Apple has given third-party accessory-makers the go-ahead to manufacture their own 3.5mm-to-Lightning cables. It is also approving the use of USB-C connectors under its MFi accessories program, which now sports cleaner, more modern logos.
Apple gives us a free 3.5mm-to-Lightning cable with its latest iPhones — and has done so since ditching 3.5mm headphone jacks with the iPhone 7 in 2016. But they’re so small they can easily be lost, and so flimsy they can easily be broken with frequent use.
Apple charges $9 for a new 3.5mm-to-Lightning cable, which isn’t a great deal, but these accessories are about to get even more affordable and easier to get hold of.
Third-party 3.5mm-to-Lightning cables are coming
Apple is now allowing third-party manufacturers to sell their own 3.5mm-to-Lightning cables under its MFi accessories program. That means we’ll soon see a wider variety of options at different prices, and that adapters could come bundled with other MFi accessories.
In addition, Apple is allowing accessory-makers to put USB-C connectors on MFi devices for the first time. Controllers, battery packs, speakers and more will soon offer USB-C charging while maintaining Apple’s stamp of approval. But there’s a big catch.
USB-C comes with big restrictions
Apple still won’t support USB-C pass-through for charging or syncing on iPhone. Accessory-makers still can’t use USB-C for charging cases, or their own USB-C-to-Lightning cables. If you want the latter, you’ll have to continue buying Apple’s at $19 a pop.
Alongside its MFi changes, Apple introduced new MFi logos over the weekend, Chargerlab reports. They’re cleaner than the old ones, use Apple’s San Francisco font introduced in iOS 9, and they no longer include those outdated iPod, iPhone or iPad indicators.
Apple reportedly made accessory-makers aware of its new MFi logos on February 9 and gave them 90 days to update them on their products and packaging.