updated 01:35 pm EDT, Wed October 3, 2012
Only Apple-approved factories can produce Lightning goods
Apple has significantly changed its Made For iPad/iPhone/iPod (MFi) policies, changes that are keeping potential iDevice accessory makers from producing Lightning accessories. Sources tell iLounge that the number of Lightning accessories available in the near future will be lower than previously expected due to the special construction of Apple's adapter as well as the new MFi policies. Apple is reportedly planning a seminar in the near future, where it will discuss the policy changes and new rules for manufacturers, after which designers may begin manufacturing Lightning devices in greater quantities.
At the center of the manufacturers' difficulties is the special authentication chip Apple has built into the Lightning adapter. Unauthorized third parties looking to duplicate Lightning connectors have attested that they are difficult to copy due to the authenticator. One manufacturer began offering an iTronz Lightning Adapter on Amazon in September shortly after the iPhone 5's announcement, but preorders for that device have since been cancelled. Amazon cited the Lightning connector's authentication chip in its letter canceling sales.
Apple is said to be planning an MFi seminar, where it will meet with manufacturers and lay out the new rules for iDevice accessories. Reportedly, Apple will be determining a list of Apple-approved manufacturing facilities, and only those facilities will be able to produce Lightning connector accessories, including third-party accessories.
Currently, no factories have been approved by Apple, meaning it is likely that no one outside of Apple is producing Lightning accessories. Following the MFi seminar, though, sources believe that third-party Lightning accessories will be manufactured in time for the holiday shopping season.