Apple changes MFi policy in response to POP charger Kickstarter campaign
By Darren Quick
December 26, 2012
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.
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.
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.