Lightning cables are small 8-pin connectors used with Apple hardware, including iPhones, iPads, and iPods, to connect them to host computers and other devices, and are also used as charger cables. Many companies have created their own lightning cables, but Apple have held the 'Lightning' trademark since 2012.
When they were introduced to Apple's range of accessories in 2012 in combination with the port appearing for the first time in their devices, lightning cables replaced their 30-pin predecessors as a denser but smaller and more flexible connector that measures just 6.7mm x 1.5mm. With a symmetrical design on either side, the male lightning connector can be inserted into the female port in either orientation as the processors in these products are designed to route data and power correctly no matter which way up the connector is inserted. This helps to prevent damage to the female port that could be caused from incorrect insertion, and there are various adaptors available to allow for wider compatibility, such as those for audio jacks.
Lightning cables are multifunctional and can not only provide power transfer (to charge the device) and data transfer (such as loading images to a host computer), but can also transmit audio when headphones with a lightning port are connected to the chosen device.