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Apple's reported 'Lightning only' MFi terms restrict combo adapters

post #1 of 58
Thread Starter 
The death of a Kickstarter project that promised a charging device with support for Lightning, legacy 30-pin iDevice and micro-USB interconnects has shed light on Apple's strict Made for iPhone/iPad/iPod terms and conditions.

POP Station
The now defunct POP Station charging system. | Source: Edison Junior via Kickstarter


It was announced on Thursday that popular Kickstarter project POP, a mobile device charging system which surpassed its funding goal of $50,000 after 1,000 backers raised $139,170 in September, was officially canceled as Apple refused to approve the product as it uses Lightning alongside other interconnects.

In an update to its Kickstarter page, first reported by The Verge, POP creator and Edison Junior CEO James Siminoff said Apple effectively killed the project after he applied for permission to incorporate Lightning connectors in the charging unit. POP was funded before the release of the iPhone 5, which first introduced Lightning in October.

"After applying to Apple (which is now required for Lightning), we learned that they are no longer willing to approve a product that uses the Lightning charger alongside any other charger (including their own 30-pin ? seriously)," said Siminoff in a Kickstarter update. "Just like that, POP could no longer fulfill its true promise."

The move to limit third-party accessories to be Lightning-only should come as no surprise as Apple has been steadfast in retaining control over the new I/O protocol.

Apple held a conference in November to hammer out guidelines for Lightning's implementation in third-party products, though much of the details resulting from the meeting have yet to be revealed.

Lighting-enabled accessories have been slow to market and have only recently been seeing release by companies like Belkin. Apple is in complete control of the the crucial pins and authentication hardware used in Lightning's connector, prohibiting companies from manufacturing the component without a license. A report in September outlined the high average sales price of parts used in the iPhone 5 and found Lightning represented the biggest jump in component ASP when compared to the iPhone 4S.

Unlike the legacy 30-pin adapters, Lightning is more complex to produce and thus carries a higher price tag. For example, the new connector features an authentication system, a patent of which was discovered by AppleInsider in October.

Lightning Cable Teardown
Lightning cable teardown reveals authentication chip. | Source: Chipworks


As for POP, Siminoff is now trying to find a way to refund the money paid by the 1,000 backers. Edison Junior will also have to eat the loss associated with credit card processing fees and possibly Kickstarter's five percent cut of total sales.
post #2 of 58
Kickstarter investors need to remember: crowd sourced venture capital still carries risks. Kickstarter does not guarantee projects will reach fruition.

"Apple should pull the plug on the iPhone."

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post #3 of 58

So, um, why not sell the charging unit with just USB connects so the customer can bring whatever cables they want? Hell, it might be a tidy side business to sell Lightening, 30Pin and MicroUSB cables that are compatible with their cable retraction system. No problem making just cables, right? That would be all that needed Apple's licensing. So, make the cables, with license and sell the unit and cables separately. Permanently attached cables seem like a deal killer for the original design anyway, regardless of Apple's concerns.

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post #4 of 58
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post
As for POP, Siminoff is now trying to find a way to refund the money paid by the 1,000 backers. Edison Junior will also have to eat the loss associated with credit card processing fees and possibly Kickstarter's five percent cut of total sales.

 

Hopefully this will create some actual concern (for once) about the quality and trustworthiness of this "Kickstarter" thing.

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post #5 of 58
I'm somewhat appalled that 3rd party products must be lightening only, and can't even incorporate Apple's legacy 30-pin dock connector. That's kind of whack.

So essentially if a 3rd party vendor wants in, they have to manufacture separate products for each Apple connector, meaning a consumer who buys a product for their iPhone 4, will have to repurchase the device when they upgrade to an iPhone 5.

