Apple is expected in early November to lay down the law to its developers on producing Lightning connectors. Among the Apple edicts: Lightning pins will be strictly controlled by the iPhone maker, which will provide them to “approved [developers] with production quantities of the pin once their product is determined to have met its standards and specifications,” according to TechCrunch.
As for potential knock-offs, the blog cites a source who warns lawsuits and import confiscations could be in their future. Without providing details, the source described as being “close to the program,” suggests the Cupertino, Calif. company will provide “additional security against low-quality copies” of the new iDevice connector…
The price Apple will charge developers (which naturally will be passed onto consumers) for access to the Lightning pins “while not unreasonable, is fairly high compared” to other standard connection technology such as USB.
The news appears to confirm earlier rumors that Apple intends to tighten access to the new Lightning technology, which is smaller than previous dock connection techniques. Earlier this month, it was reported that Apple would require accessories be made in approved facilities in order to gain the Made for iPod/iPhone/iPad (MFI) program label.
When the Lightning connector first appeared, a teardown by Chipworks found a security chip apparently designed to act as a gatekeeper against unapproved devices.
The series of Lightning access stories is ironic on multiple levels. Standards are usually designed to encourage the widest distribution and use. However, Apple appears ready to be the sole source for Lightning connector developers. In another irony, Apple restrictions appear ready-made to develop a market for ripoffs, as no driving influence is stronger than a consumer looking for a bargain.
The ultimate irony, however, is saved for last: Apple has scheduled its Lightning developer conference for Nov. 7 or Nov. 8 to outline its steps against unauthorized copycats in the heart of Apple knockoffs: Shenzen, China.
What do you think? How long before the Lightning protections are defeated and we see cheap imitations hitting shelves? I’m guessing in time for the all-important holiday shopping.