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Apple Lowers Licensing Costs for Lightning Cables and Other MFi Accessories

lightning_usb_cable_0_5_mLast month, Apple reportedly reduced the licensing costs for accessory manufacturers who are producing official gear for the iPhone, iPad or iPod. According to Mac Otakara, this reduction applies to Lightning cables as well as other accessories that are part of Apple's MFi (Made for iPod/iPhone/iPad) Program.

Made for iPod (MFi) was launched in 2005 as a licensing and quality control program that allowed iPod accessory makers to ship their products with an Apple-approved "Made for iPod" label. At launch, Apple reportedly charged companies that wanted to participate in this program a 10% fee based on the wholesale cost of the device.

Apple expanded its MFi Program to include the iPhone and iPad as those devices were added to the company's product portfolio, with Apple's Lightning cable introduced last in 2012 falling under the program's guidelines due to the serialized authentication chip embedded in the connectors. At last year's Worldwide Developers Conference, Apple again extended the licensing to include game controllers for iOS devices.

Those game controllers have generally arrived with higher pricing than expected by consumers, with some of the blame for pricing and quality issues being placed on Apple's requirements administered through the MFi Program. One high-profile controller, the SteelSeries Stratus, did, however, see a $20 price cut in the few weeks between announcement and launch last month, and while a cut to MFi licensing fees undoubtedly would not have accounted for the entire price drop, it may have given SteelSeries a bit of flexibility to make its pricing more competitive.

Beyond licensing and technical requirements, Apple allegedly also requires manufacturers in the MFi Program to agree to the company's supplier responsibility code. This code takes steps to ensure that employees have access to safe working conditions and requires companies to submit to inspections that ensure compliance with Apple's Code of Conduct.

Top Rated Comments

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24 weeks ago
Can they please drop the price of the cables too? £15+P&P is nothing short of extortion! :mad:

I've just checked their site and the old dock connector cable has free shipping, but the lightning cable adds £4 for delivery! How can they justify that?!
Rating: 23 Votes
24 weeks ago
I hope they follow suit by lowering the licensing cost of Thunderbolt as well. Very few companies are bothering with TBolt accessories right now.
Rating: 17 Votes
24 weeks ago

People just need to take care of them. :rolleyes: I still have my iPod Nano's one. The iPad Mini's was the one that came apart, because they're much thicker.

Heck, I still have my cable from my original iPod 3rd generation from 2003. Can't use it on my newer Macs, but hey, still works!


People taking care of them has nothing to do with the cost, i need one for my room, my desk, my car, and my living room. Spending 100 dollars on that is insane.
Rating: 16 Votes
24 weeks ago
They need to lower Thunderbolt costs. Accessories are a joke and this is turning into Firewire all over again.

Why is Apple able to create shifts in the industry with iPhones and iPads but can't even make a half butt attempt to start a new connection standard?
Rating: 15 Votes
24 weeks ago

you should be able to get a 3 pack of these cables for 30 dollars, pricing is ridiculous.


Especially given the quality. We've replaced three cables in the last six months.
Rating: 8 Votes
24 weeks ago

Nope, I refuse flat out to pay that for a cable so I get mine from the pound store. I love Apple but they can stick their lightning cables where the sun don't shine.


I'm with you. I've been buying my Ligtning cables on ebay direct from China, at under $1 per cable, and they work just as well as the $30 cables, plus they offer options (different colors, 10ft length) not available from Apple.
Rating: 6 Votes
24 weeks ago

I hope they follow suit by lowering the licensing cost of Thunderbolt as well. Very few companies are bothering with TBolt accessories right now.


I believe that Thunderbolt is a technology that was created by Intel, not Apple. Apple is just the first company to use it commercially...
Rating: 4 Votes
24 weeks ago
Not everything Apple makes has to have massive profits attached.

Just makes it hard for Apple fans to justify, and give Apple detractors more to complain about.
Rating: 4 Votes
24 weeks ago

I, like other posters, would like to see Thunderbolt cables and accessories become more numerous fo' shizzle but that isn't going to happen until licensing costs and overall product pricing drops.


You misinterpret the market.

Thunderbolt isn't a niche product because of it's pricing. It's a niche product because there is no longer much general public need for external connectivity beyond low I/O throughput tasks. The pricing simply reflects that.

Most of the things that the General Market uses are those which fit firmly into the area for which USB excels at. Examples of these items run the gamut from a mouse, to a printer, to that weird thing you bought on eBay. In brief, anything which needs less than 30~ Mbit/s and less than 500/900mA of power is probably better suited to USB than Thunderbolt - which encompasses an awful lot (most, in fact) of things.

Even where thunderbolt's advantages could effect the general consumer, namely storage services including external drives and/or USB, most of those people don't care enough that they would spend 2$ more, muchness 50~100$ more.

No, thunderbolt exists because in the future, which we are already partially living in, where there is not enough general consumer demand to support machines with hardware PCIe slots (or at least, not enough of them for the odd case). Thunderbolt allows Apple (and hopefully in time the rest of the PC Industry) to continue offering products to the people who need a ton of PCIe connectivity, even when the market for it inevitably becomes to commercially support.

I think thunderbolt is doing quite well frankly.

Karl P
Rating: 4 Votes
24 weeks ago

People taking care of them has nothing to do with the cost, i need one for my room, my desk, my car, and my living room. Spending 100 dollars on that is insane.


I've bought several knock off cables off of eBay for a fraction of Apples extortion-like prices and they work just fine.
Hell, Apple changed cable formats, put a special chip inside making copies harder to make and then charged $29 for a meter long wire with to connectors. I say, Brilliant!
Rating: 3 Votes

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