FORTUNE — Apple’s (AAPL) peripheral certification program hasn’t been in the news much since Made for iPod morphed into Made for iPhone/iPod/iPad and then, in 2010, to MFi.
For nearly a decade, makers of devices that plug into Apple’s proprietary ports — FireWire, 30-pin dock, 4-conductor iPhone connectors, Lightning, etc. — grudgingly paid up to a 10% royalty (since reduced to $4 per connector) to Apple for the right to carry Cupertino’s “Made-for…” logos.
Now China’s Haier group — a major manufacturer of what the Brits call “white goods” and Americans “major appliances” (Haier tried to buy Maytag in 2005) — has joined the club. According to a press release issued Wednesday, the company’s Tianzun air conditioner is the world’s first major appliance certified to carry Apple MFi logo.
The AC is one of a family of Haier “smart appliances” that includes an Intelligent Cloud-controlled Wine Celler, a Cloud-controlled Washer, and an Intelligent Cloud Refrigerator.
A gimmick or a first-mover advantage? Your guess is as good as mine.