Peak Design has announced it is delaying shipment of products in its Kickstarter campaign for Mobile, a broad range of phone accessories designed to make it easy to mount your phone on everything from a motorcycle handlebar to a simple dock on your desk. It is meant to be compatible with iPhones and Samsung Galaxy phones. Originally targeted for May, the company now expects to be able to begin shipping in August, though some products will also come later. To make up for it, Peak is offering either full refunds for cancellations or discounts on other Peak Design products.
Peak Design has used Kickstarter to launch everything from camera-focused backpacks to tripods and its original product, an innovative camera mounting clip. But this new project is on a different scale of ambition: it’s multiple products designed to work together in an interlocking system of mounts, wireless chargers, mini tripods, wallets, and cases. Key to the entire system is a combination of magnets and physical locking mechanisms which can differ from product to product.
The project apparently started about two years ago, which means that just before the company was running to launch in October of 2020 Apple announced the iPhone 12 — complete with the MagSafe system of cases, chargers, and wallets that connect with magnets.
A note on crowdfunding:
Crowdfunding is a chaotic field by nature: companies looking for funding tend to make big promises. According to a study run by Kickstarter in 2015, roughly 1 in 10 “successful” products that reach their funding goals fail to actually deliver rewards. Of the ones that do deliver, delays, missed deadlines, or overpromised ideas mean that there’s often disappointment in store for those products that do get done.
The best defense is to use your best judgment. Ask yourself: does the product look legitimate? Is the company making outlandish claims? Is there a working prototype? Does the company mention existing plans to manufacture and ship finished products? Has it completed a Kickstarter before? And remember: you’re not necessarily buying a product when you back it on a crowdfunding site.
Apple’s MagSafe system and Peak Design’s magnet system are different, but the company made the call to try to make its system interoperable in some ways with MagSafe. That has meant testing its products across all the different variables it could think of, mixing and matching Peak Design’s big portfolio of products with Apple’s new system.
That complexity is one of the reasons for the delay, the first in Peak Design’s long history marketing products on Kickstarter. The second is the obvious one: delays introduced from COVID-19. The designers have been unable to travel to the factory to test their designs or go into their local workshop to suss out problems directly.
The company expects its first wave to include the most basic products in its lineup, cases and some “core mounts/accessories,” with a second wave coming “later.”
Peak Design will email Kickstarter backers discount codes for its products (20 percent off anything plus 50 percent off a future purchase in the Mobile product line). It also says people who wish to cancel their pledge can email email@example.com.