It didn’t take long after the initial reports of ‘Made for iPhone’ (MFi) certified strobes were on the way for one to appear. Anker is first out of the gate with its iPhone LED Flash priced at $50 and should be available at any point. The product listing shows December 27, but that day has come and gone with nothing appearing on Anker’s website.
We do, however, get a good idea of what to expect out of the flash. It will take advantage of the Lightning connector for tight synchronization, and will work out of the box with the native camera app along with third-party apps. No word on which apps, but it’s a safe bet the more popular ones will jump in to support the expanded MFi program.
Anker promises 10,000 shots per charge with the ability to recharge via any Apple, Anker, or MFi USB to Lighting cable. It promises 2x the range and 4x the brightness over the onboard flash of the iPhone 11 and comes with a differ.
When the product finally goes live, it should be listed under the ‘other’ category on Anker’s website. Searching for the product reveals nothing, so if you’re in the market for an external iPhone flash, you can bookmark this page.
It’s an interesting first product, though I’m more intrigued to see what a company like Profoto can accomplish with the new capability.
MFi Lightning and the Wireless iPhone?
While the expansion of the MFi program is excellent news for accessory makers, it does bring up a potential pitfall. What if Apple drops Lightning for a completely wireless iPhone? That synchronization goes up in smoke. At $50, the Anker LED Flash is cheap enough to snap up for creative iPhone photography or videography projects.
Companies like Profoto currently rely on Bluetooth, and I’d be damn sure to keep that as an option just in case Apple feels the need to be ‘courageous’ again. The rumored wireless iPhone would make an appearance in 2021 according to reports, so nearly two years of the expanded MFi program before any fragmentation of the iPhone line.
Another bummer is it seems Apple is not planning on introducing USB-C anytime soon. I’d rather have that over figuring out how I’m charging my portless iPhone at the airport.
Look for more companies to jump into the MFi space with iPhone strobes and flashes. I’m curious to see how Moment could integrate it into a case. If there’s a stylish way, I’d count on them delivering something compelling.