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Apple reportedly tightens grip on third-party Lightning accessories

The iPhone maker wants only "Apple-approved" manufacturing facilities to create accessories for the new interface, sources tell iLounge.

Lance Whitney Contributing Writer
Lance Whitney is a freelance technology writer and trainer and a former IT professional. He's written for Time, CNET, PCMag, and several other publications. He's the author of two tech books--one on Windows and another on LinkedIn.
Lance Whitney
2 min read
Apple's Lightning to 30-pin adapter.
Apple's Lightning to 30-pin adapter. Apple

Apple reportedly wants approval over any manufacturer making Lightning accessories, but that move could delay their availability to consumers.

Citing "multiple reliable sources," iLounge reports that Apple recently made "significant changes" to its its MFi policy. Short for made for iPhone, iPod, and iPad, MFi certification is needed by third-party manufacturers that want the Apple seal of approval on their products.

Going forward, only facilities certified by Apple will be allowed to make accessories for the new Lightning interface, including those of third party companies. The only problem? Sources reportedly told iLounge that Apple has yet to approve any facilities, which means consumers won't see much in the way of accessories any time soon.

Apple will hold an MFi seminar in China next month, according to one source, where it will discuss the stricter guidelines with third parties. Once manufacturers are fully aware of the new policy, they may be able to ramp up accessories just in time for the holidays. Sources also told iLounge that the Lightning connector itself has been difficult to reproduce, meaning consumers may have a tougher time finding "unauthorized" cables and other adapters.

CNET contacted Apple for comment and will update the story if the company responds.

Lighting to 30-pin adapters have popped up on Amazon and eBay, many of which are generic parts and not approved or authorized by Apple.

A vendor called Nanotch is selling the Lightning to 30-Pin cable for $24.95 on Amazon, while iTronz is selling the stub adapter for $19.99. Those prices compare with Apple's $39 for the cable and $29 for the stub adapter.

However, Apple has reportedly installed an authorization chip in its adapters, which is missing from the generic ones. One Amazon reviewer of the Nanotch adapter expressed concern over this issue, while iLounge reported that Amazon orders for the iTronz adapter have since been cancelled after the vendor announced a "very critical functional issue."

It's always tempting to buy third-party and unauthorized accessories, especially for items that are expensive or in short supply from Apple. But since the Lightning interface is so new, consumers should exercise caution over where they spend their money.

Watch this: Apple shows redesigned iPhone 5 connector