Remember last year, when we saw Apple first introduce the Lightning connector? Besides the obvious headaches that affected Apple users with existing 30-pin accessories, and the requisite head-shaking it got from the rest of the smartphone community, having happily embraced micro USB, there was a sinister new problem it introduced: the authentication chip. While it sat there for the first year, not really making its presence known, the arrival of iOS 7 saw Apple start taking advantage of the chip’s abilities, warning users about “unauthorized” devices. In the future, it may become an even greater impediment to functionality, with Apple reserving the right to fully block access to accessories lacking such a chip. As it turns out, Apple may not be alone in its quest for more control over phone accessories, with word arriving that Samsung may be working on a similar system of its own.
This report is extremely light on the technical details, but according to the sources behind the rumor, a new accessory authentication system is baked-in to the Galaxy Note 3. The sort of examples mentioned as covered by it – wireless charging and smart covers – make us wonder if this system might be exclusive to alternate back panels, or if it might also target devices that attach via micro USB.
Word is that Samsung would use the system to identify unapproved gear and have phones refuse to operate with it – making something like a third-party charging back essentially useless.
For the moment, we haven’t seen any hard evidence supporting this idea, so panic (or just new feelings of resentment towards Samsung) may still be premature. Nevertheless, we’re curious to see what comes of this, so we’ll be bringing you any updates we find.