back to article Chinese smartphone cable-maker chucks sueball at Apple

One of the top third-party smartphone accessory manufacturers in China* is suing Apple for all of one Chinese yuan (about 12 pence; 15 US cents; 13 euro cents). Shenzen-headquartered Pisen filed a competition suit against Cupertino in the Beijing Intellectual Property Court (which has jurisdiction over such cases) this week, …

  1. Steve Davies 3 Silver badge

    Precidents, precidents and precidents

    just one Yuan here and then bang, a suit for a few billion Yuan will follow.

    It don't matter if they can't copy the cables correctly Apple must pay (as usual)

    I am sure that eventually, the cost of doing business in China will outweigh the advantages. Then you will get sued for not selling your kit in China. You just can't win now can you...

  2. WolfFan Silver badge

    So they don't want to register, eh?

    No problem. I'll just insist that all cables I buy come only from vendors who have registered. If necessary I'll buy only cables available at the actual physical Apple Store. There are three within 30 miles of me so this would not be a problem.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: So they don't want to register, eh?

      You also know they cost an arm and a leg, ESPECIALLY at Apple Stores? Compared to say a few quid for a Micro USB cable?

      1. WolfFan Silver badge

        Re: So they don't want to register, eh?

        Oh, really? Depending on where I get them, official Apple cables cost between US$10 and US$15 here. Cheap cables cost between US$3 and US$10. And the cables I buy don't:

        fray into uselessness

        die unexpectedly

        die unexpectedly and take the device with them

        stop working unexpectedly

        stop being able to transfer data, though working to charge a device

        I have seen cheap USB-to-old-30-pin and USB-to-Lightning cables develop such faults, especially the last one, often within a few months of purchase. (My personal record for a cable showing a fault is 57 days from first use. Seriously, it didn't last even two months. Yes, it only cost $3, but when I can get a Real Apple Cable for $10 and it lasts two years and still works, no end in sight...) Official Apple cables tend to last much longer. It is more economic, around here at least, to buy an official Apple cable which will last years than to buy multiple cheap cables which last months each. I currently have the original, shipped in the box, cables for the iDevices I've most recently purchased, plus the original, shipped in the box, for iDevices I no longer own, plus a few cables I've bought separate. I have the original Apple chargers plugged into wall sockets and original Apple cables plugged into them, for charge iDevices at home, plus car chargers with original Apple cables and 3rd-party chargers with original Apple cables for use in the car or the office. I used to have 3rd-party cables, before I did the math and saw how much I was spending on them. YMMV.

        1. werdsmith Silver badge

          Re: So they don't want to register, eh?

          And if you want an iPhone 7 cable that will enable you to charge the phone at the same time as using wired headphones, then....... there have been a few Chinese examples but any purchaser loses out because Apple finds away to render them useless after an OS "security" update.

          So the solution of using BT headphones is unsatisfactory because you really shouldn't have to use batteries to power them.

  3. Hans Neeson-Bumpsadese Silver badge

    Beijing Intellectual Property Court

    Given China's "if it exists, then someone in China will produce a low-quality knock-off version of it" attitude, how can the Beijing Intellectual Property Court even be a thing?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Beijing Intellectual Property Court

      how can the Beijing Intellectual Property Court even be a thing?

      I think you're being a little unfair there. All developing and fast growing economies (since forever) have played fast and loose with other countries' IP (including the land formerly known as the land of the free). Over time these emergent economies start to amass their own stash of home grown IP, and progressively they move towards a system of respect for other people's IP.

      In China there isn't a level playing field for IP, and won't be for years to come - on the other hand things are changing slowly, and we might want to be grateful for that.

      1. Slaytanic

        Re: Beijing Intellectual Property Court

        Fast and loose is one thing, but having a branch of your military setup for stealing IP is another.

        Yes, China has this...

        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eNobp7OnlJw&t=1s

        1. Alan Brown Silver badge

          Re: Beijing Intellectual Property Court

          "Yes, China has this..."

          So does the USA

          So does Russia

          So does the UK

          So does France

          etc.

          There are various documented examples of state sponsored/encourage industrial espionage floating around if you care to look them up. There's not much point about pissing and moaning about China when _everyone_ is doing it.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Beijing Intellectual Property Court

        True story....

