Apple’s Ridiculous Lightning Rules Force $140,000 Kickstarter Project To Close [Updated]

Apple’s Ridiculous Lightning Rules Force $140,000 Kickstarter Project To Close [Updated]

Apple’s guidelines for its new Lightning connector have forced a popular Kickstarter project that sourced almost $140,000 in funding — more than twice the amount it required — to close and refund all of its backers. Electronics firm Edison Jr designed a charging station compatible with a multitude of Android and iOS devices called the POP. But after exceeding its funding goal, it quickly realized that Apple wouldn’t approve it.

Edison Jr designed two POP devices: the POP Portable and the POP Station, which were set to retail at $159 and $99 respectively. Both featured the ability to charge up to four devices at any one time using “dual-tip chargers,” and in an effort to cater to both Android and iOS devices — new and old — it offered microUSB, Lightning, and 30-pin connectors.

There was obviously a huge deal of demand for these devices, because the POP sourced $139,170 on Kickstarter after asking for just $50,000. Unfortunately for Edison Jr and its would-be customers, Apple’s seemingly pointless Lightning guidelines have crushed the project.

Edison Jr CEO Jamie Siminoff explains his company “didn’t get a yes or a no up front” from Apple. “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.”

“We are pissed,” Siminoff added. “I think they are being a bunch of assholes, and I think they’re hurting their customers.”

I must say I have to agree with Siminoff. I don’t understand the reason for rejecting accessories that have both a 30-pin connector and a Lightning connector. Apple may have valid reasons, but from the outside, it looks like a pointless rule that’s there purely to present an additional hurdle.

Edison Jr has now been forced to refund all of its customers and absorb more than $11,000 in credit card and Kickstarter fees. It’s now going to work on redesigning the POP so that it works as intended, but only if customers already have their own Lightning and 30-pin cables.

What do you think about Apple’s Lightning rules? Are they too strict, and could the Cupertino company have been a little more flexible? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.

Update: Good news: after all the outcry, Apple has backtracked and tweaked its Lightning rules to allow for the POP Station.

  • Paullloydjohnson

    Well clearly you think they are ‘ridiculous’. Yet more cult of mac opinionated journalism!

    I personally don’t see the point of this thing, it’s ugly and it’s kinda overkill. A decent USB hub would do the sane thing.

  • GenXerguy

    As long as you remember that Apple is always right and everything they do is for the customer that does not know what they want, but that they only want it from Apple, then everything makes sense.

    Apple has a VERY strong and sometimes misguided view of what an Apple customer wants. This albeit fabulous idea just doesn’t fit withing their ecosystem.

    Apple sucks more and more everyday.

  • Aaron

    Something about this story stinks. And it ain’t Apple. I think the developers are hiding something. Why would they have to refund money to everyone when they could quickly redesign the device with USB ports on the bottom, and include a USB-to-30-pin cable and a USB-to-Lightning cable in the package? Sounds like someone’s overreacting or we’re not being told the entire story.

  • nyc2sd30

    So they banked on Apple’s approval and went forward with development although there were never any signs Apple would say yes. As others have said, why not just have USB capable connectivity. Problem solved.

  • mdwolinski

    The project itself was funded before the lightning adaptor was announced. So, while they hoped they’d be able to redesign the product with the new adaptor, everyone who bought into the project would have gotten what they originally planned. The device already had two USB ports on it, so everyone with a new device would still have been able to use the device.

    I think Apple is being the scapegoat for another reason. My guess, production costs would have been too far outside what they had planned. The $11k of costs they are “absorbing” was probably far cheaper.

  • munale

    Something about this story stinks. And it ain’t Apple. I think the developers are hiding something. Why would they have to refund money to everyone when they could quickly redesign the device with USB ports on the bottom, and include a USB-to-30-pin cable and a USB-to-Lightning cable in the package? Sounds like someone’s overreacting or we’re not being told the entire story.

    if you notice the developers made sure to big up their refund abilities over kickstarter. Seems to me this is just a publicity stunt in order to their own kickstarter competitor on the map

  • mdwolinski

    if you notice the developers made sure to big up their refund abilities over kickstarter. Seems to me this is just a publicity stunt in order to their own kickstarter competitor on the map

    I noticed they were requiring people to register at their site to get their refunds. So, I’ll take back my production costs theory and move into the $11k for acquisition costs. $11 per person, not bad. Some companies pay above $100 to acquire a new customer. ;-)

  • Adrayven

    It does seem over dramatized. I saw this project, prior to it having plans on including the lighting connector. It had a few USB ports. I’m confused as to why they had ‘trouble’ with Apple? The USB ports on it would have been sufficient to accommodate any new tech.. I thought that was the point, a battery that could work with current, and future products..

