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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 @06:59PM (#44914061)
    Control freaks like controlling.
    • Re:In other news (Score:5, Insightful)

      by lagomorpha2 (1376475) on Saturday September 21, 2013 @07:03PM (#44914087)

      Apple: Not Even Once

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

        by Anonymous Coward on Saturday September 21, 2013 @09:54PM (#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:5, Insightful)

          by Anonymous Coward on Saturday September 21, 2013 @10:31PM (#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 @10:59PM (#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, Informative)

      by Stumbles (602007) on Saturday September 21, 2013 @07:22PM (#44914231)
      Its called; broken by design.
      • Re:In other news (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward on Saturday September 21, 2013 @08:00PM (#44914421)

        Its called; broken by design.

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

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

          by Stumbles (602007) on Saturday September 21, 2013 @08:18PM (#44914497)
          True. But Apple has shinier baubles so in their mind that's OK. Not to take anything away from Microsoft. They earned their evil tag.
        • Re:In other news (Score:5, Informative)

          by arbiter1 (1204146) on Saturday September 21, 2013 @08:22PM (#44914513)
          i was just thinkin if MS did this crap, how long would it be til DOJ federal investigation kicked off.
          • by no-body (127863)
            Would not do diddly squat as history proofed.
          • Re:In other news (Score:5, Insightful)

            by linebackn (131821) on Sunday September 22, 2013 @02:28AM (#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!

            • by havana9 (101033)

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

              Imagine if you you were in the early 80s, bought an Apple][ PC, and the only devices you could add were from Apple

              People bought Apple PCs and clones because there was so much choice and competition.

              FTFY The IBM PC design was a a choice made by IBM after seeing the huge success of the Apple ][ PC. At the time IBM was perfectly capable to build a custom microporcessor. They had the technology to build the IBM 5100 in 1975. A better and faster system in 1981 using an IBM CPU was feasible.

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

              by grahammm (9083) <graham@gmurray.org.uk> on Sunday September 22, 2013 @06:57AM (#44916819)

              IBM did try this with the PS/2 range which used the proprietary Micro-channel slots instead of ISA. This was a spectacular flop.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Pausanias (681077)

      There's a flip side. I brought in an iPhone 5, almost out of warranty, with a broken sleep button, to the Genius Bar on my way to work. The guy said "yep," 5 minutes later I walked away with a fully functioning replacement, no questions asked; got to my office, and it was like having a brand new phone.

      Then I was at an AT&T store. I saw a I guy with a Windows Phone; same thing---button issues, still under warranty. He got told to ship his phone somewhere. He needed his phone so he couldn't ship it off. S

  • by gweihir (88907) on Saturday September 21, 2013 @07:04PM (#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.

    • by makomk (752139) on Saturday September 21, 2013 @07:18PM (#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 gweihir (88907) on Saturday September 21, 2013 @07:30PM (#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.

      • by pla (258480)
        the only benefits of Apple's Lightning connector over Micro USB are being able to insert it upside down

        That actually doesn't count as a "benefit" - Quite the opposite, it means that incorrectly attaching a device most people consider passive has to potential to destroy your much more expensive phone/tablet if its orientation sensing ability fails (unless it has the exact same pinout on both sides, in which case, can we say "wasteful"?)

        OTOH, I have yet to successfully plug a USB cable in upside-down, no
  • This Just In ... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by ve3oat (884827) on Saturday September 21, 2013 @07:05PM (#44914099)
    The Ford Motor Company has reprogrammed all recent model Ford cars and light trucks to prevent them from being refueled from Texaco gas pumps. Film at eleven.
  • Dear Apple (Score:5, Informative)

    by vadim_t (324782) on Saturday September 21, 2013 @07:06PM (#44914109) Homepage

    Thanks for reminding me of another reason why I don't buy your products

  • Confused as usual. (Score:5, Informative)

    by ColdWetDog (752185) on Saturday September 21, 2013 @07:07PM (#44914117) Homepage

    TFA talks about Apple''s desire not to have it's customers electrocute themselves with dodgy, cheap chargers.

    TFA (and TFS) talk about the evils of unlicensed cables.

    I can get where Apple might come down on the dodgy chargers. At least some had clearances that allowed mains voltages to jump to the charging cable and thence to the unfortunate Apple Fritter. I don't see where the cable itself is involved. I'm thinking that if you put mains voltage on the Official Lightning Cable (TM) it's going to happily conduct the electricity to whatever it's connected to. Or do official cables have a ground fault interrupt circuit in them?

    • by dk20 (914954)
      If that were true, they would lower the price on their own chargers so people didnt feel a need to buy knockoffs. They make enough on the phones, they dont need to do this with the cables. Its funny as most companies learned and went with standard USB jacks some time ago.
  • by Freshly Exhumed (105597) on Saturday September 21, 2013 @07:13PM (#44914165) Homepage

    I'm not sure whom I dislike more, Apple for having the unmitigated audacity to try the Lightning Pin4/Pin8 con job, or Monster Cables, a company that undoubtedly wishes they had thought it up first. I sure hope some independent lab tests will be done soon that show no harm from third party controllers. It would be a real treat to watch consumer legal actions if we knew for certain that the special Apple cables have no technically unique purpose other than to cause consumers to buy them out of FUD.

  • by George_Ou (849225) on Saturday September 21, 2013 @07:14PM (#44914177)
    A person can still use an overpriced official cable from Apple but used a dangerous charger and the dangerous conductive surface of the iPhone. The cable isn't the cause of the safety issue but the cable is what's overpriced so iOS 7 is forcing you to buy the overpriced cables. The official Apple chargers aren't *that* overpriced.
  • by JoeyRox (2711699) on Saturday September 21, 2013 @07:16PM (#44914191)
    1) Electrically shocked when using a malfunctioning generic cable
    2) Financially shocked when you learn what Apple charges for a genuine cable
  • Minor Sympathy. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by jythie (914043) on Saturday September 21, 2013 @07:26PM (#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.
  • "Authorized cable" (Score:5, Insightful)

    by scottbomb (1290580) on Saturday September 21, 2013 @07:58PM (#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?

