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Apple will let accessory makers use its Lightning port in their products

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Apple will soon allow third-party accessory makers to integrate the company's Lightning port directly into their products. 9to5Mac today reported on the move, which should make life easier for manufacturers operating on slim margins and cut down on the number of cables that iPhone and iPad users need to carry around. Currently, some devices like Bluetooth speakers and iPhone battery cases often require a microUSB cord for charging. But by giving its partners the option of swapping that USB port for the Lightning hardware iOS users are familiar with, Apple's making things easier on everyone.

Third-party manufacturers will also soon have access to a smaller Lightning connector, according to 9to5Mac. This will enable them to fit Apple's connector inside smaller products and use it in novel ways. Beyond accessories, Apple has already opened up the Lightning connection to headphone makers. Philips will release new, high fidelity headphones next month that utilize Apple's connector instead of the iPhone's headphone jack. It's not unreasonable to think that Apple will eventually go down the same road with Beats and its own earbuds. But will the Lightning cable be able to endure all this added usage? Apple's cord already has a habit of fraying from time to time, so you might want to have some extras around if it's destined to become the iOS ecosystem's do-everything cable.