        A colleague of mine tells a story from his previous employment with a UK-based company, who were a manufacturer of things. He was involved in a project which included them setting up a manufacturing facility in China. They'd supplied their Chinese counterparts with plans for all the machinery, factory facilities they needed, and this guy went over to China to review progress.

        On his tour of the nearly complete facility, he noticed there was another factory, even bigger than his, being built next door. He casually enquired what that was. The reply was along the lines of "when we saw the plans for your product, we thought it looked really saleable, so we've built a factory of our own to make the same thing to sell ourselves." When challenged.

        They simply couldn't see anything wrong with simply duplicating somebody else's IP.

        1. Captain Obvious

          Re: Beijing Intellectual Property Court

          My cousin experienced the same thing. They made unique collector dolls, and found out copies were being sold from China as China did the same thing to him.

          He closed his company as the end result :(

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Beijing Intellectual Property Court

        Although I suspect you are correct, that doesn't excuse an of it. China and its industries want worldwide acceptance so they'd best start pulling their weight. The Chinese Gov. needs to control this far more closely or their tech will become pariah. Aside from that every nation should require more manufacturing take place in their own country, maybe not for every industry, but for many and in many nations people want those jobs to come back.

        1. Charles 9 Silver badge

          Re: Beijing Intellectual Property Court

          But the Chinese can undercut practically everyone. And cheap sells. And the Chinese know it.

          1. isogen74

            Re: Beijing Intellectual Property Court

            They also own huge amounts of natural resources (either in mainland China - like rare earths - or by buying up mining companies and mining rights around the world - like huge chunks of Africa, or by funding large project - like new UK nuclear power plans), and also own huge amounts of Western government sovereign debt, so it's unlikely any of the western governments are going to do much to directly challenge China here ... it will all be softly softly talky talky.

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: Beijing Intellectual Property Court

              @ isogen74

              It turns out that rare-earths aren't that rare. As to sovereign debt, I think it won't be many generations before debts are rebooted. The system cannot continue as is and I hope our children aren't as spineless as most of are.

              1. Alan Brown Silver badge

                Re: Beijing Intellectual Property Court

                "It turns out that rare-earths aren't that rare."

                Indeed. But the problem with them is that they invariably come mixed up with large amounts of a very slightly radioactive element named Thorium and it's disposal of that which drives costs up so far that the rare earths are uneconomic to extract.

                There are hundreds of thousands of tons of thorium stockpiled around the world because it's impossible to sell and being ever so slightly radioactive means it gets treated as toxic waste.

                HOWEVER...... If LFTRs become viable, the rare earth industry will become a thorium mining industry with rare earths being a profitable sideline business.

          2. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Beijing Intellectual Property Court

            @ Charles 9

            The whole Global economy idea is failing the working class of developed nations. That is largely because of the greed of Mega-Corps that benefit from it. The system, as it was set up and continues to operate, has allowed companies in the West to stagnate or even decrease wages over the last nearly 40 years. There should always have been taxes in place to raise the cost of products made in any country that pays slaves wages to works, offers little or no health benefits etc etc. There were several reasons to offshore those jobs such as crushing Unions, lowering the cost of those products (not so much the price) to increase profit margins and increasing Corporations ability to headquarter in tax havens are some of the perks.

            A large part of the problem with uptake of these products will be that fewer can afford to buy them now due to stagnant wages. Of course, wages wouldn't have to rise if the cost of so many products didn't rise as well, but the price of stuff keeps going up (largely computing devices are the exception).

            1. Keith Smith 1

              Re: Beijing Intellectual Property Court

              <rant>

              Liberal anti-corporate clap-trap mostly. Your cigar smoking corporate execs who sit around and figure out how to oppress the workers have a small problem if there is competition. And it may take a bit of time but it will show up.

              I listened to a roofer here complaining that he was getting $900 a square to lay down a roof, but now the mexicans where coming in and doing it for 200, and he couldn't make any money and their quality stunk. My thinking is if someone can even lay a roof for 200 a square then you were drastically overcharging at 900. My dentist charged me 750 for a crown, and the endodontist another 1300 for a root canal. Next go around I go to MX and pay 200 for the crown and 250 for the root canal. . . With a 5 year guarantee on the crown! I hear so much BS on why it's 4 times more in the US, but I can say this. The US offices had marble counters, tile floors brass railings, and the Endodontist was only in 4 days a week, 1 paitent in the AM, one in the PM. I spent 2 hours with my mouth wedged open in the US getting a root canal. as the PM patient. In MX it was 30 - 45 minutes for the root canal (much better even if less gentle). Dental staff was in there 6 days a week, a bit assembly line-ish, but it took 2 days back to back start to finish. I'll tell you why things are more expensive here. The people doing the work feel entitiled and are lazy more often than not. I would rather pay $350 a square for a better quality roof job, but if your not willing to earn it, too bad for you.

