Apple's new Lightning connector introduced on the iPhone 5 has generated a significant amount of interest, both from a usage standpoint as the company abandons its nearly decade-old 30-pin dock connector and from a technical perspective. On the technical side, the new Lightning connector uses adaptive technology to enable it to perform a variety of functions with just eight contact pins, dynamically assigning pin functions to suit a given situation.
One other aspect of the Lightning connector that has generated interest is whether Apple has also incorporated some sort of authentication functionality into the handful of chips found inside the Lightning connector assembly in order to inhibit third parties from manufacturing unlicensed cables. Scattered reports have indeed indicated that Apple has included authentication features in its cables, but companies have reportedly already cracked the security feature.
Chips inside Lightning connector assembly
Chipworks has now taken a closer look at the chips found inside the Lightning to USB cable, highlighting a Texas Instruments (TI) chip that seems "likely" to include a security feature. While the exact "BQ2025" chip used in the cable is not documented in TI datasheets, four other chips with very similar part numbers are documented.
These four chips are cataloged on TI’s website as battery fuel gauges, but they are not identical, with three of them being serial EPROMs and one of them being a battery monitor IC.
However, all four do have some common characteristics. All use a single wire SDQ interface (TI’s proprietary serial communications protocol), and all have some basic security features such as CRC [cyclic redundancy check] generation. So, it is certainly likely that the BQ2025 does have some security implemented on it. It would also seem likely that it includes an SDQ interface.
Die photo of TI's BQ2025 chip
Further investigation of the layout of the chip is consistent with a communication chip employing some "simple security features", and Chipworks notes that this seems to be the first time the firm has found such security features in a cable. CRC does not, however, serve to authenticate connections and is instead primarily used to check for errors in data transmission.
The security does not come close to the herculean approaches that are used in (for example) today’s printer cartridges, but resembles the level of effort that cartridge manufacturers used to implement in the olden days. This is likely a calculated decision by Apple to keep costs to a minimum knowing that their core customer base prefers to shop in Apple stores or for brand name peripherals. In these places, piracy is not a concern. In other words, at this time the security is “just enough.”
Many users have been frustrated by Apple's tight control over the Lightning standard, a grip that has slowed accessory companies as they are still waiting to receive instructions from Apple and to have their facilities certified by Apple under the Made For iPad/iPhone/iPod (MFi) program. In the meantime, unauthorized third-party manufacturers are likely to begin filling the void.
Apple today released iOS 16.0.2, addressing a number of bugs that iPhone 14 owners have been experiencing since the new devices launched. iOS 16.0.2 comes two weeks after the launch of iOS 16, and it follows iOS 16.0.1, an update made available to iPhone 14 owners on launch day. The update is available for all iPhones that are capable of running iOS 16.
The iOS 16.0.2 update can be...
The Apple Watch Series 8 and Apple Watch Ultra are now available to purchase, but if you aren't interested in these updates you can save a lot of money on Series 7 models right now on Amazon.
Note: MacRumors is an affiliate partner with Amazon. When you click a link and make a purchase, we may receive a small payment, which helps us keep the site running.
The best deals are on cellular...
Thursday September 22, 2022 7:57 am PDT by Sami Fathi
A copycat version of the iPhone 14 Pro's Dynamic Island has arrived on Android's Google Play Store in the form of an app called "dynamicSpot."
The app, still in beta, offers customers several different experiences at the top of their smartphones. In its current form, dynamicSpot offers playback control for songs, timers, battery status, and more features coming soon, according to the app's...
Wednesday September 21, 2022 7:49 am PDT by Juli Clover
Apple on Friday released the new iPhone 14 models, and MacRumors videographer Dan picked one up on launch day. He's been using the iPhone 14 Pro Max non-stop since it came out, and over on the MacRumors YouTube channel, has shared his initial thoughts on the day-to-day experience with the latest iPhone.
Subscribe to the MacRumors YouTube channel for more videos. Dan's mini review highlights...
Apple plans to release new MacBook Pro models in the fourth quarter of 2022, according to supply chain publication DigiTimes. The report does not mention specific models, but it very likely refers to the next-generation 14-inch and 16-inch MacBook Pros given that the 13-inch model was already updated earlier this year.
There has been uncertainty surrounding the timing of new 14-inch and...
Thursday September 22, 2022 5:12 am PDT by Sami Fathi
Meta is facing a new proposed class action lawsuit that accuses it of tracking and collecting the personal data of iPhone users, despite features and policies made by Apple which are meant to stop that same type of tracking.
In August, it was revealed that with the Facebook and Instagram apps, Meta can track all of a user's key taps, keyboard inputs, and more, when using the in-app browser....
Upon the release of the second-generation AirPods Pro, the AirPods Max became the oldest current-generation AirPods product still in Apple's lineup. Introducing several new features like Adaptive Transparency and the H2 chip, the second-generation AirPods Pro may provide some of the best indications yet of what to expect from the second-generation AirPods Max.
Almost two years later, rumors...
Apple today explained why the new silicone ear tips for the second-generation AirPods Pro are not officially compatible with the original AirPods Pro.
In an updated support document, Apple said the original AirPods Pro ear tips have "noticeably denser mesh" than the second-generation ear tips. Apple did not provide any additional details, but the mesh density could result in acoustical...
Friday September 23, 2022 9:40 am PDT by Sami Fathi
Customers who personalize their second-generation AirPods Pro charging case with an engraving will now have that engraving reflected directly on iOS as they pair and connect their AirPods Pro. Apple allows customers to personalize their AirPods Pro charging case with a special engraving that can include select emojis and Memojis. Unlike before, starting with the second-generation AirPods...