MFi Program


'MFi Program' Articles

Apple Updates Made For iPhone Licensing Program With USB-C Ports, Lightning to 3.5mm Output Cable

Apple recently updated its Made for iPhone/iPad/iPod (MFi) licensing program to include specifications for USB-C ports and a Lightning to 3.5mm output cable (via 9to5Mac). With the new specifications, accessory makers will be able to include USB-C ports on MFi-certified charging accessories designed for the iOS and Mac, with those accessories able to use the USB-C cables that ship with new Macs. Third-party MFi accessories that include Lightning ports are able to offer passthrough charging, but Apple's new specifications do not allow the USB-C port built into an accessory to be used for passthrough charging or syncing of an iOS device. Apple's documentation suggests speakers and battery packs could benefit from the use of a USB-C port for charging purposes. As for the Lightning to 3.5mm stereo output plug, it is designed to let users connect to a 3.5mm input using a Lightning port on an iOS device, something that was previously only possible with adapters. Apple also recently revamped its Made for iPhone/iPad/iPod logos, introducing support for the San Francisco font and replacing device icons with standard Apple

Apple Updates 'Made for iPhone, iPad, and iPod' Logos

Apple has updated its Made for iPhone, Made for iPad, and Made for iPod logos, and accessory makers have 90 days from when the change was announced in mid February to begin using them, according to ChargerLab. Apple's new Made for iPhone, iPad, and iPod logos via ChargerLab The new decals look similar, but they have Apple logos in place of iPhone, iPad, and iPod icons. Apple has also moved iPod from first to last in the list, as the iPhone and iPad have long overshadowed the portable media player. The new logos use Apple's San Francisco font, compared to Myriad Pro previously. Apple's old Made for iPod, iPhone, and iPad logo Made for iPhone, Made for iPad, and Made for iPod logos inform customers that an electronic accessory has been certified by the developer to meet Apple's performance standards. To use the logos, accessory makers must apply to be a MFi Program licensee, and receive approval from Apple. MFi-licensed technologies include the Lightning connector, CarPlay, GymKit, HomeKit, game controllers, and hearing aids, among others. MFi Program certification is not required for accessories that only make use of standard Bluetooth profiles supported by iOS, or accessories that only use the 3.5mm headphone jack. For customers, this isn't a significant change. But, next time you're shopping for Apple-certified accessories, be aware the logos will soon change on packaging. It doesn't appear the similar Made for Apple Watch decal has changed. (Thanks, Nick!)

Brother's Entire Lineup of Mobile Printers Now Certified by Apple's Made for iPhone Program

Brother today announced that every series in its mobile printer lineup now features at least one model certified by Apple's MFi Program. MFi-certified printers are fully compatible with iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch, enabling users to print instantly from an iOS device via Bluetooth, without the need to download special drivers. That's in addition to existing AirPrint support on select Brother printers for wireless printing from an iOS device over a Wi-Fi network. Brother's MFi-certified models include the RuggedJet RJ-2050, RJ-2150, RJ-3050Ai, RJ-3150Ai, RJ-4030Ai, PocketJet 763MFi, and M-Print MW145MFi and MW260MFi. Look for the "Made for iPhone, iPad, and iPod" logo on the box. Brother has a wide variety of mobile printers available to purchase on its website, with some models costing upwards of

Apple Working on 'Ultra Accessory Connector' for Made for iPhone Program [Updated]

Apple is working on a new "Ultra Accessory Connector" that would be built into headphones and headsets certified under its Made for iPhone licensing program. The connector, introduced as part of a developer preview as shared by 9to5Mac, features 8 pins and measures 2.05mm by 4.85mm, thinner and smaller than existing Lightning and USB-C ports. The UAC is smaller than USB-C or Lightning, both pictured According to Apple's Made for iPhone specifications for the Ultra Accessory Connector (UAC), it's designed to be used with headphone cables. Accessory manufacturers will be able to develop Lightning to UAC, USB-A to UAC, and 3.5mm jack to UAC cables, connecting to a UAC port built into an accessory for charging and audio purposes. Such a port could perhaps be built into products like Beats headphones, which currently use micro-USB for charging purposes, and it could save internal space manufacturers could use for other components. Why Apple has developed a new port rather than encouraging manufacturers to adopt USB-C or Lightning is unknown (there are already MFi specifications for Lightning ports), and it is also unclear if Apple will allow accessories beyond headphones to use the new Ultra Accessory Connector in the future. Update: As Ars Technica points out, the "Ultra Accessory Connector" is a new name for an existing port that's already used in digital cameras and other accessories. Apple told Ars Technica that the port has been added to the Made for iPhone program at the request of licensees, not because it is trying to push accessory makers to adopt a

Nintendo Considering Creating Physical Controllers for Smartphones and Tablets

As a part of its push into mobile gaming, Nintendo is considering creating physical controllers and other kinds of hardware for different types of mobile games and experiences, reports Polygon. Shinya Takahashi, Nintendo's general manager of entertainment planning and development, discussed the possibility at the company's annual shareholders meeting. "Physical controllers for smart device applications are available in the market and it is possible that we may also develop something new by ourselves," Takahashi said. "I believe Nintendo's way of thinking is to look at whether action games are really not impossible (without a physical controller for smart device applications) to create and how we can make it happen to create such a game."In the console and handheld gaming spaces, Nintendo has taken to crafting unique controllers that the company can take advantage of with its first-party games. Nintendo's unique controllers include a reverse trident design, motion control remotes and dual-screen handhelds. Apple added support for iOS game controllers with iOS 7, expanding its Made for iPhone program to include game controller accessories. More recently, the company dropped its requirement for tvOS games to support the Siri Remote, allowing game developers to create more complex games for the fourth-generation Apple TV. Nintendo also reiterated its commitment to create mobile app experiences that aren't games, like its social lifestyle game / app Miitomo. The company still has plans to release five smartphone games by March 2017, with Miitomo already released and P

