Along with the new iPhone and iPods unveiled earlier this month, Apple released its next-generation sync cables, the "lightning" connectors. Ditching the company's dated 30-pin model, Apple made the switch to a much smaller and more convenient connector. The problem is that users would now have to purchase a whole new collection of iPhone accessories. Even worse, it looks like budget third party providers won't be an option this time around.
According to a report from AppleInsider, Apple's new connector features an authentication chip that may indicate many of the cheap, third party cables on sale won't function properly. The folks over at Double Helix Cables took apart one of Apple's new connectors, identifying the inclusion of what appears to be an authentication chip.
"There is basically no way those are functional cables," the company explained. "You can't just build a Lightning cable by making something with the same shape and connectivity, and my teardown proves that. The chip has to be there, and it is directly in the signal path of the V+ wire."
The new information means iPhone 5 customers should be wary when purchasing budget-friendly third-party connectors. The authenticator chip means Apple is getting serious about controlling its accessory market. When the 30-pin connector first came out, Apple offered replacements for a hefty cost, something that was quickly diminished when third parties created cables for as little as a dollar a piece. Now it looks like our only choice for extra cables will be to pay the Apple premium or a similar cost from authorized accessory makers.