We’re used to finding system-on-a-chip processors inside smartphones and tablets. After all, how else would they work? But, an unusual place to find them is inside an accessory used to connect your iDevice to a digital output. When’s the last time you opened up an AV cable and found a chip inside it? Turns out, Apple’s Lightning Digital AV Adapter has one, complete with 256MB RAM.
This discovery was made by some folk over at Panic Software who happened to be troubleshooting the accessory for an upcoming project. They’re not 100% certain why the chip is there, the assumption is that its used to send content to a TV/Monitor/Projector using Apple’s own AirPlay protocol.
All we can figure is that the small number of Lightning pins prevented them from doing raw HDMI period, and the elegance of the adapter trumped the need for traditional video out, so someone had to think seriously out of the box. Or maybe they want get as much functionality out of the iPad as possible to reduce cost and complexity.
Similar to the chip authentication chip inside the Lightning connector itself, it goes to show that Apple is keen to ensure that they’re hard to copy. It’s become increasingly difficult for third party manufacturers to create fully compatible accessories without signing up to Apple’s “made for iPhone” authorization process.