Apple Supplier Cirrus Logic Releases Kit for Creating Lightning-Based Headphones Ahead of iPhone 7

Apple supplier Cirrus Logic has announced a new MFi Headset Development Kit, a reference platform that is designed to help "Made for iPhone/iPad/iPod" accessory makers quickly develop Lightning-based headphones. The development kit, available through Apple's MFi Program, includes a form factor reference design and other resources to help MFi licensees create Lightning-based headphones. A reference iOS app is also available.The MFi Headset Development Kit demonstrates the advantages of Lightning-connected headsets over conventional analog headsets. For example, digital connectivity with an integrated, high-performance DAC and headphone driver delivers high-fidelity audio to the headphone speakers. In addition, Lightning-connected headphones can interact with an iOS app to create a more custom audio experience, such as personalized EQ settings.Multiple credible sources have confirmed that Apple plans to remove the 3.5mm headphone plug on the iPhone 7 series in favor of an all-in-one Lightning connector for audio output, charging, and connectivity, but only a handful of Lightning-equipped headphones are available today. Apple introduced new MFi Program specifications in June 2014 that allow third-party manufacturers to create headphones that connect to iOS devices via a Lightning cable, but the rollout has been slow. Philips has unveiled Lightning-equipped Fidelio M2L and Fidelio NC1L headphones, pictured above, over the past two years. Apple may also release Lightning-equipped EarPods, but a more recent conflicting rumor said the iPhone 7 will ship with standard

Apple Drops Requirement for tvOS Games to Use Siri Remote as Controller

Apple has quietly dropped the requirement that tvOS developers make their games playable using the Siri Remote as a controller. The policy change was discovered in an update to an existing Apple TV support document covering the use of game controllers, and highlighted by MacRumors' sister site TouchArcade as a revision that will surely be welcomed by developers and gamers alike. The MFi-compatible Nimbus Steelseries Controller The updated document now recommends to developers: "When designing a tvOS game, you may require the use of an MFi game controller, but where possible you should also support the Siri Remote." The wording reflects a subtle but significant softening of the company's previous stance on Siri Remote controller support. At the launch of the fourth-generation Apple TV last year, Apple initially encouraged game developers to support the Siri Remote included with the device, but eventually hardened its stance by stipulating the support as a necessary requirement. That vexed some developers who complained that the Siri Remote simply doesn't function well as a controller for more complex games that involve finer grained control and subtler movements. The reversed stance therefore paves the way for developers to bring games to Apple TV that would have previously been considered unplayable on the platform. On the flip side of course, it's also likely to mean that some games which subsequently appear in the Apple TV App Store will be out of reach of users who do not own a compatible third-party MFi game controller. In related news, Apple

SteelSeries' Nimbus MFi Controller is the First Apple TV Gamepad

When Apple unveiled the new Apple TV and its ability to play games at its "Hey Siri" event earlier today, the company glossed over the fact that MFi gamepad controllers for iPhone and iPad would be compatible with the new device. However, after the event, SteelSeries announced the brand new Nimbus gamepad controller would be the first made specifically for the Apple TV. “SteelSeries is at the center of the biggest evolution in gaming. Nimbus represents a new standard in wireless gaming controllers and we’re pleased to be bringing this controller to this incredible platform," said Ehtisham Rabanni, SteelSeries CEO. “Our global gaming pedigree, together with our unyielding pursuit of simple, modern design is on full display with Nimbus.  We’re thrilled to deliver a truly premium product for the new Apple TV at a great price.”The Xbox One-like Nimbus wireless gamepad provides 40 hours of gameplay on a single charge and can be recharged via a Lightning cable, making it the first accessory to do so. SteelSeries also says it has pressure-sensitive buttons for "precise control." Additionally, the controller has a large "Menu" button in the center of the controller, mirroring the "Menu" button on the new Apple TV remote. The gamepad is featured prominently in the "Games and More" section of the new Apple TV's page on Apple's website, suggesting Apple and SteelSeries are positioning the controller as the flagship gamepad for the Apple TV. However, users can also play games with the new Apple TV remote, iPhones and iPod touches. The Nimbus will be available on Apple.com

Apple Expanding Made for Apple Watch Program to Include Stands With Integrated Chargers

While the release of the Apple Watch has seen a boom in third-party docks and stands for the device, those accessories have needed the stock charger that Apple supplies to charge the Apple Watch. However, Apple will soon allow manufacturers to make official third-party Apple Watch docks and stands with integrated chargers, according to 9to5Mac. Mophie's Watch Dock with non-integrated Apple Watch charger The change is coming for manufacturers in Apple's Made for Apple Watch program, which is similar to the Made for iPhone/iPod/iPad program, known more simply as the MFi program. This will allow manufacturers to obtain the charging pad at the end of the Apple Watch charging cable so that they can install them in their dock and stand accessories. Previously, users had to insert their own charging cables into third-party stands and docks, making those products a little complicated to set up. However, the charging components are currently only available in "sample quantities" and official plans for accessories with integrated chargers cannot be submitted for approval. It's unknown when the first Apple Watch docks and stands with integrated chargers will be available.