    • What's next? "Unauthorized" headphones?

      Apple Earpods don't work as hands-free cell phone headsets on my Galaxy S3 or Note 2, or my dad's LG something-or-other...so unfortunately I think that base is already covered.

  • by RedBear (207369) <redbear@@@redbearnet...com> on Saturday September 21, 2013 @08:52PM (#44914653) Homepage

    Damn it, Slashdot, I come here for anti-FUD, not FUD. This is just about the worst confused, untrue FUD article I've ever seen posted here.

    Apple are unequivocally NOT "blocking" the use of unauthorized third-party Lightning cables. The summary/title is absolutely 100% bullshit. The article says, and I quote: "Apple will probably shut the door on the usage of [unauthorized third-party Lightning cables] in a future update." (Emphasis mine.) Which is of course a completely baseless supposition by the article author in order to get outrage-clicks. The article also clearly includes a screenshot of the actual informative warning message that pops up, which simply says, "This cable or accessory is not certified and may not work reliably with this iPhone." With a single button that says "Dismiss".

    The article also throws third-party USB chargers into the mix which has absolutely nothing to do with the cables, just adding to the confusion. Apple has no way of blocking the use of any kind of USB charger, so it doesn't even belong in this discussion. After the death and coma incidents in China they instituted a trade-in program to garner public good will, where you can buy an Apple charger at half price if you bring in a third-party USB charger, but that is neither here nor there with regard to the Lightning cables.

    Look, I will be quite happy to come here and spew hatred and vitriol at Apple along with the rest of you anytime Apple ever actually does something as monumentally stupid as trying to block unauthorized Lightning cables from charging your iPhones. But until then is it really too much to ask that we only spew hatred and vitriol about things that are actually true? This is like spewing hatred at Microsoft because somebody posted a summary claiming Microsoft has kept Elvis imprisoned in their basement in Redmond for the last 40 years, while linking to an article that claims nothing of the sort. *insert WTF face here*

    Really, Slashdot? Is this audience really that easy to manipulate into getting outraged by total factless bullshit that isn't even supported by the only link in the summary? Are the editors really not capable of reading a couple of short paragraphs before posting obvious bullshit summaries? (Yeah, I know, must be new around here.)

    Slashdot, today, I am disappoint. >:-|

    • by whoever57 (658626) on Saturday September 21, 2013 @09:29PM (#44914821) Journal

      Apple are unequivocally NOT "blocking" the use of unauthorized third-party Lightning cables. The summary/title is absolutely 100% bullshit. The article says, and I quote: "Apple will probably shut the door on the usage of [unauthorized third-party Lightning cables] in a future update."

      It is you that has the reading/comprehension problem. From the first paragraph of the article:

      In a move possibly triggered by stories of deadly electrical shocks coming from Apple iPhone and Apple iPad units, the Cupertino based tech giant is blocking the use of unauthorized third party Lightning cables with iOS 7.

      See that: "is blocking"?. Not probably.
      Where you quote "probably", you have taken that sentence out of context. Let's put it back in:

      There is word going around that some unauthorized cables with cracked chips have been working with iOS 7. Apple will probably shut the door on the usage of the latter in a future update.

      "the latter" clearly refers to "some unauthorized cables with cracked chips".

      You take the warning "may not work reliably" and extrapolate this to mean: "will probably work". According to this page [iphonehacks.com] you cannot actually dismiss the dialog and get the cable to work. Users actually report that cables that used to work with beta releases of IOS7 do not work with the the production release of IOS7. Of course it is possible that with millions of cables in use, some just happened to fail between IOS7 beta and IOS production releases, nevertheless, your claims are not supported by any reports.

      So, get off the Apple fanboi train and learn to read.

    • You're adding emphasis wrong. And you completely misquoted the article!

      First of all, the first sentence of the article says unambiguously:

      [Apple] is blocking the use of unauthorized third party Lightning cables with iOS 7

      Your quote comes from a couple lines down:

      There is word going around that some unauthorized cables with cracked chips have been working with iOS 7. Apple will probably shut the door on the usage of the latter in a future update.

      OK, inappropriate use of the phrase "the latter" but in context it's pretty clear. TFA says that Apple is currently blocking "unauthorized" cables, but despite this some unauthorized cables with "cracked chips" may still be working. Of course, since iOS 7 is blocking unauthorized cables it stands to reason that Apply will try to disable unauthorized cables that use "cracked chips".

      Whether they will be able to do so is kinda irrelevant to the main thrust here which is that Apple used an operating system upgrade to lock out third party cable makers. Wont someone think of the poor airline stewardesses!

      IMHO, this news is just piling on considering the fact that your iPhone uses a custom adapter that is incompatible with all other phones, costs 5 times as much as it should, and will be forced into obsolescence after a few generations.

  • by m0s3m8n (1335861) on Saturday September 21, 2013 @08:54PM (#44914655)
    I love reading all the pissing and moaning comments. Last time I looked Apple was number one in customer satisfaction.
  • by rueger (210566) on Saturday September 21, 2013 @09:09PM (#44914731) Homepage
    From below TFA:

    it is a serious case if a charger for such a popular product is to cause death. But seriously, I have been using 3rd party cables for ALL my phones I have ever used, and there have been no problem. How come it happens to Apple?

    I have to ask the same thing - is there something seriously wrong and dangerous about Apple products??

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