MFi is short for Made for iPhone, iPad, and iPod and is Apple’s licensing program for developers and manufacturers. The MFi process spans hardware components, tools, documentation, technical support, and certification logos needed to create AirPlay audio accessories and electronic accessories that connect to iPod, iPhone, and iPad.
Last year we learned that Apple would be opening up its MFi program to USB-C/Lightning cables so third-parties can expand the options on the market (and offer cheaper alternatives). After seeing a preview of Belkin’s upcoming cables, Anker is out today with details about its options that will be arriving in March. Also, a lesser-known brand has just successfully met its funding goal on Kickstarter for a line of durable, braided nylon USB-C to Lightning cables and is promising to ship them by April.
Ikea is out with another Apple accessory, this time a braided nylon MFi Lightning cable at an affordable price. This latest release comes after news about the company launching its HomeKit smart blinds that are priced well below other manufacturers and will be arriving in the US soon.
According to documentation by Chinese battery website ChargerLAB, Apple is planning on shipping the necessary Lightning components required to assemble USB-C to Lightning cables to hardware manufactures in as soon as six weeks. This news is in contrast to a previous report which said these cables wouldn’t be launching until mid-2019.
Accessory makers in Apple’s Made-for-iPhone/iPad/iPod (MFi) licensing program now have the ability to create new types of products as the company adds specs for a Lightning to 3.5mm output cable and USB-C ports. The new specs were detailed in Apple’s recently updated materials for manufacturers in the MFi program, according to sources.
Apple’s Made-for-iPhone/iPad/iPod (MFi) licensing program is being updated with new branding that manufacturers will have to adopt over the coming months. 9to5Mac has confirmed the updated branding is now available for MFi partners, as first reported by Chargerlab.
Apple CEO Tim Cook has repeatedly stated his belief that technology should be accessible to everyone. For decades, Apple products have shipped with accessibility features, proof that these values are deeply rooted in the company. Apple even launched a dedicated accessibility website in 2016, showcasing the stories of severalindividuals and how their lives have benefited from accessible products.
One branch of accessibility that’s received an increasing amount of attention is hearing. While iOS has supported hearing aids in some capacity for years, deep integration with the iPhone first became possible when Apple expanded its Made for iPhone (MFi) licensing program to cover hearing devices. Advancements in Bluetooth Low Energy technology in concert with a proprietary audio transmission protocol have been essential in enabling a steady stream of iPhone-compatible hearing aids and cochlear implants to be released.
At the same time, Apple developed an audio product of its own – AirPods. The wireless headphones include advanced low energy technology themselves, powered by the Apple-designedW1 chip. Between the company’s work in both accessibility and audio, Apple finds itself in a unique position to dramatically transform the market of hearing augmentation.
I’ve always liked the idea of using a battery case, but with a phone like the iPhone 7 Plus, a lack of battery life isn’t a problem that I encounter regularly enough to warrant the extra bulk. I also like the idea of a wallet case to help keep up with my driver’s license and credit cards, but with a phone as large as the iPhone 7 Plus, I find such a setup to be a tad unwieldy.
The folks over at Nomad have come up with a solution that seems to address both of my issues, and depending on your needs, it might be a worthwhile solution for you as well.
The company’s Bi-fold and Slim Leather Wallet give you a place to keep all of your credit cards, identification, and other necessary items in a standalone form factor. In other words, it’s a traditional wallet setup that’s completely independent of your iPhone. But the kicker here is that the Nomad wallets feature an integrated portable battery with a hideaway Lightning cable for charging your iPhone on the fly when you happen to need it.
Gamevice is one of the more popular options for Apple-certified, Made-for-iPhone (and iPad) game controllers. Today the company is introducing a new version of the controller specifically designed for iPhone 7 and 7 Plus with a built-in headphone jack and a Lightning port for charging. It also has second-generation controllers launching today and later this month for iPads.
Cirrus Logic today announced a new development kit that makes it easy for companies to develop headphones using Apple’s Lightning connector. The announcement comes ahead of Apple’s next-generation iPhone 7 this fall which is expected to remove the traditional 3.5mm headphone jack for the first time.
It’s been a while since we’ve checked in on the state of iPhone and iPad controllers, but I have seen some improvements since we first covered some of the shortcomings with the early batch of game controllers that came out under Apple’s Made-for-iPhone licensing program. Today I’m taking a look at the new Tt eSports Contour MFi controller, a new $65 option that includes a classic Xbox-style design and a built-in stand to hold your iPhone and turn it into a true handheld game console.
