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AZ Tech Beat | November 16, 2019

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Hardware Design Project: USB Power Adapter for Apple Products Rejected by Kickstarter?

Hardware Design Project: USB Power Adapter for Apple Products Rejected by Kickstarter?
Reid Simpson

Developers Mike Montalvo and Balaji Raghavan have set out to improve the user experience of the Apple Bluetooth Magic Trackpad and Wireless Keyboard. Their invention: Switch the power source for both these accessories from battery powered to USB plug-in. This way, dead batteries will be kept from filling landfills, and users will never have to worry about the loss of power to these accessories, ever again. Pretty cool. Also, they are keeping the same sleek Apple design for their project, so don’t worry – the minimalist style remains!

The Product

The Kickstarter Story

Once they were ready to get this project funded, they turned to Kickstarter. No surprise there. However, what is surprising is that their project was rejected! Why? Well, it’s a long story. Do you remember the runaway success of Pebble, the E-Paper watch for iPhone & Android that was funded on Kickstarter, and the one I wrote about not too long ago? (See previous article here). The thing is that $10,266,845 got processed through Kickstarter for that project alone, just about 69,000 pebbles were pre-ordered and promised to be delivered by September of 2012, and let’s just say, backers may have to wait a bit longer due to production delays. So, Kickstarter is a bit nervous about strictly hardware projects that need successful production before being sent to the backers.

All this to say, in response to the Pebble scenario, Kickstarter may be placing a temporary stop on accepting (some) pure hardware projects. Unfortunate for both Mike and Balaji as they are huge Kickstarter fans and frequently monitor the new technology / design projects.

Moving Forward . . .

So, after being shutdown by Kickstarter, they took their project to the second most popular crowdfunding website: Indiegogo. They launched the project with a $6,500 goal, and have currently received just about $2,500. However, time is ticking . . . the project ends in a couple weeks! Check out their project page, and if you are currently a user of these Apple accessories, you may want to support these guys and get your hands on one of those cool attachments. You’ll be saving the planet, and never needing to scour your desk drawers in search for batteries again!

  • If you want a follow-up story about Kickstarter frustrations, let me know. YouPag.es was accepted by Kickstarter and we put a lot of effort into preparing our posting. Then, when we submitted our posting for final approval, they declined it. You can appeal, but they don’t tell you why they declined you so you don’t even know how to respond (perhaps because they can’t defend their rules since they consistently break them). We aren’t mad about being declined, just about the terrible way they handled it. Very surprised and
    disappointed in Kickstarter. Other gripers: 
    http://amplicate.com/hate/kickstarter

    • Reid

      Hi Mark. Thanks for the comment. So sorry to hear about your Kickstarter troubles as well. What a frustrating process that would have been after going through all of your preparation work! Are you looking to take YouPag.es to another crowdfunding site such as Indiegogo in the future? Keep us posted!

      • Thanks, Reid. Very likely we will pursue crowd funding in the near future. If so I do expect it will be indiegogo. I’ll let you know if/when we do. Thx

  • This USB PA looks like an awesome product, by the way.

  • Re. Kickstarter Rules:  They seem to be designed around maintaining their brand/image. But I’m not sure what their brand is anymore. It’s not just creative stuff like it used to be. It’s everything. Seems like they are slowly diluting their brand by breaking their own rules. Maybe that’s ok? 

    • Reid

      Yes! I would agree 100%. They emerged as the cool / urban / creative crowdfunding site but quickly became #1. En route, I think they have opened up to new ideas, and then tarnished the brand. Unfortunate for those projects they rejected as they were in the midst of figuring out who they were. Thanks.

  • George

    Clearly there are people that want the USB charge but that sorts of defeats the purpose of a wireless device. There is a USB keyboard (albeit not as nice as the wireless) but the main reason I use the wireless is because its… wireless. I find it odd that people would then trade that in (even though there is an option to switch back…

    • Reid

      Hi George. I understand where you’re coming from. For this product, I think the user has to love not needing batteries anymore . . over the love for wireless functionality. I too like using these accessories wirelessly to limit cords on my desk.