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IOS Iphone Apple

Apple Starts Blocking Unauthorized Lightning Cables With iOS 7 663

Posted by timothy
from the there-there's-smoke dept.
beltsbear writes "Your formerly working clone Lightning cable could stop working with the latest iOS update. Previously the beta version allowed these cables to charge with a warning message but the final release actually stops many cables from working. Apples Lightning connector system is locked with authentication chips that can verify if a cable is authorized by Apple. Many users with clone cables are now without the ability to charge their iPhones."
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Apple Starts Blocking Unauthorized Lightning Cables With iOS 7

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  • In other news (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday September 21, 2013 @05:59PM (#44914061)
    Control freaks like controlling.
  • Re:In other news (Score:5, Insightful)

    by lagomorpha2 (1376475) on Saturday September 21, 2013 @06:03PM (#44914087)

    Apple: Not Even Once

  • by gweihir (88907) on Saturday September 21, 2013 @06:04PM (#44914095)

    The idea of a physical cable is that it is simple, robust and as long as the connectors fit, it should (given sane engineering) do what is expected. It is fascinating how they violate that simple and powerful idea in a complex way, just to make a few bucks more. It is also utterly repulsive to any principled engineer.

  • Re:Load of crock (Score:5, Insightful)

    by lagomorpha2 (1376475) on Saturday September 21, 2013 @06:04PM (#44914097)

    ...unless their cable broke (cables do wear our on occasion)

    In which case Apple is just making a money grab by forcing people to buy their overpriced cables.

  • Re:Load of crock (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Waffle Iron (339739) on Saturday September 21, 2013 @06:10PM (#44914141)

    Many Apple users now have to use the official legal lightning cables included with their IPhone

    Well, you don't say.

    Luckily, I happen to have a bunch of legal charging cables for my Android phone scattered around the house. They kind of accumulate from miscellaneous gadgets.

    Not having to keep track of a single magic cable is one less complication in my life.

  • Re:Load of crock (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Intrepid imaginaut (1970940) on Saturday September 21, 2013 @06:12PM (#44914157)

    This is one of those problem the free market is meant to solve by itself - people are meant to stop buying iphones in response. Me, I'm perfectly happy with my Samsung Galaxy.

  • Re:Load of crock (Score:5, Insightful)

    by epyT-R (613989) on Saturday September 21, 2013 @06:12PM (#44914163)

    So artificial lockouts are a-ok, and it's the customer's fault for not bowing to the proper altar? Quit apologizing for apple. They don't need your help. Since when do people need 'authorization' to use their products how they see fit? Where is the authorization for apple to modify/reduce functionality post-sale?

    Before you scream 'license agreement', the real issue is one of ethics. Well, if it's not ethical for the customer to use 'unauthorized' cables, then it's definitely unethical for apple to modify functionality post sale. This is a big problem that's getting worse as embedded computers spread to more and more devices.

  • by bill_mcgonigle (4333) * on Saturday September 21, 2013 @06:15PM (#44914181) Homepage Journal

    Well I wonder how apple users will relate to this walled garden business now.

    With post-hoc rationalization (and antipathy towards those who point it out).

  • Re:To be fair (Score:5, Insightful)

    by manicb (1633645) on Saturday September 21, 2013 @06:17PM (#44914201)

    Because the phone manufacturers who use standard usb connectors are having so much trouble...

  • by makomk (752139) on Saturday September 21, 2013 @06:18PM (#44914203) Journal

    Don't worry - even though the only benefits of Apple's Lightning connector over Micro USB are being able to insert it upside down and a hardware-enforced requirement to pay Apple a cut on any Lightning cables, there were plenty of fanbois in the media ready to portray it as some super-futureproof, all digital miracle. (In fact it's shown exactly the same futureproof, all-digital ability to support new interfaces without hardware changes as bog standard USB. Even the Lightning video out is a hack that compresses the video to the point it could be send over USB, and in fact probably is.)

