Apple makes a magnetic power cable, called MagSafe, for its line of laptop computers. The nifty design means you will be much less likely to destroy your connection port and your cable because it quickly releases when strained. Plus, you don’t have to be so exact when plugging in the cable. The magnets do the work. Unfortunately, Apple doesn’t offer magnetic cables for any of its mobile devices… and neither do most other phone and tablet makers.

That’s where ZNAPS comes in. It is a small plug that fits into your device’s charging port, turning the exposed end into a magnetic connector. Put the adapter on your cable and connect it to your smartphone and you’ve got yourself a MagSafe style cable.

ZNAPS 1

ZNAPS isn’t available for purchase yet, but the developers are running a Kickstarter campaign to raise money and hope to ship the adapters to backers in November.

The Kickstarter campaign for ZNAPS is already past its funding goal with 28 days to go. You can pledge to the campaign for as low as $11 Canadian (or $9 US). But, if you are an iPhone user, pledge with caution. This connector is not MFi certified and so it may eventually be unsupported with future iOS updates.

The concept is fairly ingenious. The connector is either an 8-pin or Micro USB plug that goes into your smartphone’s port. The back end of the connector is magnetic. Then, an adaptor connects to your smartphone’s Lightning or Micro USB cable. The exposed end is magnetic, too.

The price is reasonable, too. At only $9 for one, you pay less than many typical connection cables.

Which is why you should question it.

iPhone and iPad devices have a serialized authentication chip embedded into the connectors. If you want to make a third-party charging or syncing accessory with it, you can apply for product certification from Apple, but it costs a percentage of the wholesale cost of each unit. With the certification, the product will receive the “Made for iOS” stamp of approval (also known as MFi).

ZNAPS 2

ZNAPS does not, nor does it seem will ever, have MFi certification. Which means the connector will not be supported in iOS updates. It will still charge an iOS device (at a slower rate), but will not sync data.

That being said, if you own an Android phone with a Micro USB connector, you should be good to go.

ZNAPS has just under a month to go in its Kickstarter campaign, but is already fully funded. The Canada-based company hopes to have the magnetic connector ready to ship by November of 2015, barring any unforeseen issues.

via Cnet

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10 replies on “ZNAPS is a magnetic adapter for iOS and Android devices (crowdfunding)”

  1. It’s just passing through the electrical connections to a normal Lighting cable right? I bet Apple would still want to certify it, but it shouldn’t have to be.

    1. Indeed. The MFi extortion chip is built into the USB-to-Lightning cable itself (if it is MFi certified) so since the ZNAPS adapter is simply passing the same pins along through its magnetic connector, it won’t need certification in order to function.

  2. And if it fails maybe they’ll try another project, this time an adapter to convert laced shoes to velcro?

  3. “The Canada-based company hopes to have the magnetic connector ready to ship by November of 2015, barring any unforeseen issues.”

    Unforeseen issues such as Apple’s patent on magnetic connectors that they have historically refused to license to anyone else?

      1. It would surprise me if Apple had gone after MS. The economics there are a little different — patent-trolling Microsoft isn’t an inexpensive adventure. There’s enough prior art for magnetic connectors that I doubt the patent would stand up to a legal challenge. All that’s irrelevant for a small company though.

    1. Most of Apple’s patents have enormous amounts of examples of prior art and don’t hold water at all, but Apple puts on a song and dance routine with fancy lawyers and falsified documents (the altered photos of the supposedly infringing devices in the Samsung suit, for example) to dazzle judges.

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