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Apple changes MFi policy in response to POP charger Kickstarter campaign

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December 26, 2012

The POP charging station from Edison Junior prompted a policy change from Apple

The POP charging station from Edison Junior prompted a policy change from Apple

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Last week, after Apple pulled the plug on the POP multi-device charging station crowdfunding campaign, the device was set to claim the dubious honor of becoming the largest refund from a Kickstarter project to date. After exceeding its funding goal almost three times over, Apple informed the device’s creator, James Siminoff, that its licensing rules wouldn’t allow a device that featured both Lightning and 30-pin adapters. Apple says it has now reviewed its specifications, possibly giving POP the green light.

Available as AC-powered and portable battery-powered models, the POP is a minimalist all-in-one charger that features two USB ports on the underside of the unit, along with four retractable cords that were originally intended to charge Apple and micro-USB devices using a 30-pin/micro-USB combo tip. However, after the release of the iPhone 5, the design was changed to replace two of the 30-pin connectors with two Lightning connectors. It was here that Siminoff ran into trouble.

The POP charger features a combo 30-pin/micro-USB connector

Although the device in its original form was part of Apple’s MFi (Made For iPod) program before the release of the iPhone 5, when it was submitted with the integration of Lightning connectors Siminoff was told it violated the technical specifications of Apple’s MFi license, which had been updated to forbid Lightning connectors featuring alongside any other connectors in a single device.

This prompted Siminoff’s company, Edison Junior, (which is also responsible for the DoorBot), to announce that it would offer a full refund of the full US$139,170 raised to the backers of its Kickstarter campaign, even though it would mean the company footing the more than $11,000 bill for both credit card and Kickstarter fees.

The POP charger comes in battery-powered 'Portable' and AC-powered 'Station' models

Apple has now decided to update its guidelines and will allow single devices to include both Lightning and 30-pin connectors alongside each other. But the announcement doesn’t necessarily mean that POP will go ahead, with no mention made of other connectors, such as micro-USB, which the POP also features.

Siminoff told Ars Technica that, “"If it has to be an Apple-only product, and Lightning can't be next to, say, an Android charger, then it's still not something we want to make.” This seems like something the notoriously protective Apple would be less likely to approve. But Siminoff remains hopeful, saying, “I hope they become customer friendly. Maybe we will be able to do [the POP charger] after all."

Siminoff’s original Kickstarter video pitch can be viewed below.

Sources: James Siminoff, Kickstarter, Ars Technica

About the Author
Darren Quick Darren's love of technology started in primary school with a Nintendo Game & Watch Donkey Kong (still functioning) and a Commodore VIC 20 computer (not still functioning). In high school he upgraded to a 286 PC, and he's been following Moore's law ever since. This love of technology continued through a number of university courses and crappy jobs until 2008, when his interests found a home at Gizmag.   All articles by Darren Quick
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9 Comments

As if people needed any further proof that Apple products are over-priced, under-featured non-customiseable. Now Apple is frustrating attempts to make their products easier to use.

Until these things change I will never spend a cent on their products.

Eventually more people will protest-vote by moving their business elsewhere when they see there are better, cheaper alternatives.

Australian
27th December, 2012 @ 02:31 am PST

I think Apple should allow it. IMO; limiting it to support only Apple products would only hurt Apple in the long run.

BigWarpGuy
27th December, 2012 @ 06:51 am PST

Sorry, but I will never purchase from Edison Junior as they tried to leverage Apple's hand and also used expletives in doing so. This is not to defend Apple as they too have issues, but Siminoff is very unprofessional and foolish; he proceeded without working out the details with Apple first and then lambasted Apple for his shortcomings!

Fahrenheit 451
27th December, 2012 @ 07:36 am PST

The charger / peripherals issue was the deciding factor for me and my purchase of a Galaxy S3. I have 3 MacBook Pro machines but having to buy $200. 00 in chargers and peripherals and not getting lost or stolen protection sealed the DEAL, that and being able to buy a touchstone backkknow allowing me to use my 5 existing touchstones was the final iPhone eliminator. This type of charger might have swayed me back to iPhone.

Rey Candelaria
27th December, 2012 @ 11:36 am PST

"I hope they become customer friendly"... Hah. That about sums up my thoughts on Apple.

Charles Bosse
27th December, 2012 @ 12:03 pm PST

Nothing like true ingenuity to make Apple mad. Something they can't make money off of? Preposterous! Make them not make, we are APPLE! How dare someone think of something useful and not give it to use for profit!

Really, Apple? You made something like 1% of the GNP index when the Iphone 5 came out and it's not enough?

VoiceofReason
27th December, 2012 @ 01:37 pm PST

Apple's done things like this before.

Look up what they did to Unitron in Brazil, while losing the entire Brazilian personal computer market to the PC instead of taking the smart path and licensing Unitron to produce the Macintosh until Brazil opened the country to computer imports. 1984 to 1992, that was a long time not selling Macs in Brazil except via grey market or shadier means.

Apple also went to a lot of effort to repeatedly break Jump Development's superior memory handling software. Every time Apple released a new Mac OS version, Jump had to change their software to make it work again. With 8.5/8.6 Jump threw in the towel. RAM Charger is only partially functional on those versions and not at all with 9.x.x. Apple's memory management didn't get any better, it was just altered to make RAM Charger not work.

Why didn't Apple concede that someone else did a better job and license RAM Charger, like they did with SuperClock! and other software that became integral components of Mac OS?

Same story with Connectix RAM Doubler. Its memory compression was of questionable utility, but its implementation of virtual memory was superior to Apple's. AFAIK, Connectix stuck with it through Mac OS 9.2.2.

RAM Charger combined with RAM Doubler's VM (compression OFF!) made Mac OS 7.5.5 through 8.6 a much nicer system. No problems with memory fragmentation, no need to fiddle with the memory size settings on programs and virtual memory worked a lot faster. I really missed it on Mac OS 9.x.x.

I don't know if Apple ever tried to license Jump Development's or Connectix's better memory management, but if the company didn't it was a really stupid move to NOT make Mac OS better.

I've never seen any company other than Apple make so many decisions that cost them so much yet manged to survive. Just think how much bigger Apple would be in South America if they'd had those eight years they threw away in Brazil.

That iron fist in a nicely tailored glove policy just keeps working for Apple.

Gregg Eshelman
27th December, 2012 @ 10:02 pm PST

I agree with Gregg E. Apple seems to have a policy of 'shooting itself in the foot'.

BigWarpGuy
28th December, 2012 @ 05:05 am PST

I think Apple underestimate the cumulative effect cr*p behavior like this has on gradually diminishing their customer base. They probably cannot see how petty this makes them appear.

Marke
31st July, 2013 @ 07:41 am PDT
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