Thursday, August 1, 2019

Lightning Video Adapters

Lisa Braun:

Here is my little thread about Lightning video adapters – also known as Haywire – which are actually computers that feature Apple Secure Boot and run Darwin kernel


Both support up to 1080p video output according to Apple and make use of the same SoC – S5L8747. Its part number is H9TKNNN2GD and according to The iPhone Wiki it has 256MB of RAM. Not much else is known about it

Unfortunately, these adapters are of terrible quality. HDMI adapter got 2 out 5 stars on US Apple Store web-site and reviews are all like this one[…]


Haywire itself doesn’t store any firmware (well, except for SecureROM), so iOS has to upload it every time. Firmware bundle for it is very tiny, around 25MB uncompressed. Shipped as preinstalled asset with iOS and/or can be downloaded.


You can easily connect Haywire to PC because it’s basically an USB device. All you need to get to accomplish is Lightning and micro-USB female breakout boards and few connecting wires[…]

All these years later, and iOS video output over Lightning is still less reliable than using the old Dock connector adapter.


2 Comments RSS · Twitter

I think it's long past time to move to USB C on iOS devices. Yes, yes, that's another can of worms, but the flexibility of USB C allows for an adapter to not require using an AirPlay adapter for a wired video connection (!!!). The fact these adapters are over engineered, expensive, and unreliable is frankly rather embarrassing.

P.s. Didn't the Panic guys already do the same teardown and analysis? Your link indicates they did. While I love this type of technical nitty gritty, it's weird people remain surprised by the same facts 6 years later. Even still, kudos to Lisa Braun for likewise taking the plunge. Interesting but baffling design should be a whole website!!!!

Couple more thoughts
1. The recovery mode tidbit is very interesting, not sure I remember seeing that last time around.

2. "I find myself frustrated with @Apple more than I used to, but every now and then I stumble on things like how #donglelife's powered by devices that secure boot always up-to-date Darwin-based firmware from the iOS host. Then I ask myself WTF the rest of this industry's even doing."

Um. I just want video output from my devices, not a mini computer. Thanks!

And then my man, @Thomas Nybergh doubles down on celebrating this hunk of junk that has terrible reviews from people motivated enough about Apple to actually leave reviews on the actual Apple store website!

"I’m just a computer janitor so I might very well have misunderstood something. The hardware’s definitely garbage, but isn’t the point of the firmware dance to offer up-to-date features and guarantee that the firmware comes from Apple?"

This guy is trying hard, but it really should be a pretty simple adapter. No, I don't really want my cables to get firmware updates. Sorry.

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