The hardware authentication of Apple’s new Lightning interface has been broken, and third-party chips are starting to appear in Asia, according information and images obtained by Boy Genius Report Monday. The images of the purported third-party Lightning authentication chips support statements made two weeks ago by Chinese company iPhone5mod, which claimed it had “cracked” the Lightning authentication protections.
Lightning, Apple’s next generation interface for mobile devices, was introduced alongside the launch of the iPhone 5 in late September. Third-party adapters and cables were initially offered by various companies but were quickly pulled due to the discovery of an authentication chip inside Apple’s official Lightning products.
Concern amongst new iDevice owners grew as it became known that Apple planned to limit licenses to produce Lightning accessories with a strict new “MFi” agreement (“Made for iPod/iPhone/iPad”). Customers and third-party manufacturers feared that Apple’s insistence on tight control would diminish the robust third-party ecosystem that had existed with Apple’s 30-pin Dock Connector.
With the purported workaround of Apple’s authentication, third-parties will soon be able to produce unofficial accessories and cables for the Lightning interface, although the functionality of these products cannot be guaranteed until they have reached the hands of consumers.
The Lightning interface is more advanced than the 30-Pin Dock Connector and many believe that Apple limited third-party licenses not simply to control the market, but also to ensure high quality control for the sake of both functionality and safety.
However, the fact that Apple’s iDevice lineup, which will soon use the Lightning interface exclusively (with the exception of the iPod shuffle), is among the most attractive markets for third-party accessory makers ensures that, regardless of Apple’s intentions or desires, determined third-party engineers will find a way to make their products work.