Apple Lightning connector crack opens the door to cheap accessories
October 22, 2012
Apple's new Lightning connector has spawned great ire. Though its tiny port allows Apple to make much smaller and thinner devices, the company is using it to milk larger and thicker profits. If you bought an iPhone 5 or iPod touch 5G and want to use them with your old accessories, you'll have to pony up for a US$30 adapter. Adding fuel to that fire, Apple included an authentication chip in the Lightning cables, in an attempt to stamp out cheap third-party cables and accessories.
Apple customers may now have one less thing to worry about, as the Lightning authentication has reportedly been cracked. The Chinese makers of an iPhone 5 flashing dock told MacRumors that cracked authentication chips worked just as well in their device as OEM chips obtained from Apple's suppliers. Now BGR has uncovered further evidence of what it believes are the cracked chips.
Here come the knockoffs
If these reports hold weight, then, before long, we may see cheap Lightning adapters, cables, and accessories. This will delight the owners of Lightning-enabled iOS devices, but it isn't likely to make Apple – or manufacturing members of its MFi program – happy. As Apple's bankroll is doing okay these days (more than $117 billion in cash), it's hard to see the company getting much sympathy from customers.
It will probably take some time for these accessories to hit the market, so we wouldn't recommend buying any supposed third-party Lightning cables just yet. When the cracked products do become available, it would be wise to thoroughly check reviews and feedback to make sure you're getting the real deal.
It's natural for Apple to want to maximize profits, but does the prospect of cheap accessories make you more comfortable buying Lightning-enabled devices like the iPhone 5, iPod touch 5G, and iPad Mini? Let us know in the comments.