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Thursday, November 08, 2012, 01:08 pm PT (04:08 pm ET)

Apple requires Lightning accessory makers to meet supplier code of conduct

Apple's annual "MFi" conference is currently underway in Shenzhen, China, where the company has informed third-party accessory makers that they will need to meet its supplier code of conduct to sell officially licensed products.

Devices certified as "Made for iPhone," or iPad and iPod, will only be able to come from companies that adhere to the code of conduct, according to TUAW. The full Apple Supplier Code of Conduct document is available at Apple's website.

Prior to this week's announcement, the code of conduct only applied to Apple's supply chain partners and component vendors. But under the new rules, all official members of Apple's licensed accessory ecosystem will be expected to adhere to stricter rules for worker rights and environmental issues.

Author Michael Rose noted that it's currently unknown what Apple's audit requirements will be, as well as penalties for noncompliance with the rules.

Details from the "MFi" conference also revealed that Apple's new Lightning connector, found on the iPhone 5 and iPad mini among other devices, is waterproof.

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The third-party accessory market for the Lightning connector is currently lacking, because authorized vendors have been waiting for this week's conference so they can obtain certification from Apple.

The first authorized accessory maker to announce Lightning-compatible products is Belkin, which revealed a new car charger and dock this week. The accessories are available for preorder now, and are scheduled to ship by Nov. 15.

Though Lightning cables include an authentication chip that may cut down on unauthorized accessories, the technology has been reverse engineered by some companies in China that have begun making unofficial Lightning cables. One cable detailed by AppleInsider last week was found to be compatible with Lightning devices, though it achieved a low price with poor shielding and cheap parts.