Apple’s longstanding Made-for-iPhone/iPad/iPod (MFi) licensing program has just expanded in two big ways, with Apple bringing in support for USB Type-C ports and Lightning-to-3.5mm headphone audio out cables.
According to sources, as reported today by 9to5Mac, Apple has officially added these two new devices to the long list of supported accessory options for manufacturers recently. Now, companies that are part of the MFi program can now include devices that have USB-C ports for charging, which can now be officially certified for iOS devices and Macs.
As noted in the original report, keep in mind that this change for the MFi program doesn’t necessarily mean that Apple is making a decision to move away from the Lightning port or cable, but is instead simply offering up support for the USB-C option, which is quickly becoming standard outside of the Apple ecosystem.
“Apple’s documentation for the new specs lists battery packs and speakers as products that could benefit from using a USB-C receptacle. Products are also allowed to bundle USB-C cables with the MFi accessories, but manufacturers can opt to not include a cable or adapter and reduce their costs and or price in the process. Unlike with Lightning receptacles, Apple does not allow the port to be used for passthrough charging or sync of an iOS device.”
In addition to the USB-C addition, Apple’s MFi licensing program now also supports manufacturers that want to create a Lightning-to-3.5mm stereo analog audio output plug. This means that users will be able to go directly from a Lightning port to a 3.5mm port on a separate accessory. This might reduce the need for additional adapters.
There is no word on when these devices might launch on the market. Apple officially added these new specifications to the MFi program earlier this year.
It is always good to see Apple adding new specifications to the MFi licensing program, which will ultimately broaden the scope of certified devices and accessories.