Just when they thought they were done buying proprietary cables, iPhone users might have to buy Apple-approved USB-C accessories after all. Apple has confirmed it is moving away from its trademark Lightning port to the universal standard USB-C and many expect it to start with the iPhone 15, but it looks like you'll only get the best experience if you do things Apple's way.
Leaker ShrimpApplePro has claimed that Apple supplier Foxconn is already making Earpods and USB-C cables with MFI (Made for iPhone) certified specs. These Apple-approved products have since 2012 featured a tiny circuit that grants them their MFI status and unlocks their full potential on Apple devices, whereas non-approved, third-party products are often not recognized or incompatible with iPhones. This matches rumors that spread across Weibo earlier in February.
In reality, this would likely mean that iPhone 15 owners will need to shell out for Apple’s own accessories or else forego features such as fast charging and may also have to put up with slower data transfer speeds. So even with the EU’s ruling that Apple must adopt USB-C by the end of 2024, it looks like Apple may have its own walled garden of accessories once again.
If this rumor proves to be true the EU may have something to say about it. Interestingly, this MFI certification is not present on iPads with USB-C, so perhaps there is some hope.
Yeah usb-c with MFI is happening Foxconn already in mass production accessories like EarPods and cables pic.twitter.com/1ka9CRlY93February 28, 2023
Analysis: Good for business, bad for consumers
While this move will likely bring in plenty of business for Apple, it is bound to rub users the wrong way, costing them extra money but also likely costing the planet with a host of new cables being created just for the new iPhone 15 series.
This is nothing new though, Apple has gone its own way with its connectors for a long time, but the likes of the old 30-pin connector offered an improved performance on their rivals. Apple pulled a similar trick with the disappearance of the headphone jack from the iPhone 7 onwards, boosting sales of its own wireless AirPods.
Apple will need to make a very strong case as to why we need MFi USB-C cables and accessories, including data transfer speeds, charging speeds and overall reliability versus standard USB-C accessories.
We've also heard that Apple may limit the USB-C transfer speed on the iPhone 15 series compared to the iPhone 15 Pro and iPhone 15 Pro Max, which is another rumor we hope proves untrue.
More from Tom's Guide