  • by Dorianny (1847922) on Saturday September 21, 2013 @06:21PM (#44914225) Journal
    I wonder how much all the headlines last month about the Chinese woman being electrocuted by an iphone, while apparently using a cheap unauthorized wall charger, had to do with this decision. Perhaps they decided that getting a bruised eye from the press and the public for being called greedy is the better trade-off in the long run.
  • Minor Sympathy. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by jythie (914043) on Saturday September 21, 2013 @06:26PM (#44914255)
    To a degree, I can not blame them. Years ago I worked for a company that produced an embedded device. One of the largest categories of customer service calls came from people swapping out components with stuff they could by 'cheaper' at their local computer store, and it was OUR fault that it started behaving oddly. Then they would go on forums to complain about crappy our product was, leaving out that they were using some 3rd party cheapie instead of the hardware that we spent hundreds of man hours validating in various combinations.

    It was extremely frustrating to deal with, but when we tried to lock down some of the more critical (and high call volume) pieces like hard drives they would then run to forums to complain about our money grab by locking out cheap replacement drives and charging high prices for replacement ones.. even though that high price came from (a) manufacturer custom settings/firmware and (b) a supply guarantee from the manufacturer that we would continue to receive the exact validated model well past it's consumer equivalent would be end of lifed.

    So while as a consumer I agree it is annoying, as someone who has been on the other side I can sympathize with wanting to stop people from buying cheap unvalidated 3rd party crap.
  • by gweihir (88907) on Saturday September 21, 2013 @06:30PM (#44914275)

    Indeed. Their greed seems to have eradicate all instances of the KISS-principle in their people. If you do not follow KISS, you cannot be taken seriously as an engineer.

  • Re:In other news (Score:3, Insightful)

    by wonkey_monkey (2592601) on Saturday September 21, 2013 @06:41PM (#44914333) Homepage
    Do you really think they wouldn't still be trying to lock out third-party products if no-one had been electrocuted?
  • by theshowmecanuck (703852) on Saturday September 21, 2013 @06:43PM (#44914337) Journal
    Apple doesn't sell electricity. And electric companies don't sell consumer electronics. What's your fucking point? Oh, you didn't have one.
  • "Authorized cable" (Score:5, Insightful)

    by scottbomb (1290580) on Saturday September 21, 2013 @06:58PM (#44914411) Journal

    Even the term "authorized cable" is enough to make me cringe. It's a FUCKING CABLE. It's the very simplest of electronic devices (if you can even call it a "device"). It has connectors, connected by stranded wires. That's all there is to it. And yet even the humble CABLE can't escape Apple's walled garden. What's next? "Unauthorized" headphones?

  • Re:In other news (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday September 21, 2013 @07:00PM (#44914421)

    Its called; broken by design.

    And, all the fanbois think Microsoft is the definition of evil.

  • Re:Load of crock (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Dunbal (464142) * on Saturday September 21, 2013 @07:03PM (#44914439)
    Yeah, the charger that is so convenient you have to leave your phone on the floor to charge because the cable is so short you can't plug it into a wall socket and say, put the phone on a night table. I hear you can buy a (slightly) longer cable for $50 though. To which I say fuck you, Apple.
  • Re:Minor Sympathy. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by thue (121682) on Saturday September 21, 2013 @07:05PM (#44914459) Homepage

    On the other hand, every other smartphone seems to be working just fine with a $2 standard microUSB cable.

  • Re:In other news (Score:5, Insightful)

    by narcc (412956) on Saturday September 21, 2013 @07:12PM (#44914477) Journal

    Yes, yes I do.

    So does just about everyone else.

  • by m0s3m8n (1335861) on Saturday September 21, 2013 @07:54PM (#44914655)
    I love reading all the pissing and moaning comments. Last time I looked Apple was number one in customer satisfaction.
  • Re:Load of crock (Score:4, Insightful)

    by AK Marc (707885) on Saturday September 21, 2013 @08:07PM (#44914723)
    The only contract law required by a "free market" is laws preventing you from giving up your rights.

    The reason the Free Market never works is that it requires rational actors with enlightened self interests. The average consumer (and most companies) do not meet that definition, so we can't, by definition, ever have a Free Market.
  • Re:In other news (Score:5, Insightful)

    by PopeRatzo (965947) on Saturday September 21, 2013 @08:17PM (#44914763) Homepage Journal

    You have stories like these [huffingtonpost.com], where people are getting electrocuted by iphone chargers.

