple applications.  So you can do USB...or analog audio, or HDMI or whatever comes down the pike.

It's the one of the worst cable plug designs I've ever seen. Too many people plug it in the wrong way and it fails to work which can make a device unusable. It's simply not a durable design compared to most.

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

 

Goodbyeee jragosta :: http://forums.appleinsider.com/t/160864/jragosta-joseph-michael-ragosta

Reply

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

 

Goodbyeee jragosta :: http://forums.appleinsider.com/t/160864/jragosta-joseph-michael-ragosta

Reply
post #10 of 68
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sevenfeet View Post

Have you ever actually used micro-USB?  Every time I plug the thing in, I have to stop, check the orientation, and then try to insert the thing...sometimes not getting it right on the first try.  The whole point of the new connector was ease of use, and multiple applications.  So you can do USB...or analog audio, or HDMI or whatever comes down the pike.

I agree. The only upside is that everyone makes the cables. But that's also a downside, a lot of them aren't very well made, mechanically. mini/micro USB tend to behave like a friction fit rather than detent fit. The electical contact isn't always positive either. I think Lightning solves all of these issues, and it should be more flexible.
Edited by JeffDM - 10/31/12 at 8:37am
post #11 of 68

Lightning was made to take us 10 years into the future. Most likely to be compatible only with USB 2.0, but 3.0 and thunderbolt as well. Give Apple a chance to get this going before you talk down on it. It's been what, a little over a month?

 

 

Quote:
The reason why they are analysts is because they failed at running businesses.

 

Reply

 

 

Quote:
The reason why they are analysts is because they failed at running businesses.

 

Reply
post #12 of 68
Quote:
Originally Posted by JeffDM View Post

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sevenfeet View Post

Have you ever actually used micro-USB?  Every time I plug the thing in, I have to stop, check the orientation, and then try to insert the thing...sometimes not getting it right on the first try.  The whole point of the new connector was ease of use, and multiple applications.  So you can do USB...or analog audio, or HDMI or whatever comes down the pike.

I agree. The only upside is that everyone makes the cables. But that's also a downside, a lot of them aren't very well made, mechanically. mini/micro USB are friction fit rather than detent fit. The electical contact isn't always positive either. I think Lightning solves all of these issues, and it should be more flexible.

Yeah... Micro-USB is a terrible connector standard. We have had several phones in the office break at the connector because the shield allows far too much torque and friction on the PCB connector. I like mini-USB, and most of my rechargeable lights and various accessories use it. Lightning is a well engineered connector.

My hope with the slow roll-out is that Apple licenses the Lightning connector to other phone manufacturers and for other accessories. I want robust standards that last 10 years and limit my need for more cords...
post #13 of 68
I could swear that there was a law that dealt with reverse engineering of encrypted protocols. In particular, it was based on reverse-engineering of the protocol used in printer cartridges. I could swear that the law pretty much said you can't just reverse engineer a communications protocol and sell that product. If that's the case, then as mentioned above, when these hit the shores, there should be lawyers aplenty.

Does anyone recall the relevant details of the law on this topic? It's been years, so it's fuzzy.
post #14 of 68
Quote:
Originally Posted by encino View Post

So someone can just buy a real one from the Apple store and swap it with this fake and return it? If it looks identical, the store will easily take it back. Just be sure to use cash so it won't be traced back to you, if the store even figured it out. Even if they catch you, you can say that's the original cable that came with it, but I doubt they'll track it.

They would know their cables so good luck with that. They will probably quickly come out with a way to test cables to ensure they are real for this and 'my iPhone isn't charging' appointments (and start requiring that folks bring in their cables). If a non auth shorts out your phone that is probably a SOL on a covered repair in the terms you didn't read. They might be nice enough to let you buy a swap, even call it 'accidental damage' so you can use your $49 apple care plus.
post #15 of 68
Quote:
Originally Posted by encino View Post

So someone can just buy a real one from the Apple store and swap it with this fake and return it? If it looks identical, the store will easily take it back. Just be sure to use cash so it won't be traced back to you, if the store even figured it out. Even if they catch you, you can say that's the original cable that came with it, but I doubt they'll track it.

 

Why go to the effort?   If you are a thief, just steal the cable directly from the apple store. 

post #16 of 68
I prefer the Lightning connector, because I can connect it in the dark.
post #17 of 68
Quote:
Originally Posted by Galley View Post

I prefer the Lightning connector, because I can connect it in the dark.

That just sounds stupid...which is personally irritating because it is exactly one of the reasons I also like the Lightning connector.

We've always been at war with Eastasia...

Reply

We've always been at war with Eastasia...

Reply
post #18 of 68
Quote:
Originally Posted by neiltc13 View Post

Lightning cables only benefit Apple. I'm glad someone has managed to do this and hopefully many more companies start making 'knock offs'.

Either that or Apple does a u-turn and does the sensible thing by adding micro USB to every device.

Why would you buy into the Apple ecosystem if everything Apple does is seen as "not sensible" and "only benefits Apple"?

"Apple should pull the plug on the iPhone."

John C. Dvorak, 2007
Reply

"Apple should pull the plug on the iPhone."

