It’s been a couple of months since Apple released Lightning, and in two months, Apple has refreshed every iDevice that uses the old 30-Pin Dock Connector short of the iPod Classic. Despite this aggressive move to ditch the connector of the past, though, there has yet to be a single third-party accessory that supports Lightning.
Why? Because third-parties need to go through Apple for MFi (or Made for iPhone/iPad/iPod) certification, and the guidelines for getting that certification didn’t get announced until very recently at a secret meeting between Apple and accessory-makers in Shenzhen, China.
What’s going on at that meeting? According to a new intriguing report, Apple is making any accessory-maker who signs on for MFi certification to embrace their own supplier code, which should force accessory makers to manufacture their devices a lot more ethically.
Michael Rose over at TUAW reports:
The supplier code, which has been implemented and expanded over the past few years as Apple and manufacturing partner Foxconn have come under increasing scrutiny for working conditions, currently applies only to Apple’s manufacturing supply chain partners and component vendors. Pushing it out to the larger accessory ecosystem would be a concrete example of Apple using its 800-pound-gorilla status in the consumer electronics space to influence more companies to behave ethically on worker rights, environmental issues and more.
It’s a great move for Apple, which has been put under an incredible amount of scrutiny over its own committment to worker rights, even as the rest of the industry has gotten a pass. In our books, any accessory-maker working on devices that interact with Apple products should be modeling their own manufacturing and environmental ethics on Cupertino’s… at least.
Oh, another little tidbit from the conference. The Lightning connector? It’s apparently waterproof. Who’d a thunk?