Apple is reportedly planning to hold a conference in China next month for its Made for iPod/iPhone/iPad (MFI) program partners, during which the company is expected to outline guidelines for third-party accessory makers who want to make products compatible with the new Lightning connector.

TechCrunch reports that 'a source close to Apple's accessory manufacturing partner' has said that the conference will take place in Shenzen on 7 and 8 November, where MFI partners will be briefed on the strict regulations of Lightning connector sales to third parties. The source says that the cost per part for the components required to produce Lightning accessories is "fairly high compared to other widely-available standards like USB."

The source says that Apple will introduce new rules with its Lightning connector, one of those being that the company will control the Lightning pin supply itself. Apple will reportedly supply approved MFI partners with production quantities of the pin "once their product is determined to have met its standards and specifications," reports TechCrunch.

A second source believes that, while Apple may be introducing these strict measures, it is likely that unauthorised copies will still be manufactured. A Chinese company already claims to have successfully cloned Apple's Lightning cable, and has produced its own third-party cable and dock. TechCrunch's source says that using Apple's Lightning components in unauthorised products could result in legal action, though.

The November conference should give manufacturers the green light to start rolling out iPhone 5 and new iPod compatible accessories, and we expect to see them flooding the shops in time for Christmas.

Apple is also expected to introduce a Lighting connector equipped iPad mini at its special event on Tuesday, so the upcoming conference could also provide manufacturers with the information they need to begin selling new accessories for the smaller tablet too.

See also:

Lightning to 30-pin Adaptor review
New iPhone 5 cases and accessories
New iPad mini panel leaks suggest no 16:9 display for Apple's upcoming tablet
New version of iPad 3 coming next week, iPad 4 in 'mid 2013'
Why an iPad mini might be the right tablet for you
Wishlist: The top 11 features of the iPad mini
Apple Stores to start stocking iPhone 5 cases this month?
Apple's Lighting to 30-pin adaptor 'beautifully manufactured' but difficult to mod