A recent statement from a third-party iPod and iPhone accessory manufacturer has raised questions regarding the scope and nature of Apple’s Works With iPhone certification, which was until now understood to guarantee that an accessory would be compatible with current and upcoming iPhone hardware. In a press release issued today, however, Altec Lansing announced that its T612 Digital Speaker System for iPhone and iPod has “passed ‘Works with iPhone’ iPhone 3G test requirements for use with Apple’s latest generation iPhone,” noting that the system received certification for the original iPhone in January 2008.
According to Apple, Works With iPhone certification is supposed to be issued only after special radio interference and electrical testing have been conducted by an independent lab, and the company requires developers to purchase and integrate a special Apple authentication chip into their devices. However, readers and iLounge editors have confirmed that the iPhone 3G triggers Apple’s “This accessory is not made to work with iPhone” nag screen when used with at least two previously WWi-certified products, a screen that should not appear when connecting to any WWi accessory. One of these products, the iHome iP99 Alarm Clock Radio, displays the nag screen but otherwise continues to operate as noted in our earlier review, the other, XtremeMac’s InCharge Auto, also displays the screen yet continues to charge the iPhone 3G. Additional WWi accessories we have tested from JBL, Altec Lansing, and Belkin continue to work as they did with the original iPhone.
There have also been a number of products released with the Works With iPhone badge despite deviations from the radio or electrical standards originally understood to be required for certification. It remains unclear what, if any, changes Apple has made to the certification program for the iPhone 3G, or how many previously released WWi products may be incompatible with the iPhone 3G.