What is the difference between Apple C189 and C94 connectors?

MFi Lightning Cable

News of Apple’s new C189 connector to replace the traditional C89 connector. C89 is a USB-A to Lightning connector, and C189 is also a USB-A to Lightning connector.

Apple’s current C94 is the current mainstream USB-C to Lightning connector. Among them, C189 is the low-end version of C89 and supports 12W power. It is also worth noting that C189 and C89 can be used alternately in the same product, which means that the original C89 PPID can use C189 without re-certification.

In addition, the C189 connector uses the well-received ruthenium-rhodium plating on the C94 connector, which can effectively prevent the blackening and oxidation problem of traditional gold-plated terminals and achieve a smoother charging experience.

Apple uses C94 connector materials and launches C189 connectors to replace traditional C89 connectors. On the one hand, the coating is upgraded, which improves the user experience. On the other hand, the unified materials can effectively reduce the pressure on the supply chain.

For the Apple ecosystem, many old devices that do not support fast charging are still being used, and the market demand for USB-A to Lightning cables is still huge. And earphone products also use 5V charging, the traditional 5V/1A can well meet the charging needs, the new C189 connector can solve the oxidation problem of the old data cable, which will trigger a wave of data cable upgrades.

Among them, the Apple USB-C to Lightning data cable, from gold-plated C52 to ruthenium-rhodium-plated C91 to C94, requires only two chips from the past, and the integration is getting higher and higher, and the C189 connector is even more Only one chip can realize all the functions from USB-A to Lightning. Presumably, when Apple developed the C94 connector, it also considered backward compatibility.

We performed an IC-level analysis of the new C189 connector.

The comparison this time is the new C189 connector and a third-party MFi certified C94 data cable. The C189 connector retains the large AS3616A chip on the front of the C94, and removes the encryption chip on the back, saving material costs.

Through the chip-level analysis of the Apple C189 connector, it is found that most of the materials of the Apple C189 connector and the C94 connector are the same, but the encryption chip is removed. Apple’s C189 connector is the same as the main chip of C94 connector, but adopts a single-chip design, built-in handshake, PD fast charging function, and integrated PMU and MOS tube.

On the one hand, Apple’s move is to unify connector materials, which is convenient for the supply chain to stock up. Nowadays, USB PD fast charging has become the mainstream, and the shipment of C94 connectors from USB-C to Lightning is increasing. It is not cost-effective to reserve special materials for the USB-A interface. The mainstream C94 connector materials are used for simple modification and production. C189 connector, can effectively control the cost.

In addition, all traditional gold-plated connectors are upgraded to ruthenium-rhodium-plated alloys, which can effectively avoid the oxidation blackening and aging problem of traditional gold-plated contacts after long-term use, thereby improving the user experience. When C189 connectors are shipped in large quantities, it will also bring a new wave of MFi cable shipments.

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