Apple uses a special authentication chip in its accessories that your device looks for before letting you use them.Now MIC Gadget reports that Chinese manufacturers have successfully cloned the latest version of this chip that runs in the new Lightning connector.
Here’s why that could mean cheaper, more plentiful accessories.
If you’ve ever plugged your iPhone in to charge with a third-party cable and gotten the “iPhone does not support charging with this accessory” message, it’s because the cable can’t detect that crucial chip.
Apple uses this to guarantee compatibility and also collect fees under its Made For iPhone/iPad/iPod, or MFi, program.
MIC Gadget makes mention of a glowing Lightning cable that lights up when plugged in. It’s possible that Apple would approve this device, but as we’ve reported, Apple has been very slow to approve new accessories under the MFi program.
Apple could combat these manufacturers through legal means, or by updating its software to detect counterfeit chips.
It will be great if we can get compatible cables and accessories for the iPhone 5 faster. But it will be bad if consumers have to figure out for themselves which cloned parts are truly compatible and which ones are deceptive, defective lookalikes.
Here’s a much better solution, though: Getting its act together and cooperating with manufacturers to guarantee a plentiful supply of affordable, high-quality iPhone accessories.