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.
[M]ultiple reliable sources have confirmed to iLounge that Apple has made significant changes to its Made For iPad/iPhone/iPod (MFi) policies, tightening control over the manufacturing of Lightning accessories. According to the sources, only Apple-approved manufacturing facilities will be allowed to produce Lightning connector accessories, even including third-party accessories. Moreover, Apple hasn’t approved any factories yet, which the sources say will limit the number of Lightning accessories available in the near future.
One source notes that Apple is planning an MFi “seminar,” where it will discuss changes to the program and the rules for Lightning accessory development going forward. The seminar will be held in November in China, notes the source, after the point at which third-party Lightning accessories could be manufactured in time for holiday sale.
Although Lightning has made it possible for Apple to make gadgets that are thinner than ever before, another big motivation for the 30-pin dock connector’s redesign was to make it much harder for third-parties to manufacture iPod and iPhone compatible accessories without paying Apple an MFi licensing fee. With Lightning, though, the new all-digital connection is too sophisticated to counterfeit without Apple’s direct help, meaning Lightning-compatible cables and accessories should remain at a premium for a time to come.