Accessory makers in Apple's Made-for-iPhone/iPad/iPod (MFi) licensing program now have the ability to create new types of products as the company adds specs for a Lightning to 3.5mm output cable and USB-C ports.
For any of you that doesn't know what MFi certified is, it is a manufacturing certification given to Apple's external accessories manufactures to indicate that the product has met Apple's performance and quality standards.
As the industry slowly plods towards transitioning to USB-C - in Apple's case, at least in terms of laptops - tiny shifts like this are important as the port technology progressively becomes more popular. Third-party companies can now build things like controllers, speakers, and battery packs with USB-C charging while at the same time keeping Apple's stamp of approval. That is one of the reasons Apple has added specs for other non proprietary connectors in the past such as the Ultra Accessory Connector for headphone makers previous year.
Making matters worse, USB-C-to-Lightning cables are the only way to get real fast-charing with the iPhone X and 8, making the company's official cable the only viable option. Products are also allowed to bundle USB-C cables with the MFi accessories. For example if you wanted to connect your iPhone to a speaker or HiFi system that does not support Bluetooth, using this dongle is one way to go about it, especially since we doubt there are many Lightning to 3.5mm aux cables lying around.