Don't Buy Cheap iPhone 5 Cables, Because They Don't Exist Yet

Despite Apple's attempts to block you from getting your hands on cheap Lightning cables for your iPhone 5, plenty of sellers are hawking generics online. The only trouble is, they're selling a product they almost certainly don't really have.

Peter from Double Helix cables has been talking with the Chinese suppliers behind the listings you see across Amazon, eBay and countless other internet warehouses:

I'm talking to a few suppliers via chat on Alibaba right now, I also sent out a flood of inquiries to every manufacturer claiming to have Lightning cables. Long story short is that the Chinese really don't have these cables built yet. I don't doubt that each factory is working on "cloning" the chips as this conversation will show you. The 3-4 week ship time that Alibaba suppliers are claiming is realistically more like 2 months. All these ebayers and amazon sellers not only don't have product in hand, but their suppliers don't either. People should be very surprised if this cable can be cloned by Christmas. This is a serious undertaking and the Chinese know it...

He included this revealing chat with a Chinese factory rep, who basically throws up her hands and says nobody knows exactly what Apple's secret chip does, or how to get around it.

The takeaway here? Do not buy third party Lightning cables. Yet. When the real fakes flow, we'll let you know.


Comments

    correct me if im wrong but i'm pretty sure I read on another site that the chip isnt for authentication its there to figure out what its connected to and what pins to use and when to apply power to them as not to short circuit while the plug is beging pushed in.

      you don't need that to have a bi-directional plug you just need a plug with pins like this:

      Socket:

      V+ D1 D2 V-
      Spare Spare Spare Spare

      Plug:
      V+ D1 D2 V-
      V- D2 D1 V+

      That way when plugged in, the pins always line up, and the extra pins on the plug connect to the spare/blank tabs in the socket.

      No chip required, ever.

        Thats true. But apple's plug is more complicated than that. Its not just about the plug being reversible.
        From what I've read, it seems that they have replicated close to the entire functionality of the old 30 pin connector in the new 8 pins, by enabling the pins to have different functions depending on the application. The old connector had specific pins for each purpose that didn't change. to make that work with only 8 pins, you need a chip to determine what is plugged in and then assign the pins according to purpose.

        I think you're getting confused. There's 8 pins that go through to both sides. It's not 4 on one side and 4 on the opposite side. There is also some sort of system that works out what pins need to do what, as Luke said. Pretty sure this was even confirmed in the keynote itself but I have also heard about it since then. Whether it's this chip or not that accomplishes it I do not know.

          Hang on, aren't there 8 pins on each side, giving us a total of 16 pins?

          And why isn't this kind of switching being done in the device? The cable should just be a cable.

    And cue the Fandroids... GO!

      I'm huge fan of Android.

      I've also read two articles about this issue now, and think it's also a tad off... Everyone seems to say in comments that they've got third party cables that work.

    I took a chance and ordered three off eBay. They arrived Wednesday and they work like a dream. Only $5 each so yeah. Your article is wrong!!

      I don't think charging and USB connectivity is the problem, it will be the docks and more advanced features in cars that tap in to the control of the device. Sound wouldn't be an issue either.

        Eh. I only want them for charging really anyway.

        Although James if you can tell us if you can use them to sync iTunes they will then do everything I want, ever.

          Yeah I use them for syncing also :-)

        Which eBay seller did you order from? I want to get some myself.

    It will be an authentication chip. They did this when they changed the iPod to iPod Classic years ago which rendered the old video output cables useless. At the time the replacement video output cables containing the chip were $80 a pop and apple was the only supplier. Apple didn't tell anyone at the time and it wasn't until a tear down we found out the reason. Result- Apple got $160 out of me when I upgraded my iPod. Clever marketing but bad for the consumers. Another reason I'm choosy when it comes to products I intend to have for a while

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