Good news: Apple’s iPhone 15 series finally bid farewell to the Lightning interface and adopted the USB-C interface to keep up with the times. I believe you are also concerned about something: Will the new C port have MFi certification restrictions like the L port? Is it compatible with Android phones?
In order to find out, we did some research and let’s talk about the results first:The C ports of all iPhone 15 series are standard USB-C ports and support the public PD charging protocol. Related accessories do not require MFi certification.
Because everyone has not yet gotten a real machine for testing, and the display machine at the press conference does not allow the connection of external C-mount devices, so we can only rely on Apple’s official descriptions and documents, the compatibility of existing C-mount products, and A little bit of business logic to comprehensively demonstrate, the results are for reference only, and the process is for entertainment only.
Official website copywriting is solid
In the press conference and official website copy, Apple mentioned that one cable can charge iPhone 15, Mac or iPad, indicating that their interfaces are compatible at least for charging.
Macs have been using the C port for many years, especially the MacBook, which is one of the first laptops on the market to adopt a full C port. It supports Thunderbolt 3 to Thunderbolt 4, and is also backward compatible with almost all USB protocols and complies with the Thunderbolt/USB/PD standard. Third-party cables can be used and do not need to be certified by Apple.
The same goes for the iPad. Since it uses the C port, it no longer needs MFi-certified cables. Any cable that supports the PD protocol can charge it. It can also be connected to external hard drives, audio decoders and other peripherals through the C port. No limit.
With the release of the new iPhone, Apple’s official website has also launched a new charging cable, which adopts a double C-port design. The cable body is made of woven material and supports up to 60W PD charging. It supports all its C-port products. The length of 1 meter is 145 yuan. The price of the original C to L line is the same.
In fact, this line should also be the original line in the iPhone 15 box. It is expected that C-mount products such as iPad and AirPods will use this line in the future.
Money-attracting beast MFi
The C port of Mac and iPad has been used without any problems for so many years. Why do people think that when the iPhone is replaced with C port, it must have limitations?
The general view is that the switch to C-port is forced by the EU, not voluntary, and Apple relies on Lightning certification to attract a lot of money, so Apple will not give up easily.According to media estimates, Apple earns $5 billion a year from selling Lightning cables and MFi certificates.
The Lightning interface is self-developed by Apple, has its own unique pin definitions and cable standards, and requires a chip for certification. After all, it is its own product. Apple has no obligation to disclose the technical details of the Lightning interface. If third-party accessories manufacturers want to produce related accessories, they must leave the “buying money”, that is, “MFi” certification.
MFi is the abbreviation of “Made for iPhone”, “Made for iPad” and “Made for iPod”. Other accessories were later added.
As we all know, Apple has a strict set of MFi certification and authorization standards for third-party accessory manufacturers, and manufacturers must be authorized to produce accessories for Apple devices. To obtain this certification mark, manufacturers not only have to spend a lot of money, but also a lot of manpower and material resources.
Some media once reported that “a data cable manufacturer that wants to apply for MFi certification must have a self-built factory. The factory building should not be less than 2,000 square meters, with no less than 50 workers, and must have professional equipment to make Apple cables and an ERP system.” Statistics of product incoming and outgoing.
During the application process, the product design needs to be revised repeatedly until all parameters meet Apple’s standards, which may take three to five months. “
This is not over yet. Accessory manufacturers not only have to pay Apple a licensing fee of US$99 per year, but manufacturing factories that apply for MFi also need to pay US$2,060 for each audit.
For third-party accessories that pass the review, Apple will provide a chip worth $2-3, which can be used to detect whether the accessory is authorized by Apple. Not only that, Apple also takes a 20% to 25% share from every MFi accessory sold by third-party accessory manufacturers.
No matter how complicated the process is and how high the cost is, many manufacturers are still struggling to obtain this MFi certification qualification, because a manufacturer that has passed MFi certification once revealed that the profits of its MFi products are quite objective.
An industry insider who makes counterfeit products estimates that “the profit margin of authentic products should be around 300%.” As consumers, we only know that the Apple version sells for 79 yuan and the Android version sells for 9.9 yuan.
Changing the C port will not affect MFi
As mentioned earlier, MFi actually does not only include Lightning accessories. From the official website, we can see that MFi involves a wide range of types.
