Record shipments of Apple’s new iPhone 6 models unveiled this week might mean more headaches for companies building accessories with Apple’s Lightning connectors. Several sources tell us in the lead up to the launch of the new iPhones this week, Apple has purchased all of the available bulk inventory of Lightning connectors and authentication chips leaving smaller accessory makers in its Made-for-iPhone licensing program stranded.
One manufacturer we spoke with told us that bulk orders of Lightning supplies from Apple’s manufacturing partner Foxconn are being reserved for Apple and its preferred partners, which include some of the larger iPhone accessory makers. Other companies, however, are unsure how they will fulfil current orders for products already on the market, while others have resorted to back channels for Lightning supplies with no luck. Orders placed for the component as far back as June have been delayed and still not delivered, according to one manufacturer.
When exactly accessory manufacturers will be able to get supplies of the Lightning connector is unknown. Many of the manufacturers we spoke with noted that Apple’s supplier of components for its MFi program would not provide estimates on availability. One manufacturer was quoted a delivery date of no earlier than January 2015.
For consumers, this could be mean delays on Made-for-iPhone products that use the component, especially if Apple continues with record shipments of iPhone 6 and possibly other iOS device launches this fall.
Apple is expecting this year’s iPhone launch to be the fastest roll out yet with its two new iPhone 6 models hitting 115 countries by the end of the year.
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