Apple holding MFi conference November 7 -9 to discuss Lightning guidelines, here’s the event’s program

Earlier this month, iLounge and Macotakara reported that Apple made several changes to its MFi (Made for iPhone/iPad/iPod) policy that tightens control over manufacturers producing accessories. In its report, iLounge included word about a seminar in China where Apple plans discuss its policy change with manufacturers—talking specifically about Apple’s new Lightning technology. Today, thanks to a report by TechCrunch and a picture of the seminar’s program provided to us by a tipster (as seen above), we have learned more about the seminar. The conference will be held in Shenzhen, China from Nov. 7 to Nov. 9 to talk about the new standards.

With the new standards, Apple will have a strict control over the supply of Lightning pins that help power the Lightning connectors that MFi partners could build. Apple will only supply the pins to partners that the company has vetted to make sure its standards are met. Previous teardowns have already shown that what Apple has with its Lightning cables is not ordinary dumb cable technology.

As you can see in the program, Apple has a lot on the docket for those who attend. It will give manufacturers an insight into Apple Retail, how to design Lightning accessories, and the changes within the MFi program. Apple’s engineers will also assist with Wi-Fi, AirPlay, and Bluetooth. Once Apple has approved a company, it will sell them the Lightning pins in volume. According to TechCrunch, the pricing is “very fair when you consider the advance technology.”

Last year, at its MFi program that took place Dec. 7 to Dec. 9, Apple told developers to get busy building next-generation iOS accessories compatible with Airplay and support Bluetooth 4.0. As we now know, Apple has rolled out Bluetooth 4.0 to most of its devices and wants to make Airplay a standard for audio and video consumption.

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Apps and updates: Clucks by AOL, Netflix, Camera+ for iPad, The Dark Knight Rises, Real Racing 2 HD and more

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Many apps updated, went on sale, or made announcements recently, and 9to5Mac gathered the most noteworthy ones in our regular round up below. Today’s crop includes new games by AOL and Rovio, updates for popular video services and social networks, more notable apps adding support for iOS 6, and huge price drops and daily deals. Per usual, we will continue to update this list throughout the day.

Check them out:

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AT&T denies ‘vacation blackout’ rumors

Reports emerged over the weekend about AT&T forcing its employees into a Sept. 21 to Sept. 30 “Vacation Blackout”.

According to an AT&T sales rep, AT&T staff has been given a vacation blackout from September 21 to September 30, just like Verizon employees. Our source also mentioned that blue carrier employees are undergoing training for an “iconic release.”

“Not true!” we’ve heard. We reached out to AT&T to see what it had to say regarding the above. An AT&T spokesperson told us this morning that there is no company-wide vacation blackout for the end of September.

We also talked to AT&T reps at other stores who implied more people are being put on duty, depending on staffing levels of that particular store, but there is no “blackout.” One New York employee will even sit out the first week of the iPhone launch due to a long-planned vacation.

TechCrunch sourced one rep from a single AT&T store, which may have its own little under-staffed blackout, but, as we heard, the policy is not nationwide.

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iOS 6 points to new 9-pin connector: is this the new, smaller dock port?

At this point, it seems highly likely that the next-generation of Apple’s iOS devices will carry smaller dock connectors. That new hardware feature has been reported by multiple sources. However, the exact size and amount of pins has been up in the air. TechCrunch said that they confirmed the new connector to be 19 pins, while iLounge recently reported that the connector will be only 8 pins.

However, today, we discovered a possible reference to a 9-pin dock connector in the iOS 6 beta. The reference comes as a new iOS hardware feature called “9Pin,” so we’re assuming this has to do with the dock connector. Obviously, there is no way to be 100% about this.

In fact, it appears that the reference has been present since beta 1. This reference comes in a part of the operating system that details general hardware features in iOS devices. That mean this new 9-pin connector may not only be implemented into the iPhone. This lines up with iMore‘s report that Apple will update all of its iOS devices in September to support the new connector.

The new connector will make an impact on the cases and accessory industry, but it will allow Apple to squeeze in new technologies into its future devices. Of course, this is only a single iOS-based reference, and Apple’s plans for pin-formations could change at any time. Thanks, Hamza!

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Report: Apple to sell 30-pin adapter for new iPhone’s smaller 19-pin dock connector

According to a report from iMore’s Rene Ritchie, Apple plans to release an adapter alongside the new iPhone that will allow users to connect accessories using the old 30-pin dock connector to the device’s new 19-pin connector:

iMore reached out to the original sources that gave us the new Dock connector story way back in February just to make doubly sure — and yes, there will be an adapter for the iPhone 5’s smaller Dock connector that will let it work with many of the accessories designed for the old 30-pin Dock connector.

The report noted there is no word on whether Apple plans to include the adapter in the box with the new iPhone or make it a separate purchase. Earlier today, a report from Reuters backed up the rumors and earlier reports that Apple plans to include the smaller, 19-pin dock connector on the new iPhone expected to launch in October. iMore originally reported the new iPhone would include the smaller connector in February, and several reports since followed up with similar predictions.

In May, we posted images of the next-gen iPhone‘s metal back (above) that clearly show the smaller connector.

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Facebook’s iOS App Center going live tonight?

Update: Facebook confirmed to TechCrunch it has been “testing it with a small percentage of users” since it launched last month, but the social network has “no further details to announce at this time.”

The image above is a screenshot just posted by TechCrunch. A reader who claims to be seeing the Facebook App Center already live in the iOS app sent it. As noted in the report, Facebook has an “app-themed” event in San Francisco tonight where we could see more of the App Center. The company announced the new HTML5-based App Center last month and said the iOS and Android Facebook apps would have access to the app marketplace in the coming weeks.

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