              Products are no different. Much of the Apple IP is dubious at best. Patenting square things is somewhat obtuse, but most companies don't jump all over new tech until it's proven to make money. At that time what we need is a way to protect true IP, and as the inventor of that IP you should have a pretty good head start on getting it out the door.

              As far as not being able to sell a cable that works with an iPhone, tough luck. Some idiot bought a product that only works with the manufacturer's cable, it's on him to pay the confiscatory prices, or buy a different product. Quit whining and make something else.

              </rant>

            2. Alan Brown Silver badge

              Re: Beijing Intellectual Property Court

              "The system, as it was set up and continues to operate, has allowed companies in the West to stagnate or even decrease wages over the last nearly 40 years"

              On the other hand 4-5 billion people have been lifted out of grinding poverty over that period - and as the manufacturers jump around trying to find the next cheapest place to make things like clothing because workers in XYZ country are demanding too much pay, they usually leave behind economies which have been healthily kickstarted and able to keep chugging along very nicely thank you. (along with that comes better health, living conditions, education, lifespan and fewer children. More than half the "developing" countries of 40 years ago are now "developed" or close to it and becoming major markets for foreign-produced stuff instead of principally being exporters of cheap goods or having no economy to speak of. China is now buying more whisky from Scotland than every other country combined, as one example)

              What _has_ been proven over the last 60 years is that protectionism policies invariably benefit a few rich people whilst economically damaging the populations and the very manufacturers they're supposedly protecting - which is why american cars are hard to sell outside north america - the effective protectionism created by things like the Chicken Tax(*), or mandating that air/fuel ratios in gasoline engines must always be stochiometric instead of simply regulating tailpipe emissions and letting makers meet them however they choose(**) allowed US domestic manufacturers to be lazy and uncompetitive, producing cars that have awful fuel economy and poor reliability compared to what the rest of the world is now used to. They've improved a little but the US domestic market is still so heavily protected that they don't have to compete effectively to make sales targets.

              (*) Which prevents foreign-made vans being imported without paying punitive taxes, originally targetted the VW T2 microbus in 1964 as retaliation for EU anti-dumping measures and is now used to keep Japan at bay.

              (**) Japanese makers solved the NOX problem from running extremely lean gasoline ratios by using air pumps and complex catalysts, which gave them far better milage than american vehicles. American makers lobbied congress to mandate the air-fuel ratios, which meant they didn't have to spend more on production componentry or R&D and wiped out the fuel efficiency advantage of the foreign competition. The American public paid trillions at the fuel pumps as a result.

              It's not a zero sum game by the way. "western" incomes have stagnated - primarily for manual and unskilled workers - but the inflation-adjusted global average has increased dramatically, as have the number of people in fulltime equivalent employment. What you're seeing in the UK in particular is what happens when you were in the top 5-10% of global income earners even just pushing a broom in a widget factory and someone can be employed to push a broom for less.

              The solution is not to "yearn for days of old empire" or protectionism, or pretend that you can live in the same place forever if you want to keep doing the same kind of work. People need to work smarter, not harder, and as the UK ship building industry found out the hard way, refusing to adopt more efficient manufacturing techniques "because they'd cost some jobs" frequently results in ALL jobs at the employer going "phut". Competition is global. No amount of putting fingers in ears and going lalala will change that.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Beijing Intellectual Property Court

      Well as New Balance just £1.2 million, it clearly does exist.

  4. alain williams Silver badge

    I can see the value in certification

    to assure users that the the cable/... will not damage their expensive iBling.

    I cannot see why Apple would want a chip in the cable ... to me this smells like printer vendors putting chips in printer ink cartridges - as a means of trying to stop perfectly good independent suppliers from undercutting their overpriced stuff.

    1. John Sanders
      Pirate

      Re: I can see the value in certification

      >> Chips inside cables as a ploy to overcharge...

