Kickstarted mobe charger 'kicked to death by Apple'

A Lightning connector AND filthy USB? That's not how Cupertino works


Apple has apparently screwed a bullet into a project to build a charger for iPads, iPhones, Android mobes and other handheld gadgets.

The device includes Apple's new Lightning power and high-speed data connector but, we're told, the Cupertino giant refused to grant a licence for its use because the charger can also top up rival devices over USB and iThings that use the older 30-pin power plug.

And using protected Apple technology without a suitable licence can turn into a rather expensive pursuit.

The POP portable charger looks like a container one finds the middle of the table in fast-food joints: it's cylindrical with four retractable cables emerging from the base and capable of charging devices from an internal battery or mains supply.

Nearly $140,000 was donated to the project via the Kickstarter website - smashing through the $50,000 fundraising target. Its inventors got a batch of prototypes working before Apple apparently decided to withhold a licence for the Lightning connector, a key component for the charger. Now the team must work out how to go about refunding the donations.

The team has offered to refund all the money and lose $11,000 in credit card and Kickstarter fees in the process. The initial outcry from its potential users may encourage the designers to continue on without the Lightning plug.

Without approval from Apple the project was a non-starter as far as the POP's designers were concerned. Apple won't issue a licence for its Lightning connector to any device that offers alternative plugs; Apple is not a broad church.

The iPhone maker is legally free to restrict licensing as it sees fit, and would no doubt* argue that it is maintaining the simplicity and quality of its peripherals.

The solution is, of course, to buy all new Apple equipment and throw away everything without a Lightning connector; this is such a simple solution it makes one wonder why the people at POP even bothered fitting other connectors in the first place. ®

* If it acknowledged the question at all, Cupertino - get this - hasn't responded to our query on the matter.

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