Friday, 19 August 2016

Why Third Party Cables Let You Down?

Have you bought a third party cable for apple products that does not work? And dismayed to find out that the item did not last very long or is not fit for what it is intended to do?
Lighning Connector
by Apple

 I've been there, and this made me feel cheated and betrayed, not to mention the monetary loss instead of the expected savings I was aiming for. But because I thought all cables were equal, which is true at some point before IOS 7 update and newer apple phones taken over the shelves, I was enticed more to bet on the possible savings, only to find out that third party products are useless in the sense that they do not charge the device properly or could not handle data  or the worst, can damage the device itself.

Why apple makes their accessories a propriety?

Making their own “product only compatible”  is a clever method of maintaining the propriety of the essentials and other add ons and is also a form of protecting the company ‘s liability from the possible damage of other inferior products when used with their brand. Propriety tends to make a brand's prestige intact and unblemished, helping to protect it’s perceptive value among others.

Cheap third party cables show an error message in the screen about reliability or the product could not recognise the product, because it is not apple certified. If you have an apple product before the IOS 7 update, you might be wondering that this problem is not as common as they are now. This is not only about the operating system update but another clever method of apple engineers to incorporate an identifier chip within the cables. How did they do it?

The additional "chip" within.

In an article by gizmodo ,  Peter from Double Helix Cables found a little chip on an official Lighting cables. It is somewhat kind of an authentication chip used by other sophisticated accessories and first time that shown up in a basic accessory. And without this, the updated software in the iPhone or other apple products show the error message on the screen and depending on the conditions they programmed when it is not read or failed authentication, the device may fail to charge, may not transfer data or both. It may cause the device to become very hot and this can damage the device.

Controller Chip Image from Gizmodo

So, if you have these symptoms in using an unbranded cable, the best way to move forward is to invest in an authentic cable that gves you peace of mind that the product works, and guarantees that if something happens with the device whilst using the accessory, you can claim compensation to repair or replace the gadget.

And if you are out of budget or do not have an apple retailer around, there are also brands that has given the right and permission to make their products compatible to apple's. They pay for this so you may find it as the same price as the original.

Here are some pointers to look for.

  • Packaging

Apple encourages companies to join MFi programs to have access to the technology that they use for their accessories. In return they license them to use the MFi logo or Made For i(product) for their products. It could just be compatible for iPhone, iPod, iPad, or it could be compatible for all. You can distinguish the compatibility from the MFi logo in it's box.

MFi Logo

  • Serial Number

The use of serial number in apple products keeps tract of the batch of products for easier recall when things get problematic.This is imprinted in a specific location in an original cable which is according to apple support, has to be 12-digit after the "Designed....Assembled in....." writing thast starts about 7 inches from the USB connector.

  •   Apperance

Apple products are known for their good aesthetic looks, from the device down to the essentials. Judging from the looks alone you can easily distinguish the authentic from the wannabees.  To start with, look at the contacts inside the USB part, authentic product is gold plated, whilst silver plated are dodgy. Below is a collection of photo distinguishing the authentic and imitation product just by looking at the different parts of the cable.

  1.  Single, and smooth and rounded VS more than one piece, rough and squared contacts
  2. size: 7.7 mm X 12 mm VS varying width, length and thickness
  3.  Grey/metallic faceplate insert  VS white or black
  4.  Interlocks are trapezoidal  VS  right angle
  5. Plate is flat, smooth and consistent  VS grainy and rough
  6.  Insulator is uniform and flat VS nothces and indents

MFi Certified Brands.

Apple tend to make their cables boring in design in the sense that there is not much variety offered to different markets like suitablefor the young or old, from the adventurous and the homebodies. The MFi certification enabled accessory companies to address this issue by bringing out products that are as good as the authentic one but with such more flexibility in the sense of broader choice. Anker is one of the companies with a good product, design and variety.

For example you can have the standard length like the one below,

3ft Anker MFi Certified
Click for more colours

or if you have an application for a longer cable. You can also choose which color to suite you.
10ft Anker MFi Certified
see more sizes here


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