      Ding! Ding! Ding! Ding!

      We have a winner ladies and gentlemen.

    2. DougS Silver badge

      Re: I can see the value in certification

      The chip is to prevent sale of cables that are claimed as certified but are not, simple as that. Otherwise what stops a company from making the cheapest Lightning cable possible and selling it on eBay falsely claiming it is Apple certified? The chip is a technical way of preventing companies from lying about certification.

      The chip probably costs a few cents in quantity, so it isn't really a roadblock for a legitimate company but in order to buy those chips they have be registered in the MFi program which will enforce some sort of minimum quality standards. You can buy certified Lightning cables via eBay/Amazon/etc. for a few dollars, or even less if you score a deal on fatwallet or whatever, so it isn't like Apple can be making any money off those chips.

      They just want to give their customers a better experience by keeping the really low quality products off the market. If they were doing it out of greed, they wouldn't license the chip and they'd be the only seller of Lightning cables at $9.99 (the price I see at Walmart) and up.

      1. Charles 9 Silver badge

        Re: I can see the value in certification

        If that were true, the cables would only be a bit more than Micro USB cables, not several TIMES more at the least.

        1. DougS Silver badge

          Re: I can see the value in certification

          Checking eBay, the cheapest 'price + shipping' I can find on a single (no quantity discounts) 3' MFi certified Lightning cable is $1.49, the cheapest 3' micro USB cable is $0.79 (ditto for USB-C)

          So while it is almost twice as expensive, the difference is only 70 cents. Ignoring the chip and MFi licensing compliance (i.e. whatever Apple requires for participation in terms of paperwork etc.) for a moment, you'd still expect USB to cost less because there are probably 10x as many USB cables sold in a year than Lightning cables. Not only are there way more Android phones worldwide than iPhones, an increasing number of small CE devices use microUSB for power rather than a wall wart to add to the collection.

          There's not much room for Apple to be making money out of that 70 cents with the lower production volumes and overhead of the chip and compliance. Like I said, if Apple wanted to profit they'd simply not license Lightning and you'd have to buy from them. Apple charges $19 in their online store for a Lightning cable, while Samsung charges $14.99 for USB-C cable - not much better!

      2. Vector

        Re: I can see the value in certification

        "... what stops a company from making the cheapest Lightning cable possible and selling it on eBay falsely claiming it is Apple certified?"

        How about a listing on Apple's website of certified vendors?

        I bought some viewing glasses for the recent eclipse by going to a trusted website (the American Astronomical Society) and viewing the list of companies they had confirmed as properly certified. No chip required.

        1. DougS Silver badge

          @Vector - listing of certified vendors

          Who is going to check a list of certified vendors to buy a cable for a couple bucks? Besides, there are Chinese companies who counterfeit iPhones - you can actually buy phones that claim to be an 'iPhone', complete with the Apple logo on the it and an Apple logo on the storefront...running Android, of course! Apple shuts those down every year, but there's always another one popping up as fast as they can shut them down.

          If companies are so bold as to try to sell counterfeit iPhones, do you really think they wouldn't sell dodgy cables on eBay they claim were manufactured by ReputableCompanyName?

          As for the eclipse glasses, the ones I bought were supposedly one of the reputable brands. But nine days before the eclipse I received a notice from Amazon that they might be counterfeit and I should throw them away. So much for buying off the list of certified vendors!

          1. Vector

            Re: @Vector - listing of certified vendors

            "If companies are so bold as to try to sell counterfeit iPhones, do you really think they wouldn't sell dodgy cables on eBay they claim were manufactured by ReputableCompanyName?"

            OK, so explain to me how that magic chip is going to stop Mr. Dodgy from claiming he's selling a certified cable. Can you see the chip in the pictures? At best, you'll find out after you receive the cable and plug it into your phone, at which point Dodgy Cables Inc. will become oh so difficult to contact.

            1. DougS Silver badge

              Re: @Vector - listing of certified vendors

              Dodgy Cables Inc. will have a lot of complaints on eBay and Amazon or wherever they're selling, which will result in them getting booted. So yeah, it doesn't stop them as they could keep coming back under different names, but that's a cost of doing business as well. With the chip costing pennies it seems they've all decided it is easier to go legit, or if they want to make crappy cables, make crappy USB cables instead.

