Apple apparently has gone to great length and expense to ensure consumers purchase only its version of the Lightning connector. The connector, which debuted with the iPhone 5, includes a chip which serves to prevent third-party alternatives, according to a report.
The authentication chip is located between the cable’s V+ contact and power pin, according to Double Helix Cables, which took the new cable apart, sharing its results with AppleInsider. Because the chip appears only in Apple’s Lightening cable, third-party alternatives offered by places like Alibaba.com won’t work, the company claims…
There’s basically no way those are functional cables,” Peter of Double Helix told the Mac news site today. “The chip has to be there, and it is directly in the signal path of the V+ wire.
The teardown results come the same day an analyst said the new Lighting cable costs $3.50 to make, a 775 percent increase over the $0.40 to make the previous 30-pin USB connector. The different plug will require all iPhone 5 users to purchase an adapter to work with older accessories. KGI Securities’ Ming-Chi Kuo said the authentication chip could be designed to prevent third-party manufacture of the cable without paying Apple royalties.
Third-party cable makers have complained that Apple initially will be the sole source for the Lightning cable. Apple is charging $29 for a direct-plug adapter and $39 for the cable version.
The high cost of the cable may not be all due to the Texas Instruments-made authentication chip. Kuo told investors Friday that two of the four data pins on the Lightning appear to be reserved for unknown peripherals. There has been some suggestion Apple is considering support for USB 3.0 devices.