Apple’s Made For iPhone (MFi) program is laying down the iron first for future iPhone cases, as the company has updated its guidelines for case manufacturers, requiring cases to be tougher and more protective.
According to 9to5Mac, sources say that the new guidelines require all future iPhone cases to survive any kind of drop from 1 meter high (3.2 feet). Another requirement is that cases must protect the iPhone’s glass display when lying flat on a surface face down, and there must be at least a 1mm clearance between the flat surface and the iPhone’s display.
In order to achieve this, the case must either have built-in screen protector of sorts, or the case must protrude over the edge of the iPhone slightly in order to achieve clearance.
Apple’s Made For iPhone program consists of some rather strict guidelines, but it allows accessory makers to stamp the “Made For iPhone” logo on their product, which can give shoppers the confidence that they’re buying a product that’s certified to work with iOS devices.
However, if there’s one thing you might know about iPhone and iPad accessories, it’s that most of them are not cheap, especially accessories from Apple directly, but even third-party manufacturers have a hard time getting the prices down.
That’s mostly because Apple’s licensing fees are said to be rather expensive. This is partly the reason why MFi gaming controllers are rather expensive, with the cheapest ones costing around $80, compared to the $60 that an Xbox One or PS4 controller costs.
Third-party Lightning cables also aren’t as cheap as their older brethren (30-pin cables). Granted, you can get third-party cables for cheaper than what they cost directly from Apple, but the difference isn’t much. For example, Amazon’s own Lightning cable still costs $14, whereas in the past you could get 30-pin cables for just a couple of dollars.
As for gaming controllers, Moga and Logitech have Lightning-equipped models that allow iPhone owners to clip in their devices and start playing, while SteelSeries has a Bluetooth controller that can be used with an iPad. Reception hasn’t been great, though, with many folks saying that they’re overpriced and the quality isn’t too great.
This is mostly thanks to Apple’s strict MFi guidelines. For example, a reason why these controllers are so expensive is that Apple is requiring companies to use pressure-sensitive analog switches in buttons and joysticks, and use a single supplier for them as well. These switches are expensive compared to alternatives that companies could have gone with, but since Apple forces iOS gaming controllers to have them, that drives up the cost as well.
Furthermore, the first round of iOS 7 gaming controllers were rushed to the market, meaning that companies didn’t have as much time as they would have wanted in order to release them in time for the holiday season last year. Obviously, this affects quality and we certainly saw that with the first set of controllers that are available now. One Logitech employee even said that its controller was “put together in haste.”
However, these new guidelines on iPhone cases are good for consumers, as we’ll hopefully see more iPhone cases in the near future that are more durable and will be able to better protect the iPhone from accidental drops. There are still a lot of cases out on the market that provide false hope, with those cheap plastic cases being a good example of that. However, the next time you go to buy a MFi case for your iPhone, it should at least give you more comfort in knowing that your iPhone is better protected.