Apple's Lightning cable cloned

Posted by Emma Woollacott

A Chinese company says it's been able to crack the microchip inside Apple's Lightning cable, allowing it to sell a low-cost version of the cable and dock.

Apple hasn't released its own docking station with a Lightning adaptor, and hasn't yet given permission for any third parties to sell Lightning-equipped products.

The authentication chip embedded inside its cable means it's not easy to make a clone, and the iPhone5mod version represents the first attempt to produce something on a mass-market scale.

There are two elements to the dock: an illuminated Lightning-to-USB cable and a white dock similar to Apple's own existing docks, but with a Lightning dock connector port attached. Each of these costs $19.90, or $39.90 for the pair, and they're available here.

"We are the first company to release a different Lightning Cable from Apple that fully supports the iPhone 5 (also works with iPod Touch 5th Gen and upcoming mini iPad too). It works independently or together with the iPhone 5 Dock," says the company.

"The illuminated Lightning Cable uses electroluminescent (EL) technology to display the current flow from the power source to your device."

Indeed, the moving lights actually change speed depending on the phone's battery capacity, going one better than Apple's glowing iPhone USB cable.

The cable, says iPhone5mod, fully supports iTunes, Data Sync, Battery Charging for iPhone 5 and future iOS upgrades.

According to the company, it's got two sources of appropriate chips: a supply of the genuine article from Apple's own supplier, and cracked chips that bypass Apple's authentication functions. Both work equally well, it says.

Potential purchasers might need to hurry: Apple's making changes to its Made For iPad/iPhone/iPod (MFi) policy, introducing a new approval process for Lightning connectors by the end of the year. It's likely to attempt to block the iPhone5mod version pretty soon.