Nuts!
post #6 of 58
Actually, the solution is simple: swap out the lightning connector for another 30-pin connector and include a lightning adapter for it.
http://store.apple.com/us/product/MD823ZM/A/lightning-to-30-pin-adapter?fnode=45
post #7 of 58
I don't understand why this would bring a bad light on kick starter. the guy is making a genuine effort top refund his backers money. The only thing it sheds is kick starters deficiency in not having a refund option for such occasions.

This actually brings a bad light on Apple as they are seen as uncooperative and overly enclosed.
post #8 of 58
Quote:
Originally Posted by jbh0001 View Post

Actually, the solution is simple: swap out the lightning connector for another 30-pin connector and include a lightning adapter for it.
http://store.apple.com/us/product/MD823ZM/A/lightning-to-30-pin-adapter?fnode=45

 

I sometimes wonder if the reason Apple has been stalling in supporting 3rd parties in making Lightning accessories is so they can sell even more of those over priced connectors. What percentage of the POPs price would have to be added to pay for that $30 adaptor ($40 if you want one with a 6-inch cable)? I love my Apple products, but not letting a device have connectors for Lightening and Dock is pretty silly.

post #9 of 58
Quote:
Originally Posted by mrrodriguez View Post

This actually brings a bad light on Apple as they are seen as uncooperative and overly enclosed.

It sucks because the old 30-pin connector was easily licensed. The new Lightning connector... not so much.

It's kinda like what happened to all the developers who built 3rd-party Twitter clients. Twitter can pull the plug at any time.

Sometimes it's a gamble to build your business on someone else's back.
post #10 of 58
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mac_128 View Post

I'm somewhat appalled that 3rd party products must be lightening only, and can't even incorporate Apple's legacy 30-pin dock connector. That's kind of whack.
So essentially if a 3rd party vendor wants in, they have to manufacture separate products for each Apple connector, meaning a consumer who buys a product for their iPhone 4, will have to repurchase the device when they upgrade to an iPhone 5.
Nuts!

 

I don't get your complaint.  It's easy to get upset about this, but it's also pretty easy to see the logic behind it.  It's neither "whack" nor "nuts" IMO.  

 

Clearly Apple doesn't want to support the old protocol or contribute to anything that will keep it alive.  This is obviously to their advantage and to the advantage of the new protocol.  Lightings adoption speed is based at least in part, on the length of time the old cables and protocols hang around.  Remember there are over ten years worth of old accessories out there.  Supporting 30 pin moving forward would be a bad idea.  

post #11 of 58
Quote:
Originally Posted by Michael Scrip View Post


It sucks because the old 30-pin connector was easily licensed. The new Lightning connector... not so much. ... 

 

I don't know where you get this idea from.  AFAIK the licensing is pretty much the same in terms of ease of acceptance.  The criteria have changed a bit, so you have to be an honest, moral player in the business world to use it, but that only makes it "hard" if you're some kind of shyster, fly-by-night company, or criminals, etc. 

 

People are just crying that they can't get *cheap* lightning accessories because the manufacturers can't use toxic chemicals or sub-standard materials to make them or enslave children etc. I would bet that a lot of the same people who whine about Apple using cheap Chinese labour are the same people who don't want to pay for ethically produced accessories.  

post #12 of 58
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gazoobee View Post

I don't know where you get this idea from.  AFAIK the licensing is pretty much the same in terms of ease of acceptance.  The criteria have changed a bit, so you have to be an honest, moral player in the business world to use it, but that only makes it "hard" if you're some kind of shyster, fly-by-night company, or criminals, etc. 

People are just crying that they can't get *cheap* lightning accessories because the manufacturers can't use toxic chemicals or sub-standard materials to make them or enslave children etc. I would bet that a lot of the same people who whine about Apple using cheap Chinese labour are the same people who don't want to pay for ethically produced accessories.  

Good point.
post #13 of 58
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gazoobee View Post



People are just crying that they can't get *cheap* lightning accessories because the manufacturers can't use toxic chemicals or sub-standard materials to make them or enslave children etc. I would bet that a lot of the same people who whine about Apple using cheap Chinese labour are the same people who don't want to pay for ethically produced accessories.  

