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When a Kickstarter project goes well enough to inspire a sequel a few years down the road, it’s generally a positive sign. In the case of Juicies, a startup that originally built itself up on the back of a successful campaign to build 30-pin dock connector cables in a range of colours, the return to the crowdfunding site is about building cables for Apple’s new Lightning standard, as well as micro USB models that differentiate themselves in terms of design and materials.
The Juicies+ cable will juice up your devices using a combination of anodized aluminum to shield the circuitry of the connectors at each end, along with a woven cord of the variety that’s designed to prevent tangles and knots. The stated goal of this new design, according to Juicies founders Laurens Laudowicz and Hannes Reichelt, is to bring the cables we use to charge our devices every day up to snuff with the devices themselves in terms of design and craftsmanship.
Laudowicz and Reichelt are a split team working from Honolulu and Bremen, Germany. Laurens began the first Juicies project on his own with the original Kickstarter, but the two paired up quickly after and Hannes has been helming European sales and distribution of the product ever since. Reichelt is an Economics grad with experience working for Siemens doing marketing and market research in the Middle East, while Laudowicz is an entrepreneur with work experience as an antiques buyer and marketer. Despite sharing relatively little product development experience between them, the pair successfully built the original Juicies online business and now sells 30-pin cables, micro USB and USB extensions in a rainbow of colours.
Juicies+ is a sort of premium twist on the work they have already been doing, borrowing a page from makers of premium headphones, which often feature woven cable casing designs. Aside from offering a premium feel, woven cables are far less likely to knot or tangle with themselves or with one another, making them easier to stow hastily in a bag and then later recover.
The startup also needs to update its product for Apple’s current generation of mobile devices; Lightning is the prevailing standard on Apple iOS hardware now, and its use will likely occlude that of 30-pin entirely come September when Apple introduces new iPhone hardware. Accordingly, the Juicies+ team is going to be using Lightning connectors sourced from Apple via its MFI program to create its cables, which is the only way to guarantee compatibility with Apple devices. This could present one of the biggest potential risks for the project; Apple has been slower to provide MFI-certified parts to accessory-making partners, so there may be a bottleneck in terms of supply. It’s also the only authorized supplier of the Lightning connector acceptable for the MFI program.
The anticipated ship date for the Juicies+ cables is January 2014, but a big part of the production process lies outside of the project founders’ hands because of the required MFI certification, so that date could well slip, especially if there’s renewed interest in Lightning components from accessory makers in the wake of Apple’s anticipated September iPhone announcement. Still, the team has shown it can work with Apple’s MFI program and ship product at scale, so chances are backers will eventually get their money’s worth in this instance, even if it does take a bit longer than anticipated.