    Now they retract and kill project because they couldn’t get a ‘built in’ lighting connector? HHRRRmmmmmm.. odd.

  • marioyohanes

    Well, Apple maybe being an asshole, but surely the developer is a total scam on this issue. They asking for money to create something that didn’t exists yet and for something that they have zero idea whether it could be done or not. Kickstarter is not a place for R&D or gambling, you have to fulfill your promises no matter what when the funds collected. Otherwise, it simply just a scam!

    Like anyone else said, they could simply just remove the Lightning connector and add USB port, problem solved. Or, only refund to people who truly wants Lightning connector, which I believe, considering they collected the funds before iPhone 5, not many people wants that refund.

  • Constable_Odo

    I wondered why Apple’s share price was down again, today. After reading this article, I understand the reason. Apple has gone into total failure mode.

  • technochick

    We don’t know the exact rules or the exact specs of this project so calling it ridiculous is a bit much.

    And it is worth note that said designer created a kickstarter clone that provides the refunds that kickstarter does not (via their site) AND he is requiring anyone that wants their money back to sign up on his site to get their funds back. Just makes all of this reek of a stunt. They had said they intended to support the alleged 19 pin adapter so they could have used that as an excuse because they never intended to make anything but a pack of sign ups for this new site

  • theiceman

    I just want to point out that this article is saying that apple forced the company to refund the money. This is not the case at all. They chose to refund the money. It’s sad that journalists are writing blatant lies

  • Robert X

    WRONG! The kickstarter project didn’t even check with Apple BEFORE it began to make sure it was even possible. Apple is not at fault here, it is the projects fault for not doing DUE DILIGENCE. This article needs to be taken down or at the very least re-written to be factual.

  • joewaylo

    They should have just made this a 10 USB system with a huge battery.

  • Apok76

    The Kickstarter project was bad. Never ever make a device with proprietary cables, just a bunch of USB ports.

  • stevewoz

    Apple’s $20 micro-USB to Lightning adapter (tiny tiny), as well as the $30 30-pin to Lightning adapter, make this a minor issue. But I still scratch my head wondering why when it’s just a cable to attach your paid for iPhone. One startup I spoke with ran into a 30% Apple [tax] on their product to use the 30-pin port.

  • Jonathan Alexander Llamas

    I think

    They should have just made this a 10 USB system with a huge battery.

    I agree. i think the same HUb only with 4 USB charges, that way its much more open to any other USB charging devices.

  • HunterD

    Sounds like they should have cleared this with Apple before doing something such as this. Doesn’t seem promising, anyways. Essentially a more complicated charging system? Yay?

  • ulyssesric

    This is the stupidest excuse to suspend a Kickstarter project I’ve ever heard. Why don’t they just made the connector of that retractable cable a mini-USB, and provide convertors for micro-USB, 30 pin or Lighting ? They can even sale the convertors separately. There were lots of similar “chargers” in the era of featured phones, I do even own a retractable “Ethernet cable” that can be used as charger for my old-faithful Nokia 3310, with a converter. Why people turned stupid while the phone is getting smarter ?

    There’re plenty of tricks to work around a regulation, but they choose the easiest way: they gave up. And THAT is the real “ridiculous” part in this whole story. Either they’re too stupid to find a work around, or they gave up that project for other reason an grab a lame excuse to defend their dignity. From that I’d say, these guys would never success in ever aspect.

  • kevin13769

    AND they are STILL for sale on there own website…! Reeks of scam to me right about now, they launch a site you must register too, to get your details as well for the refund, my 1st call would be to the credit card company who will refund in full with NO argument as they have already stated it will NOT be delivered, and the credit card company will take the money back from kickstarter, who is in fact the seller regardless of there terms. They will take legal action against the developer i am sure for there loss, and it will be a kick in the teeth as will cost the developer even more money that the $11,000 estimated right about now… Slimey git in my opinion…!

About the author

Killian BellKillian Bell is a staff writer based in the U.K. He has an interest in all things tech and also covers Android over at CultofAndroid.com. You can follow him on Twitter via @killianbell.

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