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Apple Kills a Kickstarter Project - Updated 471

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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  • Re:Dear Apple (Score:5, Informative)

    by IamTheRealMike ( 537420 ) on Friday December 21, 2012 @10:03AM (#42358973)


    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.

  • by ardiri ( 245358 ) on Friday December 21, 2012 @10:11AM (#42359045) Homepage

    no law.. but - everyone except apple agree'd to a universal charger.

    seems if you want to stick with apple; your screwed on this one. everyone should just boycott them :)

  • by DarwinSurvivor ( 1752106 ) on Friday December 21, 2012 @10:25AM (#42359175)
    Actually, they DID sign it, and now sell a $25 (USD) lightning-to-microUSB adapter (not included!) as their "compliance".
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday December 21, 2012 @10:36AM (#42359295)
    It's included if you buy an iPhone in Europe.
  • Re:Dear Apple (Score:5, Informative)

    by Cwix ( 1671282 ) on Friday December 21, 2012 @10:56AM (#42359515)

    Actually I think you are still wrong, the device they were promising to build had a 25,000 mAh battery. It could charge your phone ten times on one charge. You CANNOT find one that large for that price on Amazon.

    But by no means should you read the article or actually look anything up before you insist that your two cents is right in multiple posts.

    I went and checked, the closest thing I could find only had a 16,000 mAh battery, and it was $100. []

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

    by Lumpy ( 12016 ) on Friday December 21, 2012 @11:06AM (#42359609) Homepage

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

    Why? just buy belkin cables and include them in your box. No need to "license" anything. It's an end run I have seen on a lot of devices.

  • by medcalf ( 68293 ) on Friday December 21, 2012 @11:14AM (#42359699) Homepage

    Apple cares about making as much money for its shareholders as possible. Period.

    That is the purpose — the only purpose — of a business.

    Apple signed it, along with most other mobile device equipment vendors, then reneged on their promise and released the Lightning connector anyway.

    Wrong. The agreement does not require that the micro-USB be integrated to the device. An adapter (which Apple provides) is sufficient.

    Apple does not care about the environment,

    Wrong. Apple is a leader in making electronic devices greener, reusing and recycling them, and making its own facilities more environmentally friendly. That sounds like shilling, and it sounds like a press release, but it's nonetheless true. Not high on my list of concerns, personally, but I do hate inaccurate criticism of all kinds.

    it does not care about standards,

    It seems Apple cares about some standards, but not others. In particular, Apple cares about those standards that advance its business by making its customers' lives easier/better when using Apple devices, and not otherwise. And this makes them different from any other company how, exactly?

    it does not care about FRAND licensing of its patents,

    Based on what evidence. As far as I know, Apple patents that have been incorporated into standards have been FRAND licensed. It's just that most of Apple's patents don't get incorporated into industry standards.

    and it sure as hell doesn't care about its customers.

    Actually, I'd argue that Apple cares about its customers deeply. That they continue their astonishing sales and profit growth indicates that their customers agree. I assume you are not one of them, in which case Apple probably only cares about you if it could win you over without losing more of its current or prospective customers. Their performance since about 1998 indicates that they are pretty good judges of that.

  • by IamTheRealMike ( 537420 ) on Friday December 21, 2012 @11:56AM (#42360165)
    There's an authentication chip in the cables. The iPhone will refuse to charge if it can't handshake with the chip in the cable. To make a compatible cable you'd need to duplicate the chip, which is apparently hard.
  • My partner and I came up with a device that allows you to open a garage door with a smartphone. Just a box with a relay and a Bluetooth radio. When I started looking into whether or not we could do this for iPhone I found apples "Made for iPod" program...their hardware licensing scheme.

    The first thing they asked for was our attorney's contact information.

    A quick search showed me that it was going to cost in the ballpark of $20,000 to deal with Apple's bullshit. So that didn't happen.

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

    by Kelbear ( 870538 ) on Friday December 21, 2012 @12:15PM (#42360415)

    This lady figured out how to make your own apple cables, apparently it's pretty simple:

    "Reverse-engineering Apple's secret charging methods" []

    But even if you can make your own, I think the licensing issues prevent the possibility of selling them.

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

    by Theaetetus ( 590071 ) <> on Friday December 21, 2012 @12:28PM (#42360529) Homepage Journal

    Erm, yes, how silly of them to not anticipate that Apple would require licensing for a goddamn power plug

    It's not even that; they clearly tried to work within the licensing restrictions they knew would be in place, but Apple's response was completely unreasonable and it forced them to scrap the inclusion of the connector even though they probably had at least $10-$15 worth of margin built in to each unit to account for that.

    If Apple can't be wooed to sell the details of EIGHT FUCKING COPPER TRACES for $10 a unit, then yes, FUCK APPLE.

    It's not just eight fucking copper traces, but a chip that automatically detects orientation of the plug and reroutes signals between said traces so that pin 8 always acts like pin 8, even if you flip the plug and it's actually pin 1.

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

    by spire3661 ( 1038968 ) on Friday December 21, 2012 @02:40PM (#42362185) Journal
    Thats not just any lady, thats Ladyada, Entrepreneur of the Year.

"I'm not afraid of dying, I just don't want to be there when it happens." -- Woody Allen