    This has nothing to do with the chargers. It has to do with the cables. It's not about safety, it's about control.

    If they could, they wouldn't let anybody else sell you a screen protector or a stylus without it having "Apple" on it.

    I used to love this company. Their stock helped me put my kid through college. But now they are way up there on the list of companies that suck ass. And their stock price is reflecting that, which is a good thing.

  • Re:Load of crock (Score:5, Insightful)

    by myowntrueself (607117) on Saturday September 21, 2013 @08:21PM (#44914787)

    This is one of those problem the free market is meant to solve by itself - people are meant to stop buying iphones in response. Me, I'm perfectly happy with my Samsung Galaxy.

    Is free market supposed to solve the problem of antibiotic development? Note; its a lot better for the pharmacy companies to develop new medications for chronic conditions, very very profitable. Antibiotics are very unprofitable for them. Because of this there haven't been major developments in antibiotics since the '80s.

    Since antibiotics have saved countless lives, our modern world is barely imaginable without them, failure to continue developing them is one of the biggest failures of the free market and potentially devastating for the development of the human race.

    free market fails.

  • Re:In other news (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Garridan (597129) on Saturday September 21, 2013 @08:37PM (#44914863)
    I saw three of these things blow last week at my local hackspace (we were using them for Raspberry Pi's, but whatever). Bottom line: if you're going to make a cubic-inch transformer that steps 120v down to 5v, and put out an amp, you need to use quality materials. This isn't altruism on Apple's part, nor is it greed. This is them covering their asses. They can say "hey, look, we did everything we can -- the user bypassed warnings, and hacked her OS just to use a faulty charger". And they get zero fault.
  • Re:In other news (Score:5, Insightful)

    by BronsCon (927697) <social@bronstrup.com> on Saturday September 21, 2013 @08:45PM (#44914899) Journal
    The authentication chip authenticates the cable, not the charger, to the phone. You can still just as easily use an aftermarket charger with an "authentic" Apple cable, so that's not why they do this.
  • Re:In other news (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday September 21, 2013 @08:54PM (#44914943)

    This, right here, is why I will never carry an Apple phone. Not only to they eschew standards, now they are deliberately working to eliminate interoperability with non-Apple products. Fuck them very much.

  • Re:In other news (Score:4, Insightful)

    by msobkow (48369) on Saturday September 21, 2013 @09:05PM (#44914999) Homepage Journal

    What's stupid is paying $900 for a phone and then bitching about $30 for a charger.

    It's like the idiot I saw in Mississauga, ON driving an umpteen thousand dollar car. He couldn't get up a shallow hill because he didn't buy snow tires. All that money, and not a dime on the important part of the purchase.

  • Re: In other news (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday September 21, 2013 @09:31PM (#44915131)

    Ill never own one either, but keep in mind those chargers are shit and break. Its not that hard off the beaten trail to assume they are trying to protect their brand by eliminating the levels of suck.

  • Re:In other news (Score:5, Insightful)

    by icebike (68054) on Saturday September 21, 2013 @09:59PM (#44915235)

    But you have to admit, putting smarts in an otherwise dumb as a hammer cable instead of the devices it connects
    is an ingenious money grab.

    Astoundingly, brazenly, mercenary, but, when you have logic-blinded fanbois as customers
    who will buy anything you hand them just to look cool, what kind of behavior do you expect?

    What's next, a box you have to register? A warning booklet that you need an unlock code for?

     

  • Re:In other news (Score:5, Insightful)

    by LordLimecat (1103839) on Saturday September 21, 2013 @10:02PM (#44915253)

    Better make sure you get those expensive Denon HDMI cables for your 72" TV; why spend all that money on a TV and then scrimp on a $5 digital cable when you can pamper your TV with a quality cable.

    Youre right that theres "being cheap", but the other side of the coin is "being foolish with money". Seeing as most small device manufacturers (routers, printers, switches, cable boxes, etc) manage to make wall-warts to go with their $20 gadgets without breaking the bank or electrocuting their customers, it stretches credulity to suppose that Apple cant make a charger for under $30 for a ~10W device.

