Shortly after Lightning was introduced, along with the iPhone 5, an apparent authentication chip was discovered. To clarify the rumors and understand how the cable works, Chipworks decided to dissect the new cable.
Inside, they found four chips: two very simple (with only one pair of transistors), an NXP NX20P3 and a chip in the catalog by Texas Instruments. The latter is the so-called ?authentication chip?.
Authentication chip under a microscope.
However, the teardown showed that the TI BQ2025 does not have high security levels, but ?just enough?. This mysterious chip is quite simple, even more so than those present in current printer cartridges.
In fact, it shouldn't be too complicated to circumvent this security system, since a Chinese company is already selling Apple-unauthorized Lightning docks and cables. This is good news for those looking for alternative and usually cheaper solutions.