Fund this? Cabin magnetic battery sled misses the point

Buried within this Kickstarter campaign is the product iPhone users really want: a MagSafe-style charging cable.

cabin-microadapter.png
This isn't the coolest thing about the Cabin... Hevo Labs

When Apple announces the iPhone 6 this September, one element that's not likely to change is the Lightning connector. Which is too bad, because an iPhone with a MagSafe charging port -- like the kind found in MacBooks -- would be awesome.

Kickstarter to the rescue! Well, sort of: The Cabin is an iPhone battery sled that relies on a MagSafe-style magnetic connector. But this isn't the product most iPhone users really want.

At first blush, the Cabin resembles most other clip-on backup batteries, albeit with a rounded, aluminum shell that, based on photos and renders, looks like a very nice complement to the iPhone -- something Apple might have designed itself.

The key component here is the MicroAdapter, which plugs into the Lightning port to provide a flush, magnetic plate on the bottom of the phone. Then the Cabin just snaps onto that plate, easy-peasy.

cabin-magadapter.png
...THIS is the cool thing about the Cabin. Hevo Labs

But, as noted, that's not the easy-peasy we're after. It's not hard to connect a battery sled to an iPhone, and the Cabin still adds some length to the bottom of the handset, which is one of the unfortunate byproducts of similar sleds. (The others: added thickness and weight. Developer Hevo Labs doesn't list the Cabin's dimensions, which strikes me as a red flag. In some photos, it looks fairly chunky.)

Fortunately, Hevo Labs is also developing the MagAdapter, which connects to the end of any Lightning cable. That plus the MicroAdapter equals MagSafe-style charging! Yes, please!

The project has already surpassed its $50,000 funding goal. As of this writing, you can get the Cabin desktop dock, MagAdapter, and MicroAdapter -- though not the Cabin itself -- for $59 (that converts to about £35/AU$63). At the $89 level, you get the Cabin as well. But the most interesting backing option? A MagAdapter and MicroAdapter for $25, with free shipping inside the US (outside, it's another $10).

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The Cabin battery sled, shown here with an available desktop dock, looks like it might be fairly chunky. Hevo Labs

There's one major potential wrinkle with all of this: Hevo Labs is still in the process of applying for MFI certification. If they don't get it, the whole Cabin project could be dead in the water. Noncertified charging products often have compatibility issues, and sometimes don't survive iOS updates. There's some lively discussion of this in the comments section of the Cabin Kickstarter page, so be sure to peruse them before becoming a backer.

In the meantime, what are your thoughts on MagSafe-style charging for the iPhone? Totally worth $25, or a "meh" feature not worth the excitement?

 

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