Kickstarter Portable Power Project POP Killed By Apple, Refunding $139,170 To Supporters

By Alexandra Burlacu email: | Dec 23, 2012 09:30 AM EST

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Apple has put an end to Kickstarter project POP, a portable power station that relied on the Cupertino giant's new Lightning charger to provide power.

Apple refused to license its Lightning charger to Edison Junior, the company behind the POP project. Consequently, the Kickstarter campaign saw an abrupt end, prompting the biggest refund in Kickstarter history.

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Project POP, described by its creators as "The Intersection of Charging and Design," aimed to bundle a variety of charging cables into a single product. Apple's Lightning connector, its 30-pin connector, and a micro USB connector for charging non-Apple devices were all part of the combination.

"We are pissed. I think they are being such a bunch of [jerks], and I think they're hurting their customers," Edison Junior CEO Jamie Siminoff told VentureBeat, referring to Apple's decision to kill the project.

In a note to Kickstarter backers, Eidon Junior further explained that the issue apparently consisted of using a Lightning connector alongside a 30-pin connector.

"When Apple officially announced the move to Lightning we determined the best course of action was to incorporate two Lightning chargers, and two 30-pins (along with the four micro-USB's). After applying to Apple (which is now required for Lightning), we learned that they are no longer willing to approve a product that uses the Lightning charger alongside any other charger (including their own 30-pin - seriously). Just like that, POP could no longer fulfill its true promise."

As many as 1,000 backers supported the project on Kickstarter, pledging a total of $139,170. Edison Junior is planning to offer full refund to all backers, marking the biggest refund for a Kickstarter project. The move will cost Edison Junior more than $11,000 in Kickstarter and credit card fees.

"Providing full refunds means we will have to absorb a hit for both credit card (3%) and Kickstarter fees (5%) totaling over $11,000. Today we asked Kickstarter for the 5% fee they collected based on the circumstances, however regardless of their decision YOU WILL RECEIVE 100% OF YOUR MONEY BACK," Siminoff wrote in his note.

As Kickstarter does not have a mechanism for refunds, Edison Junior is forced to seek help from its own crowdfunding site, Christie Street, in hopes of recovering some of the costs from Kickstarter.

According to the company CEO, Edison Junior plans to continue developing a similar product, but this time design it to indirectly support Apple devices with a Lightning-to-USB connector or a 30-pin connector. In the meantime, POP is no longer an option.

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