Jamie Siminoff

Apple backs down. Decides not to be 'a bunch of ---holes'

December 22, 2012: 7:19 AM ET

"Technical issues" that scuttled a $140,000 Kickstarter project may have been resolved

Pop charging station, with iPad

Prototype of Pop charging station, with iPad

FORTUNE -- It's a story familiar to any third-party developer who's tried to bend Apple's (AAPL) inflexible technical guidelines.

  • Start-up comes up with a novel idea -- in this case a portable charging device called Pop that can simultaneously recharge up to four devices: iPhones (new and old), iPads (mini and maxi), even Androids (via mini-USB).
  • Raises capital -- $139,170 through Kickstarter, nearly three times the $50,000 it was asking for.
  • Runs into an Apple roadblock: For obscure technical reasons, the company won't grant the license needed to support both Apple's new Lightning and old 30-pin connectors.

And that, it appeared, was that. Jamie Siminoff, CEO of Edison Junior, refused to make a "shitty" product that didn't perform as he promised his backers it would. He announced on Thursday that he was killing Pop, returning every penny of the money he had raised and swallowing more than $11,000 in credit card and Kickstarter fees in the process.

"We are pissed," he told BetaBeat. " I think they [i.e. Apple] are being a bunch of assholes, and [I] think they're hurting their customers."

Now here's the twist: On Friday, after Siminoff's dilemma was widely -- and in some cases, gleefully -- reported in tech press, Apple backed down. It issued a statement that read, in part:

"We support accessories that integrate USB and Lightning connectors but there were technical issues that prevented accessories from integrating 30-pin and Lightning connectors so our guidelines did not allow this. We have been working to resolve this and have updated our guidelines to allow accessories to integrate both 30-pin and Lightning connectors to support charging."

Although the reversal was also widely reported -- as a good news ending to a bad news story -- Siminoff still seems to have doubts. "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," Siminoff told Ars Technica after hearing about Apple's updated guidelines. "I hope they become customer friendly. Maybe we will be able to do [the POP charger] after all."

UPDATE: An Apple spokesperson called to reiterate that it has supported accessories with Lightning connectors and USB/Micro USB since Lightning was first announced.

Current Issue
  • Give the gift of Fortune
  • Get the Fortune app
  • Subscribe
Powered by WordPress.com VIP.