John C. Dvorak, 2007
Reply
post #19 of 68
Quote:
Originally Posted by encino View Post

So someone can just buy a real one from the Apple store and swap it with this fake and return it? If it looks identical, the store will easily take it back. Just be sure to use cash so it won't be traced back to you, if the store even figured it out. Even if they catch you, you can say that's the original cable that came with it, but I doubt they'll track it.

That's no different from shoplifting. Liberal return policies exist for the customer's benefit, not for exploitation.

"Apple should pull the plug on the iPhone."

John C. Dvorak, 2007
Reply

"Apple should pull the plug on the iPhone."

John C. Dvorak, 2007
Reply
post #20 of 68
Quote:
Originally Posted by lkrupp View Post


So you actually want a $3.50 cable that is of poor quality and induces noise into the connection? How stupid is that?

 

About as stupid as assuming all knockoff cables will continue to be this poor quality. While they will never approach Apple's quality, I'd think it logical to assume these were rushed to market. In the long-term the mass-manufacture of the chips/boards will likely improve the reliability of cables that we can buy 6-12 months from now.
post #21 of 68

The only products sold by Apple with the company's legacy 30-pin connector are the iPad 2 and the iPod classic.

 

And the iPod touch 4th gen, and the iPhone 4S.  All still available for purchase.

post #22 of 68
Quote:
Originally Posted by neiltc13 View Post

Lightning cables only benefit Apple. I'm glad someone has managed to do this and hopefully many more companies start making 'knock offs'.

Either that or Apple does a u-turn and does the sensible thing by adding micro USB to every device.

That's absurd! This connector is much more modern in the way it works, and offers all users benefits. If you can't think that through, then you'd better start from the beginning.
post #23 of 68
Quote:
Originally Posted by encino View Post

So someone can just buy a real one from the Apple store and swap it with this fake and return it? If it looks identical, the store will easily take it back. Just be sure to use cash so it won't be traced back to you, if the store even figured it out. Even if they catch you, you can say that's the original cable that came with it, but I doubt they'll track it.

Not really.
post #24 of 68
Quote:
Originally Posted by Suddenly Newton View Post

Why would you buy into the Apple ecosystem if everything Apple does is seen as "not sensible" and "only benefits Apple"?

There isn't any logic in troll posts.
post #25 of 68
Quote:
Originally Posted by Brian Jojade View Post

The only products sold by Apple with the company's legacy 30-pin connector are the iPad 2 and the iPod classic.


And the iPod touch 4th gen, and the iPhone 4S.  All still available for purchase.

I was wondering if anyone else noticed that.
post #26 of 68
Quote:
Originally Posted by ktappe View Post

About as stupid as assuming all knockoff cables will continue to be this poor quality. While they will never approach Apple's quality, I'd think it logical to assume these were rushed to market. In the long-term the mass-manufacture of the chips/boards will likely improve the reliability of cables that we can buy 6-12 months from now.

Of course the generalization doesn't mean they're all bad. But there is a risk, at least of wasting money and time. Generally unlicensed dock connector cables fell apart considerably quicker than licensed ones.
post #27 of 68
Quote:
Originally Posted by lkrupp View Post

So you actually want a $3.50 cable that is of poor quality and induces noise into the connection? How stupid is that?

 

Yes, just to have in the car to charge the phone and tablets.  As long as it provides power correctly I don't care much about any noise in the data parts.

post #28 of 68
I registered just to say that:
WHAT WE HELL IS "the connection is "very noisy""???

It is DATA cable, for digital data! Digital signal physically can be noisy by itself, but it never effects the data you send! That is one of the main purposes why we use digital signals!
Syncing and connecting to music player with USB-Lighting cable involves only digital signal, so WTF Frank Donghi is talking about? What you need silver handmade cable? Really?

Man, I'm so pissed as a student of telecommunication.
post #29 of 68
Are there no laws in China around this?
post #30 of 68
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rob Bonner View Post

Are there no laws in China around this?

I think there are, but they're not enforced. Sometimes a lot will be confiscated and destroyed for PR benefit, but it really doesn't make a dent.
post #31 of 68

I don't really get the problem.

Apple OEM cables have been very good for me and any copies I have used have been terrible.

Apple's cable may cost 10x more but it'll last 10x longer and won't die and take your iOS device with it.

 

Since you get a cable in the box with the iOS device, you aren't required to buy another.

post #32 of 68
Quote:
Originally Posted by encino View Post

So someone can just buy a real one from the Apple store and swap it with this fake and return it? If it looks identical, the store will easily take it back. Just be sure to use cash so it won't be traced back to you, if the store even figured it out. Even if they catch you, you can say that's the original cable that came with it, but I doubt they'll track it.


Apple employees are not as dumb as you think or hope that they are. I am pretty sure they can tell an Apple cable from most 3rd party knockoffs because they seldom if ever look identical. Obviously you ethics are less than ideal.

Artificial intelligence is no match for natural stupidity.

"A common mistake that people make when trying to design something completely foolproof is to underestimate the ingenuity of complete fools."
Reply
Artificial intelligence is no match for natural stupidity.

