Apple’s Made for iPhone (MFi) conference was expected to take place this month in China in order to discuss AirPlay and Bluetooth standards with third party iPhone/iPod/iPad accessory makers and also to restrict sales of Lightning connectors / accessories to authorised partners. According to a new report by TUAW, Apple is now looking to make compliance with its supplier code of conduct a condition of MFi licensing.
The “Made for iPhone” logo can only be used by MFi-licensed vendors, who also get exclusive access to Apple’s internal documentation for interfaces and connectivity. The source points out that Apple’s Lightning pin supply is controlled by the company itself, and it will supply it to approved MFI partners once their product is determined to have met its standards and specifications.
According to our source, Apple intends to make compliance with its supplier code of conduct a condition of MFi licensing.
The supplier code, which has been implemented and expanded over the past few years as Apple and manufacturing partner Foxconn have come under increasing scrutiny for working conditions, currently applies only to Apple’s manufacturing supply chain partners and component vendors.
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.
There is no official word from Apple so far regarding any policy changes in MFi licensing. We’ll of course keep you posted when we learn more in the next few weeks.