How Lightning Tightens Apple’s Control Over Accessories

Discussion in 'iPhone Accessories' started by JGRE, Feb 20, 2013.

  1. JGRE macrumors 6502a


    Oct 10, 2011
    Dutch Mountains
    Can Apple really shut down any non-Apple lightning adapter?????? :confused:

    Peter DaSilva for The New York Times
    Apple introduced its new Lightning port on the iPhone 5 last year.

    When the iPhone 5 was released in September with the new Lightning connection port, all those docks and accessories that longtime Apple customers had been collecting for years were suddenly obsolete. But Lightning-compatible accessories have been trickling in more slowly than the typical flood of Apple accessories that comes after a new iPhone release. Why?

    One challenge, according to a person briefed on Apple’s plans who was not approved to discuss them publicly, is that the iPhone 5 is more fundamentally different from previous versions of the device than new models usually are — introducing a different overall size and shape as well as an engineering change. At the same time, with Lightning, Apple has made it harder for companies to avoid working with its own licensing program. Both of these factors have slowed the production of accessories.

    Mophie, an accessory maker, shared some insight into Lightning and the overall process of making an Apple accessory. (This week it introduced the Helium, its first iPhone 5 case with a backup battery.) When a hardware maker signs up with Apple’s MFi Program, for companies that make accessories for Apple products, it orders a Lightning connector component from Apple to use in designing the accessory. The connectors have serial numbers for each accessory maker, and they contain authentication chips that communicate with the phones. When the company submits its accessory to Apple for testing, Apple can recognize the serial number.

    “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,” said Ross Howe, vice president of marketing for Mophie.

    The chip inside the Lightning connector can be reverse engineered — copied by another company — but it probably would not work as well as one that came from Apple, Mr. Howe said. Apple could also theoretically issue software updates that would disable Lightning products that did not use its chips, he said.

    What’s the benefit for Apple? The proprietary chip makes it more difficult for accessory makers to produce cheap knockoff products that are compatible with Lightning, which could potentially tarnish the iPhone brand. Also, it pushes accessory makers to pay Apple the licensing fees to be part of the MFi program.

    “That’s one thing Apple is good at: controlling the user experience from end to end,” Mr. Howe said. “If you’re buying something in an Apple store, it’s gone through all this rigorous testing.”
  2. clyde2801 macrumors 601


    Mar 6, 2008
    In the land of no hills and red dirt.
    You know, if Apple wasn't charging $19-49 for adapters (or at least included one) to use accessories that they've already made a profit on, I might more likely to believe that their focus was on 'controlling the user experience' more than pushing accessory makers to pay their licensing fees.

    And if apple pulls a switch that renders otherwise functional 3rd party cords and adapters inoperative, I'm sure that's solely done for improving the user experience, too.:mad:

    God knows I'll get my head bitten off, chewed up and spit out on this forum if I grumble about an Apple tax...
  3. miss.manson macrumors 6502a


    Dec 12, 2011
    I agree.

    Charging $20-$40 for a cable Is ridiculous.
  4. wxman2003 Suspended

    Apr 12, 2011
    Apple is hanging itself playing this game. Most people do not want to pay $15 to $20 for an extra cable, especially when cables for Android phones can be found for $1. People eventually catch on when they see themselves getting nickeled and dimed for cables. People will spend ridiculous amounts for cases, etc, because it's bling. Cables are not bling, and most do not want to pay "bling" prices for them. Of course I could be wrong, especially when Best Buy can sell $25 to $50 HDMI cables to fools, when you can find one of equal quality for $5.

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