updated 02:07 pm EDT, Tue October 9, 2012
Manufacturers said to have cracked Apple authentication chip
Third-party manufacturers are said to have cracked the authentication layer Apple builds into all of its new Lightning connectors for its newest iDevices. A new iPhone 5 dock is currently being sold through China-based iPhone5mod.com, representatives for which spoke with Mac Rumors, confirming that they had obtained cracked chips that bypass Apple's authentication functions. The third-party accessories currently on sale, though, reportedly still use authentic Lightning controller chips.
The maker of the new third-party dock has apparently secured a supply of original Lightning controller chips from Apple's supplier. These chips ensure that their devices will function with no difficulties, as they technically adhere to all of Apple's requirements. The cracked chips the manufacturer claims to have obtained, though, reportedly work just as well as the original chips. Should these reports bear out, that could mean a wave of unauthorized Lightning-compatible devices emerging at prices below what Apple offers.
The authentication hardware in Apple's new, smaller Lightning adapters assists with the dynamic assignment of pin functions in the connector, tailoring the signal to the device to which it is connected.
So far, Apple recognizes no other manufacturers as authorized to make Lightning-compatible accessories. The company is said, though, to be planning a manufacturer seminar at which it will lay out the rules regarding accessory development and determine which factories and companies will be authorized to produce Made For iPad/iPhone/iPod devices.