Apple Software Update Could Disable Counterfeit Lightning Connectors

When they introduced the iPhone 5, Apple switched to a new connector port called Lightning. So, all your iPhone accessories compatible with previous generation iPhones, iPads and iPod Touch models had then become “worthless” all of a sudden. But, as is usually the case, a new wave of accessories has been born, with the keyword being “Lightning-compatible.”

But this time the rollout of Lightning accessories has been slower than usual. So what’s the reason behind it? Yeah, you’ve already guessed: Apple’s control of the user experience from end to end.

Accessory maker Mophie has shed some light on how Apple controls the lightning accessory business, and at the same time ensures the consumer gets the user experience they expect from Apple.

As Mophie point outs, when a hardware maker signs up with Apple’s MFI Program for companies that make accessories for Apple products, it actually orders a Lightning connector component from Apple to use in designing the accessory.

Now, the most interesting part is that Apple assigns serial numbers to each accessory manufacturer. These connectors contain authentication chips that communicate with the phones. When the manufacturer submits its accessory to Apple for testing, the Cupertino company recognizes the serial number.

Obviously, the chip can be copied by another company, but it somehow won’t work as well as the one that you get from Apple, Ross Howe, vice president of marketing for Mophie highlights.

Furthermore, Apple could potentially issue a software update that could disable Lightning products that don’t use the chips supplied by the company.
The benefit? From the user’s perspective, the guarantee that “it just works” and it won’t blast your iPhone’s battery. From Apple’s perspective, it encourages accessory manufacturers to pay the company licensing fees to be part of the MFI program.

Now, putting that into context: Apple’s “minor” businesses, such as software, music, and iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch accessories, as well as others, combined have generated more revenue than other mobile manufacturers’ cellphone sales, Horace Dediu’s chart shows.


Image Credit: Apple, Asymco