This week, Apple is holding a conference about its MFI accessory program in Shenzhen, China. With Apple recently adopting a new, smaller Lightning connector for much of its mobile product line, this year’s conference is an important one for accessory companies looking to develop products for new iPhones, iPads, and iPods. As with any Apple conference of the sort, information is starting to come out from attendees. Most notably, TUAW claims that Apple will require MFI licensees to follow the same supply and manufacturing code that Apple uses for its own products:
Most are trivial (did not know: the Lightning connector is waterproof!) but one big one is not. According to our source at the event, Apple intends to make compliance with its supplier code of conduct a condition of MFi licensing.
With Apple’s publicly stringent supply chain, one of the strictest in the consumer-technology industry, Apple potentially pushing down their own internal requirements to the companies making Apple product accessories is notable. As TUAW notes, this will require extra effort by the accessory makers. Additionally, details are currently slim on the reach of the guidelines and when they will be initiated:
Of course, there may well be MFi participants who see this move as heavy-handed and unnecessary. It’s not yet clear what the schedule, audit requirements or penalties for non-compliance might be — but there may be some vendors at the margins who feel that the additional effort and expense to comply decreases the overall value of participating in the iOS accessory market.