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Apple's Lightning connector guidelines for 'Made For iPhone/iPod/iPad' detailed by Mophie

post #1 of 34
Thread Starter 
Third-party accessory maker Mophie on Thursday offered some interesting particulars about Apple's MFi initiative as it pertains to the preprietary Lightning connector, saying that the company is going to great lengths to protect its investment in the new I/O protocol.

Lightning
Teardown of Apple's Lightning connector shows authentication chip.


Speaking to The New York Times, Mophie's Vice President of Marketing Ross Howe explained the process third-party manufacturers must go through in order to gain official "MFi" status.

Upon applying for the program, the accessory maker orders a Lightning connector component from Apple which can be used for product design. The supplied connector sports serial numbers and, as first reported by AppleInsider, an embedded authentication chip that can be used tie manufacturers to each component. When an accessory comes in to Apple for testing, the company can quickly reference the serial number or authenticator to see where the Lightning component originated.

?If you took this apart and put it in another product and Apple got a hold of it, they?d be able to see it?s from Mophie?s batch of Lightning connectors,? Howe said.

The strict component control allows Apple to keep a tight grip on aftermarket accessory royalties, as well as maintain a consistent user experience. Howe admitted that the Lightning connector can be reverse engineered, but pointed out that the resulting product would most likely be of lesser quality than Apple-approved devices.

?That?s one thing Apple is good at: controlling the user experience from end to end,? he said. ?If you?re buying something in an Apple store, it?s gone through all this rigorous testing.?

Further, the control measures give Apple the power to issue software updates that would disable the use of unauthorized products.
post #2 of 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

The supplied connector sports serial numbers and, as first reported by AppleInsider, an embedded authentication chip that can be used tie manufacturers to each component. When an accessory comes in to Apple for testing, the company can quickly reference the serial number or authenticator to see where the Lightning component originated.

That doesn't sound like it's authenticating anything, just identifying the 3rd party vendor. It sounds like it does nothing more than what an unprotected SIM card would do.

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

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

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post #3 of 34

I find this to be a bit odd. What possible reason could be there to not want to bring in as many accessory makers as possible from around the world, which would only serve to expand and consolidate an already-impressive ecosystem?

 

What earthly reason could Apple have, to be so ****-retentive about this?!

post #4 of 34
Luckily, working conditions can be protected, quality can be assured, AND we can still have cheap, officially licensed cables (Monoprice)!
post #5 of 34
Anan, no one is saying they are restricting whoever wants to be included. Its obvious they are controlling quality, as well as protecting their royalties. Sounds pretty simple to me.
post #6 of 34
Originally Posted by anantksundaram View Post

What earthly reason could Apple have, to be so ****-retentive about this?!


Same reason they don't allow Macintosh clones anymore…

 

It's Apple's port and Apple's ecosystem that will suffer from the use of shoddy third-party equipment. Yes, the third party in question will have its reputation shot by making said shoddy equipment, but Apple appears to be attempting to remove as much of the ripple effect (which always leads back to "it's Apple's fault") from that as they can. 

Originally Posted by Marvin

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Originally Posted by Marvin

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post #7 of 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by anantksundaram View Post

I find this to be a bit odd. What possible reason could be there to not want to bring in as many accessory makers as possible from around the world, which would only serve to expand and consolidate an already-impressive ecosystem?

 

What earthly reason could Apple have, to be so ****-retentive about this?!

 

to prevent crap accessories from interacting with the idevice. How many times have you bought a third party product and realized it was pure crap. Not all third parties are created equal.

post #8 of 34
This time, I think Apple went too far. For example, Mophie (and others) aren't allowed to put female Lightning ports on any device. I just purchased a Mophie Helium battery case for my iPhone 5. It's perfect in every way, except due to Apple's stringent controls, it can't work as well as the battery cases for older iPhones.

The problem is that because it can't have a female Lightning port:
1) I have to take the bottom of the case off (which disconnects the battery) in order to plug it in using a Lightning cable. That means carrying around multiple cables for different iOS devices.

2) It won't do data or audio when plugged in via the MicroUSB port. It will only charge.

This is all really messed up. I would've rather taken my chances with 3rd party cables. I never had any problems with bad 3rd party 30-pin cables, certified or not. Now though, we're guaranteed to have problems by design with certified Lightning products.