              1. Vector

                Re: @Vector - listing of certified vendors

                Which still does not explain how the chip makes any difference. If they're making crap cables, they'll get complaints chip or no chip.

                1. DougS Silver badge

                  Re: @Vector - listing of certified vendors

                  The chip makes a difference because the phone refuses to charge when connected via a cable without the chip.

      3. JeffyPoooh Silver badge
        Pint

        Re: I can see the value in certification

        Doug suggested, "...what stops a company from making the cheapest Lightning cable possible and selling it on eBay falsely claiming it is Apple certified? The chip is a technical way of preventing companies from lying about certification."

        No it doesn't. Due to timing on a month by month time scale.

        The Chinese companies and eBay sellers still do all exactly that, by using fake chips embedded in their "Lightning" cables. It's not until several months later that Apple rolls the code, thus revealing the fraud. This is after MONTHS of that batch of the fake cables working fine.

        Then, with only Apple's greatest concern for their customers LOL, and certainly not as a money grab ROTFL, the new iPhone software gleefully stops accepting charging current from the fake cable. Thus forcing their customers to run out and buy a cable from the nearest supplier.

        The Axis of Time reveals that Apple's explanations are a cover story, and that they are just being greedy. Their concept of embedding DRM in the Lightning charging cables has probably earned them about an extra billion dollars.

        The Axis of Time is very revealing, almost a forensic tool. It's my very favorite axis.

        1. DougS Silver badge

          Re: I can see the value in certification

          There was only one time I'm aware of that people with fake cables got axed, when Apple first added the checks. If you have documentation (not just random claims on the internet) that OS updates since then have broken cables, please provide it. I've never had any problems with the cheap eBay cables I bought, they still work.

          The idea that Apple is executing some nefarious plan because they make so much money on cables someone else is selling for $1.49/ea is patently ridiculous. That would be like Bill Gates checking the coin return in every vending machine he passes by to collect spare change others accidentally leave behind.

          In fact, I don't think we know for sure they make ANY money when someone sells a MFi cable. They don't make the chips, I'm sure they charge for being in the program that gives a vendor access to buy the chips, but that's probably a flat yearly fee of a couple thousand bucks or whatever to cover their administrative costs. Maybe they charge a per cable royalty for the chip, maybe not. If you can prove they do, please do. Or don't and just keep spreading conspiracy theories you create in your own mind about Apple's scheme to become rich off Lightning cables.

    3. whoseyourdaddy

      Re: I can see the value in certification

      You do realize that a chip is necessary as the cable is ambi-dextrous to unswap the pins if needed?

      http://time.com/4722215/man-electrocuted-iphone-charger/

      It's because of idiots like this who *buy* these cables...

      It should be wildly impossible for 120V to show up at the dangly end of a USB cable.

      Because of this, It's not up to you to decide whether all third-party players can sell you a cable on a street corner in NYC to power an expensive handheld device that might still be (in your mind) covered under warranty.

      1. Vector

        Re: I can see the value in certification

        "You do realize that a chip is necessary as the cable is ambi-dextrous to unswap the pins if needed?"

        I believe what you mean is that the connector is reversible and, no, that does not require a chip.

        As to your weblink, if you read closely, you'll notice that A) no where in it is there any mention of a knockoff cable and B) he was sleeping with the charger connected to an extension cord in his bed. His necklace was most likely conducting power from the AC end of the charger so the cable connected on the other side would have been of little consequence.

        1. whoseyourdaddy

          Re: I can see the value in certification

          Actually, if you are familiar with IEC/CSA safety standards, you would understand that 100% electrical isolation from a mains power source (both hot and neutral) with several thousand volts of breakdown prevention is expected between the low-voltage side and the mains side..

          Clearly, this is not your field of study.

          So, the cost-conscious engineers who made this adaptor would assume the wider blade on the AC plug would always, always, always connect to the neutral bus bar inside your central breaker box and someone would never, ever install their own outlet and swap hot and neutral.

          Not pursuing Apple certification, I can assume someone faked or ignored CSA safety standards, did not fully isolate the mains side from the low-voltage side, and assumed the shield and ground of your USB cable is always always always connected to neutral in the breaker box.

          Except this time, it wasn't. It was swapped. And, it cost this moron his life.

          Don't be that moron.

