Apple is losing its grip on accessory manufacturers.
It’s not a good time for this to happen. Already, Apple stock is fluctuating due to worries about its iPhone business.
With more consumers increasingly looking for accessories that can work with multiple devices, manufacturers are shifting to Bluetooth-compatible accessories, Nick Wingfield and Brian X. Chen of The New York Times report.
When Apple released the iPhone 5 and new iPads with a Lightning connector cable, many consumers were outraged because that meant they either had to buy completely new accessories or buy an adaptor from Apple.
Manufacturers were also caught off guard, as Apple didn’t give them a heads-up on the change.
“You really don’t know where Apple is going to go next, if they’re going to change to something else down the road,” Kyle Thompson, director of marketing for Cambridge SoundWorks, told the NYT. “They’ve made a lot of companies like us really nervous.”
But even before the shift from the 30-pin connector to Lightning, people were already looking to get away from those Apple-centric connectors.
Either way, this poses an issue for Apple. The company makes money from accessory-makers through its Made For iPhone program. It’s not entirely clear how much Apple makes from the program, but it does require manufacturers to to pay royalties to licence Apple’s connectors.
With more manufactures opting to make Bluetooth-compatible accessories, consumers are less tied down to Apple products and will be able to more easily switch to competitors.