Speak for yourself; I already got my $5 lightning cables on eBay shipped from China. It took about two weeks for delivery via China Post, but both of the cables I ordered are sturdy and work fine charging/syncing my and my wife's iPhone 5s. The cables are sturdy and are reversible just like the Apple ones.
post #14 of 58

USB port, plug in lightening cable, 30 pin dock, plug in adapter, by the look of things he's charging $139.17 for these things, I'm sure he can afford to eat some of the profit out of what seems an excessively high price.

 

You can get a digital radio with dock connector and then buy an "overpriced" adapter from Apple for less.

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post #15 of 58
Originally Posted by hill60 View Post

You can get a digital radio with dock connector and then buy an "overpriced" adapter from Apple for less.

 

Wait, you can't pass through controls or audio for that.

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post #16 of 58
The 30 pin/lighting connector should be on the same device (for people who might have a iPad and iPhone with the different connectors.
post #17 of 58
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post

 

Hopefully this will create some actual concern (for once) about the quality and trustworthiness of this "Kickstarter" thing.

 

While none of the projects I've funded have been released, there are ventures that have been launched with Kickstarter. I think the idea is sound, since there are always people willing to participate in crowd sourced funding. However, as I said, there are risks. I don't know if there are any statistics for the percentage of projects that reach their Kickstarter funding goals, only to never deliver the goods for whatever reason.

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post #18 of 58
Much better to wait for the official Apple Lightning dock in 2015.
post #19 of 58
Quote:
Originally Posted by jlandd View Post

Much better to wait for the official Apple Lightning dock in 2015.

I don't see Apple creating another dock unless it's something unique.

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

 

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post #20 of 58
I'd really wish for Apple to make a dock again. Now that there's no bumper for my 5 I can finally and actually use it, unlike my 4.
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post #21 of 58
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post

Wait, you can't pass through controls or audio for that.

Yes you can, I have one I picked up for forty bucks, I used to use it with my iPhone 4, when I got the 5 I also got an adapter, use it every night, about the only inconvenience is the whole thing unplugs and stays attached to the phone.

If iPod is chosen music starts playing as soon as I plug in.

It also works with the FM transmitter I have in my car.
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post #22 of 58

Bye bye convenience charging stations in airport lounges, corporate receptions, etc. with connectors for every major phone manufacturer.

 

With a bit of luck, bye bye lightning. If ever there was a case for insisting Apple use the micoUSB connector, this was it.

 

Ok, what we need now, is someone to build an elegant securirty cable, that clasps the USB-lightning adaptor or 30pin dock-lightning adaptor, so that people can stick it onto the end of a cable, but not walk off with it.

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post #23 of 58
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bishop of Southwark View Post

With a bit of luck, bye bye lightning. If ever there was a case for insisting Apple use the micoUSB connector, this was it.

No way!

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post #24 of 58
Originally Posted by Bishop of Southwark View Post
Bye bye convenience charging stations in airport lounges, corporate receptions, etc. with connectors for every major phone manufacturer.

 

How is a USB port not convenient? Plug in any cable from any manufacturer.

 

1. Why would I (as a passenger) wait to trust the actual adapter for such and such product when thousands of people have manhandled it before me? I'll use my own and not damage my device because I know where my adapter cable has been.

2. Why should I (as an airport owner) want to waste thousands of dollars on dozens of different adapter cables (no, contrary to your fantasy, not everything uses MicroUSB) when I could just offer a wall of USB ports so that passengers can plug in anything they wish?


With a bit of luck, bye bye lightning. If ever there was a case for insisting Apple use the micoUSB connector, this was it.

 

There has, is, and will never be a case for MicroUSB.

