New in OS X: Get MacRumors Push Notifications on your Mac

Resubscribe Now Close

Third-Party Vendor Beats Apple to Market With Reversible Lightning USB Cables

Amid rumors that Apple is developing a Lightning cable with a reversible USB connector, third-party accessory vendor Truffol has begun selling a reversible USB Lightning cable on its website, beating Apple to the punch.

Priced at $9.99, the reversible cable advertised by Truffol is designed to be inserted into a USB port in either direction, a shift from a traditional USB cable that can only be inserted in one direction. While the cable is not Apple-approved and thus not Made for iPhone (MFi) certified, Truffol has told MacRumors that its cable works with both existing iOS devices and the upcoming iPhone 6. Using non-certified third-party iPhone accessories is not recommended by Apple, however, and in the past, some third-party accessories have caused damage to iOS devices.

lightningcablereversible
It is not clear whether these third-party reversible USB Lightning cables were already in development ahead of the rumors suggesting Apple was developing its own reversible solution or if they were designed in response to rumors, but their sudden availability may possibly hint at the existence of an Apple-branded reversible cable. Truffol told MacRumors that it believes the idea for the third-party reversible Lightning cables originated from "insider Apple sources."

Rumors of an Apple-branded Lightning cable with a reversible USB connector first surfaced last week in the form of leaked images and videos, but Apple initially filed a patent application for the technology in January 2014, which became public in late July.

Video depicting alleged Apple Lightning cable with reversible USB connector

Apple may face some legal hurdles if it launches a reversible Lightning USB cable. A California company named UltraTek holds a patent for a reversible USB connector and already sells reversible USB cables through a number of different online retailers, but it is possible Apple has licensed the technology or developed a solution that is different enough not to infringe on UltraTek's existing technology.

A second Apple patent filing that was published earlier this week suggests Apple has indeed improved on current reversible USB connector designs, as it details a cable with a flexible internal connector. Described as a flexible "tongue," Apple's design would allow a USB connector to flex to fit into any existing USB port regardless of insertion orientation. The flexible design may be superior to existing reversible USB designs because it allows for a thicker, sturdier middle "stalk" and a stronger connection with contacts.

It is possible that Apple's rumored Lightning cable with a reversible USB connector might debut as soon as September, introduced alongside the iPhone 6 that's expected to be unveiled at a September 9 media event.

Top Rated Comments

(View all)

13 weeks ago
i really dont get why this wasnt implemented by anyone much earlier. like 3-5 years ago.
Rating: 21 Votes
13 weeks ago

How is something "knock off", just because Apple didn't manufacture and sell it? Does that mean that every item sold outside Apple, on planet earth, EVER, is "knock off"?

Knock it off.


In this case, I think the line between "certified" and "not certified" is getting blurred and non-certified cables and devices are being referred to as knock-offs because they are not blessed by Apple.

That said, I will only buy products certified by Apple. Not worth the risk.
Rating: 15 Votes
13 weeks ago
Prepare for more "Apple cable caused fire / shock" news even though it's another knockoff cable.
Rating: 14 Votes
13 weeks ago

How is something "knock off", just because Apple didn't manufacture and sell it? Does that mean that every item sold outside Apple, on planet earth, EVER, is "knock off"?

Knock it off.


Well it's a lightning cable not manufactured by Apple and presumably not done per MFi specs so... Yeah, its a knockoff.
Rating: 14 Votes
13 weeks ago

Prepare for more "Apple cable caused fire / shock" news even though it's another knockoff cable.


How is something "knock off", just because Apple didn't manufacture and sell it? Does that mean that every item sold outside Apple, on planet earth, EVER, is "knock off"?

Knock it off.
Rating: 9 Votes
13 weeks ago

How is something "knock off", just because Apple didn't manufacture and sell it? Does that mean that every item sold outside Apple, on planet earth, EVER, is "knock off"?

Knock it off.


By knock off, I meant uncertified.
Rating: 8 Votes
13 weeks ago
"Purchasing third-party cables is not recommended by Apple, however, as they can cause damage to [delete]iOS devices[/delete] Apple's profit margins."

Correction in italics.
Rating: 7 Votes
13 weeks ago
Timely article on 9to5mac re the poor quality of Apple cables. Of course, as is expected, the Apple army show up in the coments to defend, deflect and otherwise attempt to discredit the author.
Rating: 5 Votes
13 weeks ago
Or, you know, the "leaked" photos and video were of this actual product, rather than an actual Apple product. (Not saying Apple won't do this, just that the 'leaks' could have been on purpose by this company to drum up interest.)
Rating: 4 Votes
13 weeks ago

How is something "knock off", just because Apple didn't manufacture and sell it? Does that mean that every item sold outside Apple, on planet earth, EVER, is "knock off"?

Knock it off.


Non-certified Lightning cables vs certified ones. Apple holds the patent for the Lightning connector itself. I don't care anyway and have bought 20 uncertified ones, each for less than $1, and they work fine.

----------

Purchasing third-party cables is not recommended (http://www.macrumors.com/2013/06/12/ios-7-beta-warns-users-when-using-unauthorized-lightning-cables-and-accessories/) by Apple, however, as they can cause damage to iOS devices (http://www.macrumors.com/2014/06/19/iphone-5-faulty-chips/).


I don't know about this. The linked article is mainly about the iPhone 5 being damaged by faulty chargers, and it mentions cables only once somewhere. No details about how the cable itself could be harmful were there. I remember asking about this before. People somehow confuse chargers and cables, and it's an important distinction to make.

----------

"Purchasing third-party cables is not recommended by Apple, however, as they can cause damage to [delete]iOS devices[/delete] Apple's profit margins."

Correction in italics.


Yeah, I think this is more accurate.
Rating: 4 Votes

[ Read All Comments ]