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.
Will we see third-party Lightning accessories before Christmas?
The iPhone 5 has been on sale for nearly a month now, but we’re still yet to see any official third-party Lightning accessories. It’s not that accessory makers are slow at producing them, it’s that Apple is yet to finalize its Lightning policies and give manufacturers the go-ahead to use its new connector.
Fortunately, this is expected to happen next month. Apple will hold a conference in Shenzhen, China, between November 7 and November 8 with its Made for iPod/iPhone/iPad (MFI) program partners to finalize its Lightning plans, according to a source “close to Apple’s accessory manufacturing partner.”
Even though Apple has already debuted the new Lightning connector, there still aren’t any third-party accessories that actually boast Lightning compatibility. Part of that is because Apple has still not made Lightning connectors — which are hard to counterfeit by design — available to third-parties. Even when Apple does make the connectors available, though, any accessory makers who wants to make gadgets that are “Made for Lightning” will have to do so in Apple-approved manufacturing facilities, which won’t be an option until at least November. That could make it tricky, but by no means impossible, for some accessory makers to get their products on the shelves in time for Christmas.
AirPlay has been around for well over a year now, but the range of AirPlay compatible accessories available is still pretty slim. However, that could be about to change.
Apple is reportedly planning to introduce Bluetooth support to AirPlay, which would significantly extend the range of accessories currently compatible with the feature. The company will also improve iOS connectivity for third-party accessories.