MFi: Artificially crippling hardware

I’m sure any owner of a iPod, iPhone, or iPad will have seen the “This accessory is not supported by i<Device here>” or “Charging is not supported with this accessory”. That there is the result of the MFi program. Hardware drm that decides if you can use your accessory or if you have to go to store and buy new one that is designed for your fancy new device.

Of course I’ve had my own fair share of dealing with this hell in my years to and im dam tired of it. When all I had was a 2nd gen iPod Nano 8gb I got a iPod speaker dock and it worked great until I got my 8gb 2nd gen iPod touch and I got the lovely “Charging is not supported with this accessory” when I plugged my shiny new iPod Touch in.

Now back on track… The whole idea of the MFi program is out there to encourage a active plugin accessory market for Apple’s mobile devices but it has some critical flaws. If you buy a accessory for a iPod Classic or any other legacy iPod odds are it won’t work on iPod Touch or iPhone and pretty well for sure not on iPad.

The whole protection in a nut shell is a hardware query that happens when you plug-in accessory. If the device is programmed to accept that MFI chip it will work but if it’s not made to support the MFi chip it puts up the famous error and it does not work.

Apple is allowing devices to be artificially crippled to force buying new and it gets even more confusing especially when It comes to the Apple made iPod radio remote… a great device that allowed controlling iPod from pocket and provided FM radio. On iOS devices you get the famous “This accessory is not supported by i<Device here>” and the accessory doesn’t work then.  I have been able to force it on newer devices  but it’s not easy. Only amp/volume worked on 2.x and on 3.0 and on all the buttons worked just no fm radio.

The really confusing part is the fact that all the control buttons magically started working 3.0 betas yet it still can’t be used. Sounds like they were planning on enabling it but changed their mind.

Over all I think the hardware chipping part of MFi needs to be ended and make it a sticker on box certification thing only. Stuff we buy shouldn’t be artificially crippled just because its  old. Of course we know that will never happen.

What’s your thoughts on the MFi program? Leave a comment below.