    No, the reason theyre charging $30 for a charger for a $900 device is because they know you already spent $900 and a 200% profit margin on a charger probably isnt going to stop you from buying the device.

  • Re:Minor Sympathy. (Score:4, Insightful)

    by jythie (914043) on Saturday September 21, 2013 @10:48PM (#44915461)
    Mission critical enterprise system? Average consumers are MUCH more reactive to minor inconveniences then people running mission critical systems.
  • Re:In other news (Score:4, Insightful)

    by zippthorne (748122) on Saturday September 21, 2013 @11:13PM (#44915573) Journal

    a cable doesn't have to worry about any of that. It is the USB socket device that must worry about those things.

    The cable should just be bundled wires with a connector. It doesn't have to step down anything.

  • Re:In other news (Score:5, Insightful)

    by rockout (1039072) on Saturday September 21, 2013 @11:46PM (#44915713)
    That would not be nearly as profitable.
  • Re:In other news (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Belial6 (794905) on Saturday September 21, 2013 @11:49PM (#44915741)
    I always find if funny that almost every revision of Apple phones, there is always as story about how incompetent the Apple engineers are, and how this incompetence is a favor to the customer. Personally, I don't buy it. As you said, most small device manufacturers can make cheap wall warts that don't electrocute customers. To accept that somehow cheap chargers are only dangerous when used with iPhones requires a belief that Apple engineers are not competent.
  • Re:In other news (Score:4, Insightful)

    by thegarbz (1787294) on Sunday September 22, 2013 @12:42AM (#44915879)

    Apple doesn't need to cover their asses. It's already covered by the user who used a device capable of transmitting lethal voltages down a cable not designed for it. This is just a convenient way for apple to lock out third party devices. Apple already did everything they could be designing a device which doesn't have a single lethal voltage anywhere inside.

    And no you don't need to use quality materials. You need to use good engineering. The materials can still be cheap and be perfectly safe. The most expensive components don't help you if you get your isolation or control scheme right. Or my favourite ignoring any requirement for heat sinking.

  • Re:In other news (Score:5, Insightful)

    by linebackn (131821) on Sunday September 22, 2013 @01:28AM (#44916031)

    Better yet, imagine where the "PC" would be today if IBM had tried something like this.

    Imagine if you you were in the early 80s, bought an IBM PC, and the only devices you could add were from IBM?

    People bought IBM PCs and clones because there was so much choice and competition. Instead of having separate serial/fdd/parallel/whatever cards from IBM you could throw in some cheap Tiwanese card that did all of that in one. IBM wouldn't support it, and you might wind up blowing up your motherboard and printer, but that is a risk you could CHOOSE to take.

    The fact was, a lot of other vendors back then tried to create lock-in like that - upgrades only available from said vendor. And with really only one exception (Apple), where are they now? Long gone and forgotten to history, that is where!

  • Re: In other news (Score:4, Insightful)

    by futuresheep (531366) on Sunday September 22, 2013 @01:47AM (#44916091) Journal

    Apples cables are shit and break as well. My wife went through 3 of them in 6 months. She finally got fed up and bought 5 knock offs from some Hong Kong vendor for the price of 1 official cable. She's not the only one.

    http://store.apple.com/us/reviews/MD818ZM/A/lightning-to-usb-cable [apple.com]

  • Re: In other news (Score:2, Insightful)

    by TWX (665546) on Sunday September 22, 2013 @06:27AM (#44916903)
    Sad thing is, I've known book-smart people that made terrible decisions about anything unrelated to their areas of expertise, so his analogy isn't as poor as you'd think. I'm not going to say that Apple is done, but this behavior is consistent with other times that Jobs wasn't running the place. Given that short of seances or Ouija Boards he's unavailable to drive the product innovation that has been Apple's only true trick to remaining strong, I don't forsee a bright future
  • Re:In other news (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday September 22, 2013 @10:44AM (#44917937)

    The monoprice charger in the article you cited got the same rating as Apple's charger but it only costs $7. Thank you for confirming what we all suspected, that Apple is ripping you off.

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