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post #25 of 58
$40 for a cable is painful, but if the pricing is part of Apple's tactic to ensure that only quality, well-designed products make it to market, then I applaud them. I know I was left confused and concerned by the array of unapproved 3rd-party 30-pin based devices and cables available at retail. For the relatively few that I tried, there were incompatibilities between them. I'm hoping that Lightening's implementation is consistent across the board from the very start for well into its lifetime.
post #26 of 58
Quote:
Originally Posted by coolfactor View Post

$40 for a cable is painful, but if the pricing is part of Apple's tactic to ensure that only quality, well-designed products make it to market, then I applaud them. I know I was left confused and concerned by the array of unapproved 3rd-party 30-pin based devices and cables available at retail. For the relatively few that I tried, there were incompatibilities between them. I'm hoping that Lightening's implementation is consistent across the board from the very start for well into its lifetime.

An Apple lightening cable is $25 in Australia.
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post #27 of 58
But what about this?:

http://iphone.appleinsider.com/articles/12/12/16/matrox_ds1_is_worlds_first_thunderbolt_docking_station.html

If multiple connectors is the issue, then how did Matrox get approval for this device?
post #28 of 58
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mazda 3s View Post

  1.  
  2.  
  3.  
Speak for yourself; I already got my $5 lightning cables on eBay shipped from China. It took about two weeks for delivery via China Post, but both of the cables I ordered are sturdy and work fine charging/syncing my and my wife's iPhone 5s. The cables are sturdy and are reversible just like the Apple ones.

 

So .. you are exultant that you can get a cheap lightning cable because the manufacturer can use toxic chemicals or sub-standard materials to make them or use child labour etc. ?

 

I wouldn't think that's anything to brag about but to each his/her own.

post #29 of 58
To me, that looks like a sucky product. A little cylinder with quippy little wires flipping off? I don't think so! Besides, what's wrong with the existing charger? This is a tempest in a Thimble.
post #30 of 58
I'm amazed at the anger towards Apple here on this issue.
Ok they have a beautiful device which serves many,
problem is Apple would like them to push for Thunderbolt/Lightning connect!

They "POP" should then go for the faster connect I/O & give cables converting from T/L to the other 30 pin, USB 2-3 & micro.

I know this is not what they wanted but would keep the project alive & I for one would be a buyer.
post #31 of 58
Considering the original kick starter project was before the iPhone 5 and the new connector this sounds like these guys screwed up and can't bring their product to market. They need someone to blame and Apple is that someone. Just wonder how many supporters will actually get any money back.
post #32 of 58
Considering the original kick starter project was before the iPhone 5 and the new connector this sounds like these guys screwed up and can't bring their product to market. They need someone to blame and Apple is that someone. Just wonder how many supporters will actually get any money back.
post #33 of 58
Quote:
Originally Posted by kcool View Post

But what about this?:
http://iphone.appleinsider.com/articles/12/12/16/matrox_ds1_is_worlds_first_thunderbolt_docking_station.html
If multiple connectors is the issue, then how did Matrox get approval for this device?

That is thunderbolt not lightning... .I would guess the terms are different for that port as Apple don't own it outright - it was a collaboration with Intel... http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thunderbolt_(interface)


Edited by DaveMcM76 - 12/21/12 at 1:23am
post #34 of 58
Quote:
Originally Posted by irnchriz View Post

Considering the original kick starter project was before the iPhone 5 and the new connector this sounds like these guys screwed up and can't bring their product to market. They need someone to blame and Apple is that someone. Just wonder how many supporters will actually get any money back.

This is exactly what's happening. To anyone that believes otherwise, all you have to do is go the KS project page and read the comments section. The majority of backers commenting on this situation are very upset at the project creator because they initially backed the project with the 30pin connector, and the project was funded and closed before the Lightning connector was announced.

The creator then decided to change the scope of the project after it was funded, and after the lightning connector was announced ... Basic project management went totally out the window on this one just based on that fact alone. However, I think there's also more that happened behind the scenes that put the project at risk, and the creator is choosing to use Apple as a scapegoat ... Most likely to try to do some sort of damage control to their reputation or to possibly try to avoid being sued by the KS backers (not that that's a possibility, given the KS Terms & Conditions, mind you.)
post #35 of 58
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post

 

How is a USB port not convenient? Plug in any cable from any manufacturer.

