Apple kills off portable charging project

A start-up called Edison Junior working on a portable charger has been forced to give back the money it raised via Kickstarter, because Apple’s refused to license the rights to its Lightning connector.

Edison’s Pop, or Point of Power, is a rechargeable, portable battery with retractable cord reels, intended for charging multiple mobile devices simultaneously, including Apple and Android phones.

But now, Apple’s refused to license its Lightning connector, forcing Edison Junior to return the full $139,170 in funding that it’s received from investors so far. Investors should get all their fees back as part of the deal.

In a letter to its backers seen by VentureBeat, Edison Junior CEO Jamie Siminoff says there’s no point going ahead without the ability to connect to the iPhone 5.

“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-USBs),” he writes.

“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.”

It may not be the end of the road for the project: the company’s now considering producing a version of the device that would support Android devices directly, while allowing Apple users to use a Lightning-to-USB connector or a 30-pin connector.