Third-Party Apple Accessories Manufacturers Have 90 Days to Update MFi Program Logo
For promotional products distributors who sell power banks and other items that depend on a connection with Apple products, it’s important that they partner with suppliers who have the requisite licensing for these products. In Apple’s case, this means that suppliers must be licensed under the tech giant’s Made For iPhone (MFi) program.
This became glaringly apparent in 2014, when Apple sent cease-and-desist letters to promotional products suppliers stating that, as the owner of the rights to the Apple 8- and 30-pin adapters, it would take legal action against any company that continued to sell unauthorized products. While some suppliers simply pulled the items, and some distributors stopped selling them, many suppliers took action in order to get licensed through Apple’s MFi program.
Under the program, launched in 2005, companies go through testing to ensure compliance with Apple’s standards. Once this is determined, they are required to use a special logo advertising that their products work with iPhones, iPads and iPods. By including this logo on packaging, suppliers and distributors could rest easily without having to worry about legal issues.
Until now, that is.
Apple has decided to change the logo for its MFi program. Instead of a single logo for all three products, the new branding consists of three separate logos—one for products compatible with iPhones, iPads and iPods, another for iPhones and iPads, and one for iPhone-compatible devices only.
Apple is giving manufacturers 90 days to adhere to its new logo requirement, which means that they will have to update product designs and packaging accordingly in order to incorporate the new designs. This could prove problematic for manufacturers, but if they hope to avoid Apple’s wrath, it’s pretty clear that they have no choice but to comply.
It’s important that distributors make sure that their supplier partners are able to comply with the new requirement. The third-party Apple accessory market is a good place for promo distributors to do business, especially as they look to sell higher-end promotional products that feature technology. In order to maintain this business, all players in the game must maintain their MFi certifications. If that means overhauling product and packaging designs, then that’s what the industry will have to do. After all, it’s Apple’s world, and we’re just living in it.