"A common mistake that people make when trying to design something completely foolproof is to underestimate the ingenuity of complete fools."
Reply
post #33 of 68
Quote:
Originally Posted by neiltc13 View Post

Lightning cables only benefit Apple. I'm glad someone has managed to do this and hopefully many more companies start making 'knock offs'.

 

Either that or Apple does a u-turn and does the sensible thing by adding micro USB to every device.

 

Why so many people thinking USB is enough for this kind of device? The USB ports is just one of many signal that comes out of the iPod port, the number of pins in the micro-USB port is not enough to output digital and analog audio-video and can't serve has a USB host port for connecting other peripheral like the iPod dock port or the new Lightning port can do. 

post #34 of 68
Quote:
Originally Posted by tickelo View Post

I registered just to say that:
WHAT WE HELL IS "the connection is "very noisy""???
It is DATA cable, for digital data! Digital signal physically can be noisy by itself, but it never effects the data you send! That is one of the main purposes why we use digital signals!
Syncing and connecting to music player with USB-Lighting cable involves only digital signal, so WTF Frank Donghi is talking about? What you need silver handmade cable? Really?
Man, I'm so pissed as a student of telecommunication.

As a telecommunication worker for a Docsis 3.0 operator, I can tell you that you've get it wrong.

 

Digital signal like any other kinds of RF signal running thru air or wire are sensible to signal/noise ratio, Of course with digital signal the output quality doesn't degrade with the noise until you met the threshold, but you can still experiencing throughput degradation and performance issue (common in digital telecommunication using QAM signalling).

 

I've seen many poor USB cable that reduce the transferts speeds or have weirds issues.  Beside, with the new Lightning to old iPod dock port adapter the audio DAC is in the cable, so the analog audio stage within third party adapter can be noisy


Edited by BigMac2 - 10/31/12 at 11:14am
post #35 of 68
Quote:
Originally Posted by BigMac2 View Post

Why so many people thinking USB is enough for this kind of device? The USB ports is just one of many signal that comes out of the iPod port, the number of pins in the micro-USB port is not enough to output digital and analog audio-video and can't serve has a USB host port for connecting other peripheral like the iPod dock port or the new Lightning port can do. 

USB 3.0 has 9 pins too.

 

   700

Life is too short to drink bad coffee.

Reply

Life is too short to drink bad coffee.

Reply
post #36 of 68
I love Apple. I've owned Macs since 1994. But I have to say, the way Apple handled the launch of the lightning cable has been a big FAIL. Once they were set on the specs, they should have made it easy for partner companies to start making cables and adapters. It's crazy that we still have so few (if any?!?) iPhone 5 dock options, a month and a half after launch.

Luckily, this should be our last adapter change for many years.
post #37 of 68
Quote:
Originally Posted by mstone View Post

USB 3.0 has 9 pins too.

 

   700

Thank for the info, 

 

Where is audio in/out and Analog/Digital Video? While have about the same amount of PIN, those in USB ports are not dynamically assign to route multiple signalling through the same port.  USB is only good for Host-Device peering, not device to device 


Edited by BigMac2 - 10/31/12 at 11:22am
post #38 of 68
Quote:
Originally Posted by BigMac2 View Post

As a telecommunication worker for a Docsis 3.0 operator, I can tell you that you've get it wrong.

 

Digital signal like any other kinds of RF signal running thru air or wire are sensible to signal/noise ratio, Of course with digital signal the output quality doesn't degrade with the noise until you met the threshold, but you can still experiencing throughput degradation and performance issue (common in digital telecommunication using QAM signalling).

 

I've seen many poor USB cable that reduce the transferts speeds or have weirds issues.

I know all that. Digital or analog, SNR still has effect because signal is still signal and it has its' physical parameters. In this case noise can reduce the speed of data transfer, but not data quality. That is my point. Article claims that cable is working with syncing between PC and device, but with music player it has "noisy connection". What do they mean? Do they really mean that output sound has additional noise? Or they mean that connection between this two devices is so noisy, that it is not suitable to transfer data on decent speed for continious music playback?

post #39 of 68
Quote:
Originally Posted by tickelo View Post

I know all that. Digital or analog, SNR still has effect because signal is still signal and it has its' physical parameters. In this case noise can reduce the speed of data transfer, but not data quality. That is my point. Article claims that cable is working with syncing between PC and device, but with music player it has "noisy connection". What do they mean? Do they really mean that output sound has additional noise? Or they mean that connection between this two devices is so noisy, that it is not suitable to transfer data on decent speed for continious music playback?

I'm sorry I've change my post after your reply.

 

What is special about the Lightning to Apple Dock adapter is the audio DAC is within the cable's connector, a bad DAC or bad analog stage design can make it prone to analog noise if you're using the Dock audio output


Edited by BigMac2 - 10/31/12 at 11:43am
post #40 of 68

The real way to cutoff 3rd party cables is to have no cable at all.  Wireless sync and charge.  Not sure why Apple is not doing that and is playing games with the knock-off manufacturers.

New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
  Return Home
  Back to Forum: iPhone
AppleInsider › Forums › Mobile › iPhone › Functional Chinese knock-off of Apple's Lightning cable disassembled