Mobile Technology

Apple Lightning connector crack opens the door to cheap accessories

Apple Lightning connector crac...
Apple was gunning for a cash cow with its Lightning connector, but that may be in jeopardy
Apple was gunning for a cash cow with its Lightning connector, but that may be in jeopardy
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Apple was gunning for a cash cow with its Lightning connector, but that may be in jeopardy
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Apple was gunning for a cash cow with its Lightning connector, but that may be in jeopardy
Disgruntled iPhone 5 owners may be thrilled to see this soon (simulated image)
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Disgruntled iPhone 5 owners may be thrilled to see this soon (simulated image)
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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

Disgruntled iPhone 5 owners may be thrilled to see this soon (simulated image)
Disgruntled iPhone 5 owners may be thrilled to see this soon (simulated image)

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.

Sources: BGR and MacRumors

13 comments
DoctorDee
When I bought my iPhone 5, the apple website said it came with a free lightning adaptor. They took my money - thus forming a contract in UK law. The iPhone didn't come with an adaptor - When I complained to Apple, they told me to return the item for a refund. I will not buy any Apple Lightning product unless cheap 3rd party adaptors are available.
JPAR
I was ignorant of the charging chip when i purchased my iPhone5, as Im sure many people will be. Only when trying to source additional leads (for work, bedroom etc) did I realise the cheap stunt pulled by Apple. They really have committed PR suicide with this device - all for what, a few poxy $, and did they really believe that it wouldn't be 'cracked' within a matter of months? I have held back from paying £30 (yes, we get charged closer to $40 in the UK for Apple leads!) and will await the Chinese imports - whereupon I'll buy 2 or 3 for the same price.
Tommo
I Agree with DrDee above. I wont be buying any lightning product until I can get a cheaper adaptor.
foghorn
The lightning adaptor is the ultimate F.U. towards apple consumers. It's also environmentally criminal. Think of all of those working devices that are now going to be thrown in the garbage. They could have easily improved the existing adaptor. I'm not normally a crank about these things, but apple, there's NO WAY I'm buying an iphone five or any other device with a lightning adaptor.
christopher
Someone should sue them. Every other company in Europe is obliged to make their chargers compatible to reduce environmental wastage - Apple should not be exempt, and should be made to pay for the wanton environmental vandalism this connector has created.
Foneboy Cashaphone
after just getting back from the china electronics fair, Yes china manufacturers have cracked it, But some have said that "if Apple does an update on the iphone 5 OS, the copy lightning adapter may No Longer Work"
Undies
Christopher... Why don't YOU sue them, instead of sitting back and complaining and waiting for someone else to do the work. Don't forget that Apple has used the same 30pin connector since the 3rd gen iPod some 9 or 10 years ago. Try and find a company that ran with the same connector for longer. I have thrown out countless non-Apple cables in the same time I have kept reusing my 30-pin connector. It's time for change, just suck it up and spend your $30 to last you another 10 years.
MasterG
Why does it have to be 30pins? How exactly does it differ from before? Can't I just open the cable and rip out the chip? Can't I just have a usb cable I plug into it?
Philberg
Whilst I agree that Apple never miss an opportunity to charge excessively for adaptors and other accessories that should probably be included with the product, I think there is a fact about the 19-30 pin adaptor that may not be clear. Unlike the audio output from the 30 pin adaptor which is analogue and can therefore be plugged in to amplifiers, powered speakers, docks etc. the output of the new 19 pin adaptor is digital only. This is fine if you have a digital input on your dock, amp. etc. but most people don't. The 19-30 pin adaptor has a Digital to Analogue Converter (DAC) inside so you can connect it to existing analogue devices (docks etc.) the DAC in the adaptor is made by Wolfson Microelectronics (UK) who by general consent, particularly in the audiophile community, make the best sounding DACs. When and if 3rd part adaptors appear on the market, keep in mind they will probably have the kind of cheap and nasty-sounding DACs you get in PCs and cheap MP3 players. Caveat Emptor!
detritus
Why anyone should expect Apple to care about consumers is a bit of a mystery. They constantly introduce proprietary products and ignore industry standards. The connector that used to work is a perfect example. It should have been a USB cable all along, but Apple was more concerned with their profits and not the end user. They have taken over Microsoft's lead in annoying their customers. Every other phone or digital device manufacturer in the World uses standard USB, which replaced the standard serial and parallel connectors. Many folks have a dozen of these cables laying around and new ones are inexpensive and available at grocery stores!