For example, audio products that support AirPlay, CarPlay, HomeKit, Apple Watch fast charging chargers, MagSafe charging accessories, etc. Apple can still make money from the certification of these products, and it does not mention that USB-C accessories require MFi certification.
No one can withstand EU fines
Although the revenue from Lightning accessories is missing, considering the EU’s sky-high fines, this loss is acceptable.
In 2021, Apple was fined 10% of its global annual revenue by the European Union due to its App Store monopoly. The amount that year was approximately US$27.4 billion. If based on the revenue in 2022, it will be US$39.4 billion.
On October 4, 2022, the European Union officially passed regulations that will force all future smartphones sold in the EU to be equipped with a universal USB-C interface for wired charging by the fall of 2024.
The rule will also apply to electronic devices such as tablets, digital cameras, headphones, handheld video game consoles and e-readers, with laptops also having to comply in the future.
And the regulations also mention that devices that support fast charging will have the same charging speed, allowing users to charge their devices at the same speed with any compatible charger. It is once again confirmed that the C port of iPhone 15 must be universal and Apple cannot impose any restrictions.
The mess at Port C
Unlike the Lightning interface, the USB-C interface is a universal standard formulated by the USB-IF (USB Standardization Organization). It has specifications for pin definitions and interface sizes. Currently, this interface can provide up to 240W power supply and 40Gbps transmission speed.
It is worth mentioning that when the 1.0 standard was formulated, 18 engineers in the working group came from Apple. In the latest 2.2 standard, the number of engineers from Apple has increased to 39.
It seems that the USB-C interface is really “far ahead”, but its versatility and inclusiveness also bring about an extremely confusing situation. You don’t have to pay USB-IF to use C port, so USB-IF has no right or obligation to force manufacturers to follow the specifications.
Both are C ports. The iPhone 15 only supports USB 2.0 transmission speed, while the iPhone 15 Pro supports USB 3 at 10Gbps. You can also check the parameters of the interface on the device to know what the speed is, but what about the data line? Unfortunately, most C-port data cables are not clearly marked on the cable.
In response to the current confusion, USB-IF has also tried to rescue it, launching a variety of logos indicating speed and charging power, and recommending accessory manufacturers to adopt them. It’s just a suggestion. Whether the manufacturers will listen or not is another matter. At present, it seems that the rescue has failed.
MFi is also kind
Why are so many people on the Internet denouncing MFi? A large part of them should be consumers who think they are expensive, and the other part should be copycat factories who want to make money from accessories. However, the prices of MFi accessories are now much lower than before, especially Lightning cables.
From the initial price of more than 100 yuan to 70 or 80 yuan, you can now buy an MFi-certified Lightning cable for only more than 30 yuan, while Xiaomi’s original fast charging data cable costs 35 yuan. Such a comparison is actually not worth it. It’s expensive.
Choosing a cable with MFi certification means that this cable can be perfectly compatible with your device. The data transmission speed and charging speed are the same as the original cable. It will not be unable to be plugged in because of wearing a mobile phone case, nor will it be unable to be plugged in. Stable, because these are all included in the MFi certification.
Although USB C cables do not require certification, the parameters are complicated, the connectors are of different lengths and sizes, and the merchants are playing tricks, making the selection time-consuming and laborious.
write at the end
To put it simply, switching to C-mount for all iPhone 15 series is in line with its business logic. Compared with the sky-high fines that may result from not complying with EU regulations, the revenue from Lightning accessories is not worth mentioning. MFi certification can still be obtained from other accessories. Get revenue.
Secondly, the iPhone’s switch to the C port is also in line with Apple’s product logic. For family users, Mac, iPad, and iPhone can all share wires, and can also charge AirPods, Apple Watch and other accessories, which is conducive to creating a complete and unified user experience. .
Finally, there is the need for functionality. Pro series iPhones are increasingly used in film and television productions, and there is an urgent need for an interface that can transmit data at high speeds. USB C can carry high speeds and has wide compatibility.
As for whether it can be used with Android phones, Samsung, Google, Asus, etc. can support the PD protocol and come with original CC cables.
If you want to buy third-party wires, just choose CC wires that support the PD protocol. Generally, there will be a description on the product details page. You can buy the basic models of big brands for more than ten yuan, and you can already buy them with the original ones for thirty-four yuan. The wire quality is comparable to braided wire.
If you need the transmission speed of USB 3, just choose a cable that supports 10Gbps. You can buy a good quality one for less than 50 yuan.