The tiny Lightning connector that debuted on the new iPhone, iPod touch and iPod nano allows Apple to exercise a much tighter control over the accessories ecosystem, it has been revealed. According to a new report out this morning, all vendors seeking to make products bearing the ‘Made for iPhone’ (MFi) trademark must be approved by Apple.

Additionally, club Cupertino is requiring vendors to manufacture their gear in Apple-approved facilities. Apple is currently educating them on the new terms so don’t expect first officially approved third-party Lightning accessories before late-October or November…

iLoounge has the story:

Multiple reliable sources have confirmed to iLounge that Apple has made significant changes to its Made For iPad/iPhone/iPod (MFi) policies, tightening control over the manufacturing of Lightning accessories.

iMore editor Rene Ritchie confirmed on Twitter that changes to Lightning connector licensing are accurate.

According to sources who spoke with iLounge, “only Apple-approved manufacturing facilities will be allowed to produce Lightning connector accessories, even including third-party accessories”.

This doesn’t bode well for Lightning accessories like these.

Put simply, vendors will have a hard time engineering and selling Lightning accessories without paying Apple an MFi licensing fee. As a result, Apple gets to charge a premium on its own Lightning cables and adapters, seen below.

To prevent non-compliant third=party alternatives, Apple built an authentication chip in both the Lightning connector and cable.

The report goes on to note that Apple hasn’t approved any factories yet so it remains unclear if Lightning-approved accessories will arrive in time for Christmas.

Apple, according to the publication’s source, is planning a seminar this month in China to discuss changes to the MFi program and the rules for Lightning accessory development going forward.

A recent patent filing proves that Apple is also researching a wireless adapter to connect legacy accessories to latest iOS devices.


  • I love Apple, but I think some I their latest moves are taking thinks a bit too far. I’d hate to see the company go down again because of moves like these.

    • My main thing is their over priced stuff. $30 bucks for an adapter? Really? Now I can’t buy cheap adapters online. It’s really annoying.

  • Greed. Especially with $100 billion cash in the bank

    • Is it even greed? I don’t think Apple could care less about the amounts of money here. I think it has more to do with a compulsion to control in Apple’s reptilian brained corporate culture.

      • Kurt

        steve and tim are liberals at their worst.

  • All I want is a fucking dock already.

  • Everything about the iPhone 5, iOS maps, and this BS with the lightning adaptors is turning me more and more away from Apple

    • CollegiateLad

      Continue to think for yourself and never put much faith in the rumor mill.

      • Thats pretty much what I’ve been doing lately

      • CollegiateLad

        I heard the rumors but I bought the iPhone 5 anyway… Turns out it’s the best phone I’ve ever owned and maps is much better than the critics claim.

    • The iPhone is still the iPhone… Nothing changed there. The ios maps are really not as bad as everyone is making them out to be. I do agree with the lightning BS though.

  • Viktor_Zweig

    Greedy bastards!

  • Obnoxious control freakery. I would have been more keen on developing apps for iOS if not for this kind of thing. I can’t imagine the heartbreak of putting in all the time and effort of developing an app and then having it rejected for nebulous and arbitrary reasons in an opaque process. This has happened to thousands of developers as they sit and watch their competitors rake in large profits. Why is it ok for a gigantic megacorporation to make or break the fortunes of the little guys? Its now going to be a similar situation for accessory manufacturers which also includes relatively small time businesses.

    Apple: pick on someone your own size!

    • They did… and they won… (Did u forget what happened to Samsung)?

  • jps1012

    Are there any 3rd party lighting cables?


    • Why would they have to worry about making a better phone, the S3 has a bigger screen and NFC thats about it, and emphasis on “bigger screen” because being bigger is all the S3’s screen is good for

  • Apple, shame on you! This is probably the thing that pisses me off the most, as I do not pay Apple’s ridiculous prices for chargers and cables. Where on eBay you can get a wall charger, car charger, and 1 or 2 longer usb cords for like $5 or $6 bucks shipped. Do they fall apart after some use? But they are not any worse than Apples stock cords and chargers. I have had 2 different iPhone wall adapters fail and several of the 30 pin connecters come apart around the connector. So why the hell do people spend their money on Apple accessories? buy KNOCKOFFS, thats where this article comes in, I got the iPhone 5 and I would like an adapter at least so I can use it with my existing dock. You know there will still be knock offs from no name vendors and manufacturers, but my question is will they be able to figure out a way to bypass the authentication chip through hardware/software maybe a combination of both? We can only wait and see. Bad move by apple, i am extremely dissapointed that they wen this route. I like the new connector but the prices and headaches of the new Lightning connector (bypass chips) is not worth it. I would rather have had a micro usb, i know its not “Apple like” to do what everyone else is doing, but I have so many micro usb or something a little more compatible.

    • Tell us how you really feel.

      • I know I am not the only one who feels this way. So why don’t you use your brain and say something a little more productive.

      • Well, apparently all humor is lost on someone with a vendetta. It was meant to be a joke but that’s ok.

  • How can you tell Tim Cook is in charge lol…

  • deepdvd

    It could also be considered quality control. They want to prevent warranty replacements due to bad connectors. The big problem is how much they charge for these. They ought to sell them really cheap to verified iPhone owners. One possible example: For each iDevice serial number, a person could buy up to two at a huge discount. They could easily track how many you have bought.

    • Why would they need to verify? Who’s going to want to buy one except Apple customers?

      • deepdvd

        How about Apple retailers/resellers? Who doesn’t ever need a replacement cable?

  • Cam

    So three to four weeks to order from apple and no apple store within two hours of my location. This iPhone is starting to make me want to sell the thing and go back to my 4s. I also miss my jailbreak for pandora downloader, but I can live without it.

  • Falk M.

    Bad times for Kickstarter ideas…

    Totally backwards move, thanks for being a dick, Apple.

  • bvira

    Ooops!!!!!!!!! everything becoming very techno…..They won…..