There are standard USB connectors and non-standard special custom connectors in different USB cables. On those special non-standard USB connectors, I have earlier covered Reversible USB connectors that make old USB connectors (like USB A and micro-USB) so that they can be plugged in both ways (like USB type C connector).
One day when I was looking at one USB charging cable I had (received from seminar or fair show).
Closeup pictures reveal that this cable has somewhat interesting looking micro-USB connector in it.
This connector has extra contacts on the one side of what the micro-USB connector. Those contacts resemble on some ways the Apple lightning connector used in iPad and iPhone. Could this connector in the cable be a combined Apple Lightning and MicroUSB? Size is such that it could plug to Apple charging port and microUSB port.
Let’s search information on Apple connector. Wikipedia Lightning connector page says: “Lightning is a proprietary computer bus and power connector created and designed by Apple Inc. Introduced on September 12, 2012, to replace its predecessor, the 30-pin dock connector, the Lightning connector is used to connect Apple mobile devices like iPhones, iPads, and iPods to host computers, external monitors, cameras, USB battery chargers, and other peripherals.” Apple is the sole proprietor of the trademark and copyrights for the designs and specifications of the Lightning connector.
Using 8 pins Lightning is an 8-pin connector that carries a digital signal and charging power. Here is the pinout from Wikipedia:
Pin-out Receptacle view
Pin 1 GND Ground
Pin 2 L0p Lane 0 positive
Pin 3 L0n Lane 0 negative
Pin 4 ID0 Identification/control 0
Pin 5 PWR Power (charger or battery)
Pin 6 L1n Lane 1 negative
Pin 7 L1p Lane 1 positive
Pin 8 ID1 Identification/control 1
The receptacle side of the connector has contact on the one side. The original Apple plug has contacts on both sides, so it can be plugged on both ways and makes always contact.
The iPhone Wiki says:
All 8 pins are used for signals, and all or most can be switched to be used for power.
The outer plug shell is used as ground reference and connected to the device shell.
The pins on the plug are deactivated until after the plug is fully inserted, when a wake-up signal on one of the pins cues the chip inside the plug. This avoids any shorting hazard while the plug isn’t inside the connector.
My connector on my cable does not have all the eight pins, but the pins 1 & 5 on the Apple’s Lightning Connector are the ones used to pass the dc voltage to charge iphone / ipad. My cable has them. And those contacts are directly wired to then ground and +5V on the USB A end (no chips in between). The Lane 0 signals were directly wired to the USB data lines. The original Apple plug has contacts on both sides, but this connector in my cable had only one one side, so it needs to be plugged to the right way to work.
It seems that this is not the first attempt to combine micro-USB and Apple Lightning connector. After some Googling I found Verge article This Kickstarter aims to deliver a 2-in-1 Micro USB and Lightning cable that claims that LMcable is the world’s first cable containing a 2-in-1 connector that can work on both micro USB and lightning devices. With LMcable, you can easily charge any device with no matter lightning port (iPhone) or micro USB port (Android). So this novelty connector has found it’s way outside Kickstarter campaign or this campaign was started with connector invented by someone else already.