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Apple Kills a Kickstarter Project - Updated 471

Posted by Soulskill
from the there-is-but-one-way dept.
Nerdfest writes "Venturebeat is reporting that a successfully funded Kickstarter project for a portable phone charger that works with both Apple and Android devices has been canceled because Apple wouldn't let the creators license its Lightning connector. Quoting: 'Edison Junior, the technology and design lab behind the POP portable power station, is returning the full $139,170 in funding it received from Kickstarter backers to develop the device. Unfortunately, Apple has refused to give the project permission to license the Lightning charger in a device that includes multiple charging options. ... "We didn’t get a yes or a no up front," Siminoff said. "But as we kept going back and forth it was clear that it was getting harder. Then, when we saw that they weren’t even going to allow a Lightning connector and a 30-pin connector together, we knew it was over." He also said that, while Apple is a private company and can do whatever it wishes, it should watch out. "When you do things that are bad for the customer I think it will be bad for them.”''" Update: 12/21 22:16 GMT by S : Apple has relented. A spokesman for the company told Ars, "Our technical specifications provide clear guidelines for developing accessories and they are available to MFi licensees for free. We support accessories that integrate USB and Lightning connectors, but there were technical issues that prevented accessories from integrating 30-pin and Lightning connectors so our guidelines did not allow this. We have been working to resolve this and have updated our guidelines to allow accessories to integrate both 30-pin and Lightning connectors to support charging."
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Apple Kills a Kickstarter Project - Updated

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  • Again? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by gagol (583737) on Friday December 21, 2012 @09:53AM (#42358887)
    Apple is hell-bent to keep its customers by the balls, the customers develop feelings for the entity... Stockholm syndrome anyone?
  • Re:Dear Apple (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Zocalo (252965) on Friday December 21, 2012 @09:56AM (#42358917) Homepage
    Exactly my thoughts. I'm actually wondering if they fscked up somehow and are trying to set Apple up as a scapegoat. What is stopping them from just pressing ahead with every connector except the Lightning port and simply saying "we'd like to have done that, but Apple didn't let us" if they really want to draw attention to Apple's supposed monopolistic behaviour. It would still have been useful to everyone who doesn't have one of Apple's latest devices and if Apple ever changed their minds then a v2.0 version of the device, or maybe they could just make the connectors modular like some PSU connectors are and enable a potential compatability upgrade later?

    Very odd indeed.
  • by Kergan (780543) on Friday December 21, 2012 @10:05AM (#42358991)

    I fail to see how or why this Kickstarter project could possibly need a license from Apple for any of this to work. They could build it with a bunch of USB slots and toss in a disclaimer: "cables not included." There, problem solved.

    Or am I missing something obvious?

  • Re:Dear Apple (Score:4, Interesting)

    by ackthpt (218170) on Friday December 21, 2012 @10:09AM (#42359027) Homepage Journal

    RTFA.

    This is not necessarily the end of the Edison Junior’s portable power project. Siminoff told me that the team will be re-focusing on a device that supports Android phones and tablets and Apple products as well, if backers wish to use a Lightning-to-USB connector, or an older 30-pin connector. They’ll only build that device, however, if the crowdfunding community wants it.

    They want to do that, but they'd be building a different project than what people pledged for. So for obvious reasons they would need to start over.

    Or team up with someone who does have the license. If there is anyone.

    Then again, could they manufacture a connector which coincidentally works?

    Ah, such are the things a patent suit lawyer dreams of.

    "Well kill them, then eviscerate them, then flay them, then give them a wedgie!"

  • by argoff (142580) * on Friday December 21, 2012 @10:11AM (#42359047)

    Because in the USA, at least, you can't patent an interface. You can patent all sorts of other stuff, but interface patents are one of the few things you can't patent? That's why AMD and Compaq were able to waltz in and kick IBM's and Intel's ass when it came to pin-socket compatible PC's.

  • Re:Dear Apple (Score:2, Interesting)

    by jo_ham (604554) <joham999 AT gmail DOT com> on Friday December 21, 2012 @10:11AM (#42359051)

    Hey want to buy this new charger that only works with old iPhones, iPads, and iPod touches but none of the current generation.....
    Yea what is the problem with this?

    The design had USB ports on it from the start that work with any device that doesn't have the ports it includes.

    No problem with this... apparently, yet still cancelled.

    Maybe they realised that they can't compete with things on Amazon that do exactly the same thing for $20.

  • Re:Dear Apple (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Dupple (1016592) on Friday December 21, 2012 @10:31AM (#42359223)

    It was a scam all along.

    1. Start a new website, competing with Kickstarter
    2. think up a way to generate some media attention by creating an Apple-related product that's never intended for release.
    3. Then tell everyone how Apple screwed you over.

    Why not just supply multiple USB ports so people can use their own cables? Why not just make an alteration to BYO cables and offer a refund to any who didn’t want it like that?

    No headlines and publicity for the site - that's why

  • by swb (14022) on Friday December 21, 2012 @10:31AM (#42359229)

    Forget the Maps debacle, in my opinion it's the Lightning connector that will ultimately do more damage.

    And it's not the connector's technical design -- I think it works pretty slick and is a definite improvement mechanically over the 30 pin connector and superior to MicroUSB as well.

    It's the overall handling of Lightning that I think is an issue. First of all, shouldn't Lightning have been on the iPad 3 first? IMHO, the iPads are slightly less connector-centric and a release on iPad would have given accessory developers enough lead time to get products designed and through Apple's approval process in time for actual accessories and adapters to be available at iPhone 5 launch. As far as I know, there are very few Lightning accessories available right now -- some car chargers (who hasn't switched to a USB connector by now?) and maybe a Bose dock, but not much else.

    The other thing is -- why is Apple being so difficult with device approvals? One thing Apple had going for it was a kind of network effect, where one of things that made iPhone/iPad appealing was a broad range of accessories available for it. By making accessory development difficult, they hurt innovation, which means less stuff, and in theory the Lightning connector should make for innovative products because of its digital nature.

    IMHO this is really what will hurt Apple, not Maps, which will be good enough for most people as-is (it's always worked well for me), as well as get better over time.

  • Re:Dear Apple (Score:3, Interesting)

    by IamTheRealMike (537420) <mike@plan99.net> on Friday December 21, 2012 @11:53AM (#42360131) Homepage
    Lightning cables, unlike any other connector I can think of outside of HDMI connectors, have custom chips inside them designed to prevent people making their own cables or accessories. So unfortunately you can't make your own.

Whatever is not nailed down is mine. Whatever I can pry up is not nailed down. -- Collis P. Huntingdon, railroad tycoon

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