          1. Vector

            @whoseyourdaddy Re: I can see the value in certification

            Again, you did not read the article and, apparently, did not click through to the original article referenced which says:

            "The next morning, Day woke up and rolled over. As he did so, a dog-tag necklace that he was wearing happened to catch on the exposed prongs of the charger head, which had come loose from the extension cord."

            No where in either article is there any mention that this was anything other than the original iPhone charger. Regardless, the charger itself, whether original or third party, was not the cause of the incident. Rather, it was the probably shoddy connection between the charger and the extension cord into which it was plugged which was to blame.

      2. Gene Cash Silver badge

        Re: I can see the value in certification

        USB 3 is ambi-dextrous without a chip, AND compatible with the older version. You just need talented engineers. Those seem to have left the (circular) building

  5. This post has been deleted by its author

  6. MiguelC Silver badge

    A chip hidden in a charging cable?

    Aren't they usually used in nefarious ways?

    1. anothercynic Silver badge

      Re: A chip hidden in a charging cable?

      It is *not* a charging cable. It is more than that. If it only was a charging cable, then even then I'd rather have a chip in it that regulates the juice going through there and dies if it's too much rather than frying my device. Ask the guy from Google who tests USB-C cables because he didn't want his Chromebook fried. So. Who is the idiot here?

      1. Charles 9 Silver badge

        Re: A chip hidden in a charging cable?

        A USB cable is more than a charging cable as well. In fact, it's a data cable FIRST, a charging cable SECOND. And it doesn't need sophisticated stuff in the cable to do its thing. In fact, its philosophy has been that the complicated bits should be at the socket ends; make the cable simple and easy to replace and let the ends do the hard work (that's one reason the latches in the Micro USB spec are on the cable where they were in the socket in Mini USB--lot easier to switch out a cable than to reinstall a socket). In response to your overcharging issue, the sockets in the devices should carry the ability to sense out-of-bound electricals and shut the socket off as needed to protect itself. Is it really that hard to do that without resorting to the complexity of a chip in the cable?

        1. DougS Silver badge

          Re: A chip hidden in a charging cable?

          There's a limit to how much power can be handled without damaging something. I'd much rather the cable takes the hit and fuses than the socket in my phone. Pretty sure if something went wrong with your USB wall plug and it sent 120v or 240v AC down the wire, the USB-C socket in your phone or laptop could not gracefully sense that and cut it off without any damage.

          Some USB wall plugs are a horror show of dangerously unsafe engineering. You get good ones from Apple, Samsung, etc. of course, but if you buy random ones off eBay or Amazon you might want a cable able to sacrifice itself to save your phone! I used to have one I bought online years ago (before I realized just how poorly made some were) that's labeled 'Abble' LOL. I saw something online about that 'brand' being particularly dangerous and tossed it!

          1. Charles 9 Silver badge

            Re: A chip hidden in a charging cable?

            Just require that all chargers contain an easily-accessible-and-changeable fuse. They do that with Christmas light sets.

            1. whoseyourdaddy

              Re: A chip hidden in a charging cable?

              Fun fact: fuses cut the MTBF of electronic devices.

              And, you're assuming people will care to replace the fuse with one of the correct rating to maintain safety without standing in a bathtub of water.

              1. Charles 9 Silver badge

                Re: A chip hidden in a charging cable?

                Cables are MADE to fail. They're designed to fail first to save the more expensive stuff. Sounds to me like exactly what we need here. Not complicated lock-in cables but dead simple sacrificial lambs.

                1. JeffyPoooh Silver badge
                  Pint

                  Re: A chip hidden in a charging cable?

                  Chas offered, "...designed to fail first to save..."

                  How does a genuine Apple DRM infested charger cable shorting out after 5 months use benefit anybody?

                  The only thing it saves is Apple's bottom line.

            2. Alan Brown Silver badge

              Re: A chip hidden in a charging cable?

              "Just require that all chargers contain an easily-accessible-and-changeable fuse."

              Fuses are _only_ there to protect the wiring from catching fire.

              You can well and truely fry without blowing them. I know of several such cases.

          2. JeffyPoooh Silver badge
            Pint

            Re: A chip hidden in a charging cable?

            @DougS

            It was Apple's chargers that had the failure where the AC power pins would pull out of the body, causing some folks to instinctively reach out and retrieve the metal prongs from the live socket. Apple's !

            Turn your Apple AC charger over and see the green dot? That means that it hopefully won't kill you.