Grrr...
post #9 of 34
It just charges the battery, why be so restrictive?!
post #10 of 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by alphafox View Post

It just charges the battery, why be so restrictive?!

Lightning does far more than "just charge the battery."

"The real haunted empire?  It's the New York Times." ~SockRolid

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

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"The real haunted empire?  It's the New York Times." ~SockRolid

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

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post #11 of 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by anantksundaram View Post

I find this to be a bit odd. What possible reason could be there to not want to bring in as many accessory makers as possible from around the world, which would only serve to expand and consolidate an already-impressive ecosystem?

 

What earthly reason could Apple have, to be so ****-retentive about this?!

 

Um .. the customer?  1smile.gif

 

They are attempting to make sure that the products are all made ethically.  Period.  

 

I don't get why anyone sees anything wrong with that or why it could ever be a bad thing.  The world would be a much better place if *all* companies did this.  

 

In fact, the world would be a far better place if even a fraction of the companies that exist even went 20% as far as Apple does in making sure they are behaving in an ethical manner.  

post #12 of 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by rkevwill View Post

Anan, no one is saying they are restricting whoever wants to be included. Its obvious they are controlling quality, as well as protecting their royalties. Sounds pretty simple to me.

 

I agree except I think it's a leap to say that they are doing it to "protect royalties."  There isn't really any evidence of that and the reason they are doing what they are doing is already explained by the "controlling quality" part.  

 

Occam's razor says that no further explanation is necessary. 

 

I would say "controlling quality and ethical manufacturing," but they are almost the same thing in that both fall under "making a good product."

post #13 of 34
I suspect it also has something to do with people who sue Apple for fire caused by bad connector.
post #14 of 34

Apple completely and totally screwed this up.  It is annoying.  The fact that they didnt hold a meeting about how to be a licensed 3rd party accessory maker until over a month after release?  Ridiculous.  The fact they didn't get a handful of those makers, and let them start developing so accessories could be out a month or so after release?  Ridiculous.  It's not like lightning was some insane invention that would have blown the launch of the 5.

 

I still can't buy a dock off of Amazon- over 5 months after release.  No radio dock.  One (JBL) speaker dock that just got released a week ago or so.  No charging dock (one that isn't just a stand you use your own cord on).  It is beyond the point of ridiculous now.


Edited by Andysol - 2/14/13 at 6:18pm

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2012 27" iMac i7, 2010 27" iMac i7, 2011 Mac Mini i5
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post #15 of 34

Originally Posted by anantksundaram View Post

I find this to be a bit odd. What possible reason could be there to not want to bring in as many accessory makers as possible from around the world, which would only serve to expand and consolidate an already-impressive ecosystem?

 

What earthly reason could Apple have, to be so ****-retentive about this?!


Originally Posted by jungmark View Post

to prevent crap accessories from interacting with the idevice. How many times have you bought a third party product and realized it was pure crap. Not all third parties are created equal.

 

Not 20 minutes ago, I just threw away a crappy 3rd party video adapter (mini-displayport --> HDMI), because it just flat out doesn't work. That'll teach me to try to save a few bucks buying via craigslist.  Yeah, Apple products, including cables, really are better than cheap, off-brand crap.

 

Edit: I guess this is a little different issue from Apple's strategic decisions around Lightning, but the timing of reading this right after tossing that cable in the garbage was impeccable. 

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No Matte == No Sale :-(
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post #16 of 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by Blah64 View Post

 

Not 20 minutes ago, I just threw away a crappy 3rd party video adapter (mini-displayport --> HDMI), because it just flat out doesn't work. That'll teach me to try to save a few bucks buying via craigslist.  

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post

 

It's Apple's port and Apple's ecosystem that will suffer from the use of shoddy third-party equipment. 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by jungmark View Post

 

to prevent crap accessories from interacting with the idevice. How many times have you bought a third party product and realized it was pure crap. Not all third parties are created equal.

That's totally lame. Considering that Apple provides access to said crapware via USB, HDMI, Thunderbolt.....

 

Why don't they lock everything down, then?

post #17 of 34
Apple is on the hook to stand by their warranty. I can't imagine they want situations where customers used unauthorized accessories and damaged the Apple product. It would come down to the customers word, and Apple is known for giving customers the benefit of the doubt. This is my theory why they are so strict with the lockdown.
post #18 of 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by anantksundaram View Post


That's totally lame. Considering that Apple provides access to said crapware via USB, HDMI, Thunderbolt.....

