We know we can’t go on the cheap and get third-party lightning cables for our shiny new iPhone 5 because of an authentication device present in the official Apple product, so let’s take a look at that little piece of technology, shall we?
Chipworks has torn right into a Lightning-to-USB cable, and found a total of four chips lurking within the cable: two of them simple, just a couple of transistors apiece, and two more complex. But one of them, made by Texas Instruments, has really caught its eye.
The chip that intrigues Chipworks is the TI BQ2025. Chipworks says it looks to be a communication chip employing some “simple security features”.
Chipworks observes that the security approach Apple is using doesn’t come anywhere near the heavy lock down approach some companies use, such as those in today’s printer cartridges, but it does seem to show that Apple wanted to keep the costs to a minimum, perhaps figuring that their core customer base prefers to use genuine Apple accessories anyway, so they put security in place that would be “just enough.”
Chipworks seems to think that the security measures they used will only serve to slow down third-party manufacturers, not stop them form making replacements all together. So, if you’re a little short on money for lightning cables, you might wait awhile. “El Cheapo Inc.” is probably working on something even as we speak.