It’s been a long time coming, but at CES 2019, Belkin has announced the first Apple-approved USB-C to Lightning cables as part of its new BoostCharge lineup. (There are also USB-A to Lightning and USB-A to USB-C options, but those are decidedly less exciting.)
This is a big deal (to me, at least) since USB-C to Lightning cables are the only way to take advantage of fast charging on recent iPhone models, and until today, Apple hasn’t let anyone else build one. (Due to how the MFi program works, if you want to have a Lightning plug on your product, you have to pay Apple’s licensing fees and follow Apple’s rules.)
But now, there is a second option. Belkin is offering four-foot, six-foot and 10-foot cables in a speckled black or white design. At between $24.99 to $34.99, depending on the cable length, Belkin’s cables aren’t actually cheaper than Apple’s, but its at least a start. And with a 10-foot length option that’s longer than anything Apple offers, it shows how third-party cables can provide features or functionality that Apple’s cables haven’t.
Hopefully, now that the interdict appears to have been lifted, cheaper USB-C to Lightning cables will follow soon. The new cables also won’t be shipping until sometime this spring, but it’s better than nothing.
Along with the new charging cables, Belkin also announced a few other products at CES. There’s a pair of BoostCharge USB-C chargers, one meant for cars and another standard wall plug, both of which can output up to 27W of power. There’s also a new BoostCharge USB-C battery pack, which offers 20,000mAh of charge, can output at up to 30W (enough to fast charge Apple’s latest iPad Pros as well as power a Switch or a 12-inch MacBook), and features an additional 12W USB-A port, too. It’ll cost $129.99 when it releases in the spring.
Belkin also has news on the smart home front under its Wemo brand, with the announcement of two new Wemo smart light switches. Available in either a $39.99 single-pole or $49.99 three-way model, the new switches allow for smart home control of your lights. And along with Alexa and Google Assistant support, the new switches are also Wemo’s third product (along with the Mini Smart Plug and Dimmer Switch) to support Apple’s HomeKit natively without the need for a bridge device. Both versions of the light switch will be available spring / summer 2019.