Third party accessory companies have always aimed to work in harmony with Apple devices, and do it quickly. The competition is so fierce that some manufacturers have even tried to guess an Apple device’s dimensions (or use leaks) in order to be the first to put out a case or accessory for the latest Apple device. At one point, Apple even threatened to ban accessory-makers that tried to produce and manufacture designs based off of leaks. Apple, however, has decided to try and level the playing field by introducing new packaging and new ‘Apple Tested Cases’ to its lineup.
We’ve seen Apple cooperate with third party manufacturers before: they sell non-Apple accessories in store, and have also released their device’s dimensions to the public so that accessories can work seamlessly with Apple’s smartphones and tablets. Recall just this past May that Apple launched their “Made for Apple Watch” program, detailing the specs and measurements that all third-party Apple Watch bands must comply with. But now, Apple is taking things a step further by releasing their testing guidelines on their new page.
Although these guidelines were already in place with Apple’s “Made for Apple” (MFi) programs, this is the first time consumers are getting a look at what Apple deems “necessary” for their devices. The page reveals the core stipulations for third-party iPhone and tablet cases: design, camera, acoustics, sensors, and cellular/wireless connectivity. It also notes that Apple performs a series of drop tests to ensure “the design is strong enough for day-to-day use.”
In the same vein, Apple revealed that it will begin to offer co-designed packaging for the third-party accessories it sells in Apple Stores. The packaging will be reformatted to include better quality photos and simpler font contained within the ever-recognizable mostly white packaging. This will create a unified look across the stores. Retailers have already been notified that new packaging will be appearing for big-name manufacturers like Tech21, Sena, Incase, Mophie, Logitech, and Life Proof, according to 9to5Mac.
9to5Mac also revealed that, “Apple will work with more accessory makers to support the new packaging style as it reduces inventory of items that do not fit the new look.” Which means that there might be a significant drop in the amount of third-party accessories that are for sale in Apple Stores…for now. Apple Stores generate huge amounts of foot traffic, so it wouldn’t be surprising if more third-party manufacturers start conforming to Apple’s requests.