Why don't they lock everything down, then?

1. Macs and iDevices are different
2. The avg consumer will buy an accessory for an iDevice. The average consumer will stick with the mouse/keyboard that came with the Mac and use the free camera USB cable.
3. They don't control USB or hdmi.
post #19 of 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by macslut View Post

I would've rather taken my chances with 3rd party cables. I never had any problems with bad 3rd party 30-pin cables, certified or not. Now though, we're guaranteed to have problems by design with certified Lightning products.

Same here. No issues ever with third party dock connector cables. My $3 un-certified lightning connectors are rock solid too.
post #20 of 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by SolipsismX View Post

Lightning does far more than "just charge the battery."

And frankly, micro USB just isn't as rugged of a connector as Lightning. I think the typical current to charge a phone typically exceeds what the USB standard recommends for the connector. It'll work most of the time, but you're talking amps through tiny pins not originally designed for it.

Quote:
Originally Posted by bsenka View Post

Same here. No issues ever with third party dock connector cables. My $3 un-certified lightning connectors are rock solid too.

I bought many cheap dock cables that were certainly not qualified. Half the time, they don't charge an iPad and they fell apart or failed quickly anyway.
post #21 of 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by JeffDM View Post

And frankly, micro USB just isn't as rugged of a connector.

I absolutely hate it. I will think twice about buying a product if it requires repeated micro-USB plugging. This is the one area I'll be selfish and elitist by demanding Apple license, for free, their Lightning connector if it means never running across micro-USB again.

"The real haunted empire?  It's the New York Times." ~SockRolid

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

Reply

"The real haunted empire?  It's the New York Times." ~SockRolid

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

Reply
post #22 of 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by macslut View Post

This time, I think Apple went too far. For example, Mophie (and others) aren't allowed to put female Lightning ports on any device. I just purchased a Mophie Helium battery case for my iPhone 5. It's perfect in every way, except due to Apple's stringent controls, it can't work as well as the battery cases for older iPhones.

The problem is that because it can't have a female Lightning port:
1) I have to take the bottom of the case off (which disconnects the battery) in order to plug it in using a Lightning cable. That means carrying around multiple cables for different iOS devices.

2) It won't do data or audio when plugged in via the MicroUSB port. It will only charge.

This is all really messed up. I would've rather taken my chances with 3rd party cables. I never had any problems with bad 3rd party 30-pin cables, certified or not. Now though, we're guaranteed to have problems by design with certified Lightning products.

Grrr...


The Mophie Helium battery case is designed to fit only the unique iPhone 5 form factor. That alone prevents it from working with older iPhones. The Mophie Juice Pack Air & Plus, that work with older iPhones, also don't have a female connector. Not sure where you are coming from here.

Please update the AppleInsider app to function in landscape mode.

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Please update the AppleInsider app to function in landscape mode.

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post #23 of 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by bsenka View Post


Same here. No issues ever with third party dock connector cables. My $3 un-certified lightning connectors are rock solid too.

 

And I'm sure the children that ripped up their fingers and slept under the workbenches making them, thank you for your purchase.  

 

You can sleep well knowing that you did your bit to contribute to misery and pollution around the globe, but hey, you saved a few bucks right?  1hmm.gif

post #24 of 34
Truth is, Lightening is nice, but late. It would have been ideal 5 to 7 years ago, instead of its clunky predecessor. With the immensely popular and well reviewed Nexus 4 offering wireless charging (and full OTA syncing), physical connectivity is not going to be with us for long. I am surprised Apple have not made major investments in non contact connectivity, unless they have something planned for their next product releases. Let's see if the next iPhone (5S) make a stab at it, and is standards compliant, so Nokia Lumia 920 and Nexus 4 wireless chargers will work with it too.
post #25 of 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by Oflife View Post

Truth is, Lightening is nice, but late. It would have been ideal 5 to 7 years ago, instead of its clunky predecessor. With the immensely popular and well reviewed Nexus 4 offering wireless charging (and full OTA syncing), physical connectivity is not going to be with us for long. I am surprised Apple have not made major investments in non contact connectivity, unless they have something planned for their next product releases. Let's see if the next iPhone (5S) make a stab at it, and is standards compliant, so Nokia Lumia 920 and Nexus 4 wireless chargers will work with it too.

