While it was initially thought that restrictions placed on the Lightning ecosystem, such as the authentication chips, were done to serve Apple as it would make Apple a gatekeeper to hardware designed and built for its iOS devices, but it seems that Apple’s intentions may be more noble. At the company’s MFi partner conference in China, Apple is laying out the guidelines for tapping the new Lightning connector, which is 80 percent smaller than the old Dock Connector that it replaces. Part of those guidelines is an adherence to corporate social responsibility, or CSR, codes.
In order to get the ‘Made for iPhone,’ ‘Made for iPod,’ and ‘Made for iPad’ certification, companies that build hardware accessories will have to adhere to the Apple Supplier Code of Conduct, which sets a benchmark for working conditions and environmental practices in manufacturing.
Adherence to Apple’s code was previously restricted to supply chain partners and manufacturing partners, such as Foxconn and LG Display. Third-party hardware manufacturers were previously not bound by the same standards.
It’s great to see Apple taking leadership in being a socially responsible corporation, especially since the company generates a lot of money and is the most valued company in the world by market capitalization. Though Apple has been promoting its eco-friendliness in recent years through materials selection of glass and aluminum, the company has been heavily scrutinized through its relationship with Foxconn for poor working conditions at its factories.
Right now, according to Apple Insider, it’s still unclear what sanctions Apple will have, if any, should third-party accessories-makers violate the code of conduct.
Though the authentication chips will help Apple regulate the iOS hardware ecosystem, the chips have been reverse-engineered and non-sanctioned third-party accessories for the iPhone have begun appearing.