Apple hides an ARM chip in the Lightning Digital AV adapter

Recently, the staff at AppleInsider reported that the Apple Digital Lightning AV adapter was equipped with an ARM system chip resting inside the connector at the device end. The SoC is complete with 256MB of RAM, which some speculate could be a decoder for AirPlay. The secret secret was discovered by the developers at Panic Inc. who stumbled on the chip while troubleshooting the device in their upcoming project for video-out capabilities.

The Lightening Digital AV adapter

The Lightening Digital AV adapter



Apple describes this adapter as capable of mirroring the exact same content that is on your device to everyone in the room on a large screen television, projector or any other HDMI-compatible display. The adapter is capable of 1080p video output from an iPhone 5, fifth-gen iPod touch, fourth-gen iPad or the new iPad mini. The adapter sports a Lightning connector along with an HDMI interface.


As of now, it is unclear why would Apple embed such hardware on a simple accessory, but the developers at Panic believe that the adapter is capable of Apple’s AirPlay protocols. The possibility of having a system chip inside the connector itself is because the Lightning adapter does not have enough pins to support raw HDMI signals. But this is still unclear.

ARM SOC with 2560 MB RAM found inside the adapter

ARM SOC with 256MB RAM found inside the adapter



As far as Panic thinks, the chip could be a convertor or decoder with an operating system encoded within. This OS boots up immediately when connected, which explains the lengthy startup time for the video output through it. The reason for doing so could be due to the inability of raw HDMI output from the Lightning connector and the possibility of Apple’s engineers trying to reduce the cost of the equipment with maximum functionality. Hence, someone had to think out of the box and put  this tiny computer on an external accessory – and hence the Lightning Digital AV adapter. The use of a tiny computer chip inside the adapter also explains the whopping price tag of Rs 3,500 for the connector alone.


As of now, the entire information is in the grey area and the actual facts can only  be revealed by Apple. Hopefully, Panic digs deeper and finds out more on what the facts are. 

Published Date: Mar 02, 2013 01:39 pm | Updated Date: Mar 02, 2013 01:39 pm