            Yes, eBay junk can be crap. Cheap crap. Apple also makes crap sometimes. Expensive crap.

          3. JeffyPoooh Silver badge
            Pint

            Re: A chip hidden in a charging cable?

            DougS "Pretty sure if something went wrong with your USB wall plug and it sent 120v or 240v AC down the wire, the USB-C socket in your phone or laptop could not gracefully sense that and cut it off without any damage."

            Are you claiming that an Apple Lightning cable would ?

            I'll bet not.

  7. ukgnome

    erm

    why not apply for the certification?

    1. WolfFan Silver badge

      Re: erm

      Money talks.

  8. silks

    Those are Apple's rules, and no third party has to play the game if they don't want to.

    Build good products, get certified or don't bother! Just don't complain.

    1. Charles 9 Silver badge

      Do you say the same thing about third-party printer supplies?

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Or USB cables.

      Imagine. Only MS certified USB cables will work on Windows

      1. Charles 9 Silver badge

        Once upon a time, only a Motorola-certified USB charger would be allowed to charge the MOTO RAZR V7. Other cables, the phone would stop charging after a few seconds. Made it tough when you bought it secondhand and it didn't come with the original charger.

  9. Someone Else Silver badge
    Coat

    From the sub-title:

    Asks for 12 pence for 'unfair competition'

    We on the west side of the pond have one Pence they can have...with our compliments!

    1. WolfFan Silver badge

      Please don't say things like that. Exporting Mike Pence to anywhere except perhaps North Korea, which deserves him, would be an act of war.

  10. Stuart Dole

    Lots of chips...

    As I recall, there are THREE (3) chips in the plug of the Lightning cable, plus various other components. A lot goes on in there, apparently - dynamic pin reassignment and all that. I had a knockoff cable burn my fingers once - and the plug part turned brown and smoked. Once burned, and all that. So yes, I get my cables from the Apple store now, even at the premium price.

  11. DerekCurrie Bronze badge
    Happy

    Thank You Apple For Protecting Me From Crap

    We know the problem here. It's shoddy third party product, not Apple.

  12. Herby Silver badge

    Wait, more is coming...

    Wait for USB-C connectors and their ilk. From what I understand most (not all, thankfully) cables will have some sort of chip in them to diddle pins around.

    It is coming folks, just wait and see.

  13. whoseyourdaddy

    Considering what Apple is trying to do to Qualcomm in the US court system...

    This starts my US holiday weekend on a positive note.

    Thanks, ElReg.

  14. whoseyourdaddy

    Oh yeah. Thinking the goal here is to set legal precedence.

    We will discover in a couple of weeks if Lightning lives on, or dies with iPhone 7.

    Wouldn't surprise me if the real goal: discourage future charger cable standards that require licensing or the hassle of pirating the security chip inside.

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The saddest part of this story.

    1 Yuan = 12p.

    It was not that many years ago that you could get 16 Yuan for £1.

    Even a couple of years ago it was hovering around 10 Yuan = £1.

    Still, it all means more profit for my little business exporting from the UK to China.

    Anon, cos the taxman doesnt know about my sideline.

    1. Scroticus Canis
      Facepalm

      Re: Anon, cos the taxman doesnt know about my sideline.

      Well he does now smarty-pants.

    2. Steve Todd
      Stop

      Re: The saddest part of this story.

      If you were an exporter then you'd know that the fewer Yuan it takes to buy a Pound the better (your customers can either buy your product for less, or you charge them the same in their local currency and make a bigger profit). Importers like it the other way.

      The Chinese government have basically pegged the Yuan to the US Dollar. All you're seeing is the poor performance of the Pound on the international currency markets.

      1. Alan Brown Silver badge

        Re: The saddest part of this story.

        "All you're seeing is the poor performance of the Pound on the international currency markets."

        Which is a direct result of a bunch of xenophobic kneejerks getting their way.

        Of course they'll now blame all the furrriners for the currency going titsup. "It's a conspiracy" they'll cry, "The Bavarian Illuminati are manipulating the currency!" and other claptrap for the red tops to scream from the street corners.

        It didn't take Venezuela long to go from being a wealthy country to a shithole. The UK may have just said "hold my beer" to that challenge.

  16. JeffyPoooh Silver badge
    Pint

    The Apple apologists are out in force on this one...

    Frustratingly nonsensical.

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