Last week, Apple informed members of its Made for iPhone or “MFi” licensing program that Lightning to USB-C cables for charging and syncing are now permitted to be manufactured. These cables require a new Lightning connector with part number C94, which Made for iPhone program members can now order.
Apple is selling the new Lightning connector to eligible hardware manufacturers for $2.88 per, and it is estimated to ship in six weeks, according to documentation shared with MacRumors by Hong Kong website ChargerLab.
This means that third-party accessory makers enrolled in the Made for iPhone program, such as Anker, Aukey, Belkin, and Incipio, should have the part necessary to create MFi-certified Lightning to USB-C cables by mid-January and, allowing time for production, could be available to purchase by February or March.
A Lightning to USB-C cable is required to fast charge the iPhone 8 and newer with an 18W-plus power adapter. Otherwise, the new C94 connector is expected to provide a maximum of 15W of power with a standard power adapter.
Apple is currently the only retailer of certified Lightning to USB-C cables at a cost of $19 for the one-meter option and $35 for two-meters in the United States. The one-meter cable was originally $25, but it received a price cut in November 2016 alongside some of Apple’s other USB-C adapters and cables.
The biggest advantage to third-party Lightning to USB-C cables is that many will likely be significantly less expensive than Apple’s own, while still meeting Apple performance standards under the Made for iPhone program. Many third-party options will likely have more durable designs too, such as a braided cable.
Apple first informed its Made for iPhone program members about its plans to allow third-party Lightning to USB-C cables earlier this year.