 

1. Why would I (as a passenger) wait to trust the actual adapter for such and such product when thousands of people have manhandled it before me? I'll use my own and not damage my device because I know where my adapter cable has been.

2. Why should I (as an airport owner) want to waste thousands of dollars on dozens of different adapter cables (no, contrary to your fantasy, not everything uses MicroUSB) when I could just offer a wall of USB ports so that passengers can plug in anything they wish?

 

There has, is, and will never be a case for MicroUSB.

 

Why are you so utterly blinkered?  Do you actually work for Apple or something?  The last comment regarding never been a case for micro-usb is ridiculous.  Apple signed up along with 14 other major phone manufacturers - a memorandum of understanding to make all data enabled smart phones use Micro-USB throughout the European union:

 

http://www.eubusiness.com/topics/telecoms/mobile-charger/

 

The then simply ignored this as saw the huge profit potential by shunning this; adding a authentication chip & no doubt wanting absurd payments for licence.

 

Which bit of this is fair to the consumer TS?  Which bit of this shows Apple in a good light?  Which but of forcing users to buy an expensive adaptor (and please, don't insult members by saying how the price is reasonable when most other phones can get cables for a $ or a £)?  Which bit of this shows Apple's commitment to offering consumers the chance to easily re-use all those pieces of kit purchased that use the old adaptor?  

I suppose a question is why hasn't the EU taken action on this?  What wonderful legal means have Apple used to stick two fingers up at the rest of the industry & the European Commission?

post #36 of 58

This seems a little harsh when Apple still sells products that use the old 30-pin connector.

post #37 of 58
Quote:
Originally Posted by whatever71 View Post

 

Apple signed up along with 14 other major phone manufacturers - a memorandum of understanding to make all data enabled smart phones use Micro-USB throughout the European union:

 

http://www.eubusiness.com/topics/telecoms/mobile-charger/

 

 

The problem with that particular memorandum of understanding is that it was worded vaguely enough to allow for the MicroUSB connection to be provided using an adapter.... which Apple have sold in europe for a couple of years and now sell in the US - http://store.apple.com/uk/product/MD820ZM/A/lightning-to-micro-usb-adapter?fnode=45

post #38 of 58
Quote:
Originally Posted by whatever71 View Post

Which bit of this is fair to the consumer 

 

As a consumer, the bit that says I don't have to f*ck around working out which way to plug it in...

 

...oh, yeah and it is far more powerful than USB, just like the 30 pin connector it replaced.

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post #39 of 58
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tulkas View Post

So, um, why not sell the charging unit with just USB connects so the customer can bring whatever cables they want? Hell, it might be a tidy side business to sell Lightening, 30Pin and MicroUSB cables that are compatible with their cable retraction system. No problem making just cables, right? That would be all that needed Apple's licensing. So, make the cables, with license and sell the unit and cables separately. Permanently attached cables seem like a deal killer for the original design anyway, regardless of Apple's concerns.

Seems like an obvious solution!

 

Of course, this will all be widely and roundly condemned as another manifestation of Apple's fascist behavior....

post #40 of 58
Quote:
Originally Posted by whatever71 View Post

 

Why are you so utterly blinkered?  Do you actually work for Apple or something?  The last comment regarding never been a case for micro-usb is ridiculous.  Apple signed up along with 14 other major phone manufacturers - a memorandum of understanding to make all data enabled smart phones use Micro-USB throughout the European union:

 

http://www.eubusiness.com/topics/telecoms/mobile-charger/

First I'd seen on that, tho I do recall some effort to standardize chargers in the EU. I've no idea why Apple is permitted to renege on the agreement they made. Certainly interesting, so thanks for the link.

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