Apple recently has filed a new document with the Federal Communications Commission in which it argues that Made for iPhone, or MFi, accessories should be acknowledged by the organization as alternatives for hearing aid compatibility compliance. Recently, the FCC has proposed that all phones and consumer wireless devices must be compatible with hearing aids.
The iRig Keys Mini is an electronic MIDI music keyboard that connects to iPhone and iPad with a Lightning cable. Although it isn’t regularly advertised, iPhones and iPads have had great support for MIDI input instruments and other devices for a long time. Since iOS 4 in fact, Apple gave the developers the ability to interact with MIDI peripherals. Simultaneously, the App Store has bloomed a wide ecosystem of sophisticated music creation and audio production apps. This makes for a perfect storm of capability and functionality: not only are MIDI accessories possible, they can really be used to make music on iPhone and iPad.
With thousands of generic battery packs now on the market, it takes something special to make a new option stand out, and Nomad’s new Wallet for iPhone certainly succeeds. Shaped like a standard bifold wallet, the Wallet hides a 2,400mAh battery pack in its spine, as well as a 3″ Made for iPhone-certified Lightning cable.
Nomad notes that the goal was to produce a wallet that wasn’t any thicker than what “guys are already sitting on.” Made from Saffiano leather and measuring 4.7″ by 3.5″ by 0.75″ when closed, Wallet can hold six cards and a bunch of cash, in addition to providing at least a full recharge for pre-iPhone 6 models of the iPhone, and around 100% for the just-released iPhone 6s. Wallet for iPhone is available for preorder now for $79, and shipping on November 16; the price will go up to $99 for all orders placed after November 15. A gallery of images is below…
For the moment, the new Apple TV’s accessory compatibility can fairly be described as “confusing.” It’s confirmed that Bluetooth speakers and headphones — previously unsupported by older Apple TVs — work with the new model. On the other hand, Bluetooth keyboards, which previously worked with Apple TVs, do not. And Bluetooth game controllers… well, if they were Made For iPhone (or iPad), they work with the new Apple TV. But contrary to some erroneous early reports, if they were made for other devices (say, the PlayStation 4), they don’t.
So even though SteelSeries’ Nimbus ($50) has been pitched as the first “gamepad controller for Apple TV,” it’s kinda not. The company’s earlier Stratus (now only $40 refurbished) works with the Apple TV, as do Mad Catz’ nicer C.T.R.L.i and Micro C.T.R.L.i controllers. However, Nimbus is launching with newer technology at a not-insane price point. It has a Lightning connector built in for recharging an integrated 40-hour battery, a Bluetooth 4.1 wireless chip, and a design that was apparently — despite obvious similarities to many other controllers — co-developed by Apple itself. It also is the first accessory to ship with Apple’s new “Made for Apple TV” logo on the box. Here are some early thoughts on the Nimbus based on my hands-on experiences…
We’ve been using the Apple-Certified OLALA MFi iPhone/iPad charger for almost a month. It is an iPhone-sized battery with a built-in Apple Certified Lightning cable which can be extracted from the battery. The plug is at a 90-degree angle which allows for easy charging in a bag or pocket.
The specs to know on this one are:
5V 2.4A (12W) output meaning the charge is about as fast as can be taken by an iPhone or iPad
6000mAh Capacity meaning it has enough battery to last up to 2 full iPhone charges (or 1 iPad Mini)
It also has a second USB port to charge a second phone or any other device that charges via USB
It charges via Micro-USB cable- included.
4 LEDs indicate power level
Dimensions: 127.5×63.5x14mm Weight: 146g
Comes with 30-day money back guarantee, and 1 full year warranty
Without attempting to be anti-climactic, OLALA does what it says. It always has an iPhone’s worth of charge ready for you when you need it. That Mifi Lightning cable being built in sure does come in handy and the L-shaped retractable tip makes charging super-simple.
After announcing an official program for accessory makers interested in making Apple Watch bands back in May, Apple has now delivered on its promise of providing Apple-made watch lugs that third-party manufacturers can use to make straps. That’s the first sign that official third-party watch bands will soon be hitting the market through Apple’s Made for iPhone program (MFi). Companies enrolled in the MFi program can now order the parts (pictured above) through Apple’s supplier (via MR).