I hope that never becomes standard. Wireless charging is an immense waste of power. Obviously, with one phone, it's not a big deal. But when you get to hundreds of millions of phones, you're talking about a huge waste of power. It doesn't take long to plug in a phone. If the charger is anything like the Wii wireless charger, it takes longer to get the device aligned properly than it takes to plug it in.
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"I'm way over my head when it comes to technical issues like this"
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post #26 of 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by SolipsismX View Post

I absolutely hate it. I will think twice about buying a product if it requires repeated micro-USB plugging. This is the one area I'll be selfish and elitist by demanding Apple license, for free, their Lightning connector if it means never running across micro-USB again.

I don't hate it, but clearly it's not as positive of a connection. I like the detent Lightning has, so you know it's really connected. MicroUSB's housing is thinner, stamped metal. Lightning has thicker metal, might be machined, and the connectors are potted within the frame instead of some plastic insert.

I might be wrong on the current capacity, but it's still an awful fine pin to deliver an amp through.
Edited by JeffDM - 2/15/13 at 11:57am
post #27 of 34

Not to be a Luddite, but I'm glad i just got an iPad 3/64GB Retina with the 30 pin. Head to head with the iPad 4 within seconds in speed, check YouTube tests. No cable/accessory changes necessary. All my stuff still works. Will keep my iPhone 4 until it dies as I have unlimited data grandfathered from Verizon, also 30 pin. Will buy a new iPhone then to keep my plan. See no advantage in Lightning except smaller and thinner, and more control. Who cares when consumers seem to want larger? 

post #28 of 34
Originally Posted by Jim W View Post
Head to head with the iPad 4 within seconds in speed, check YouTube tests. 

 

Obviously. It's USB on the other end. When it becomes Thunderbolt, we'll see who's faster.


Who cares when consumers seem to want larger? 

 

They don't, though. Not in the slightest. Not from ports.

Originally Posted by Marvin

The only thing more insecure than Android’s OS is its userbase.
Reply

Originally Posted by Marvin

The only thing more insecure than Android’s OS is its userbase.
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post #29 of 34
Lol Apple has become the new telecom. Back in the day (before my day even) Ma Bell wouldn't allow any non official phones on their telephone lines. This is no different.
post #30 of 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by cmoney View Post

Lol Apple has become the new telecom. Back in the day (before my day even) Ma Bell wouldn't allow any non official phones on their telephone lines. This is no different.

Not really Ma Bell had a monopoly. Apple does not. If you don't want to use lightning, go to android/win/bb.
post #31 of 34
Originally Posted by cmoney View Post
This is no different.

 

Other than it being completely different.

Originally Posted by Marvin

The only thing more insecure than Android’s OS is its userbase.
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Originally Posted by Marvin

The only thing more insecure than Android’s OS is its userbase.
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post #32 of 34

Referring to the desire for larger screens by phone buyers. I personally wouldn't want a larger phone, but larger sizes seem to be selling well in the 'droid market and there has been speculation about a larger iPhone. I'm a photographer/videographer. Mainly care about the quality of the display, and hate to say it, but the Samsung's have a better reputation than the LG's, and I was mostly concerned about getting one of those, so I ordered a "refurb" iPad just before XMAS. The 4's seemed to have a much higher chance of coming with the LG panel. It came from China, and when I spoke to an Applecare Administrator, he said it was probably new as they were revved so soon. Very happy with it. Will see what the new ones bring. Might convince me to upgrade. 128GB would be nice. Anyway, glad I don't have to fool with all new connectors just yet.

post #33 of 34

How will the parts supply actually work in mass production?  For example, does each manufacturer have to order all of their preprogrammed chips from Apple, so Apple has to keep track of which chips to send to each manufacturer?

post #34 of 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gazoobee View Post

And I'm sure the children that ripped up their fingers and slept under the workbenches making them, thank you for your purchase.  

You can sleep well knowing that you did your bit to contribute to misery and pollution around the globe, but hey, you saved a few bucks right?  1hmm.gif

You're buying an offshore product either way. If Chinese made is pretty much my only option, I at least want those saving passed on to me.
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