iPhone 5 users who were hoping to get cheap third-party replacement or supplementary Lightning cables might be disappointed to learn that those cables aren’t likely to work.
An employee from Double Helix Cables has told Apple Insider that the new Lightning cables have what appear to be authentication chips inside of them. During a teardown, the chip was found inside the connector, between the V+ contact and the power pin.
What this means is that cables without an authentication chip are not going to work with the iPhone 5. Apple Insider points out that this “feature” might also be a factor in the higher cost of the Lightning connectors compared to the old iPhone connectors. A new Lightning cable from Apple costs $19 and takes 2 to 3 weeks to ship.
The discovery isn’t surprising, as Apple has been known to include things such as tiny, non-standard screws in its products to prevent customers from taking them apart. The company wants to control every aspect of a user’s iPhone experience, including the cables that are inserted into it. No doubt third-party accessory manufacturers will eventually figure out how to create a Lightning knock-off, but it might be a while before customers will see less expensive iPhone 5 connectors on the market.
In related iPhone 5 connector news, it was revealed last week that the Lightning to 30-pin adapter that Apple is selling for $29 will not support the iPod Out format, meaning some stereos and car systems will not be able to work properly with the iPhone 5.