I love the idea of having a set, stable place to drop my iPhone and charge it. The Element Case Vapor Dock (reviewed here) is a great dock. But it could be better. I mean, imagine something as solid and gorgeous as the Vapor Dock but also lets you dock and undock your iPhone in a millisecond. That’s what the Elevation Dock promises and… with luck… will soon deliver.
Project Title: Elevation Dock: The Best Dock For iPhone
Closing Date for Funding: Saturday, February 11, 2012
URL of the Project: Find it here.
From the Creatives:
If you have tried using docks for your iPhone, you have probably felt our frustration: Undocking is difficult, many aren’t designed to work with cases, they are lightweight, and are generally made as a cheap afterthought accessory.
That’s why we designed the Elevation Dock – Simple to use, quick undocking, and it works with or without a case. We didn’t stop there – It’s beautifully precision machined from solid aluminum and it comes in a gorgeous set of surface finishes, setting a new bar for quality and something that looks really good on your desk. It complements the high-level craftsmanship of the iPhone like no other.
Undocking is a breeze. Just pull up the phone up – no violent shaking or using two hands to hold the dock down required. This is achieved by a special low-friction connection, the heft of its solid metal construction, and tacky rubber feet.
Case, no case, doesn’t matter. Again, the Elevation Dock is designed to just work. That’s why a clever movable support pad allows you to use the dock with or without a case and in a range of case sizes.
Obsessive attention to quality. Elevation Docks are individually CNC machined from solid billets of aircraft grade aluminum, no expense spared. The result is a level of precision that can’t be achieve through molding or casting. They feel heavy, strong, durable and look gorgeous.
We could have easily made them cheaper with injection molded plastic filled with sand or something, but this is something we want for ourselves and we appreciate good craftsmanship – this probably why we’re such big fans of Apple hardware (well… except for those damn docks!).
Gorgeous finishes. We worked with a specialized metal finishing company to help achieve the gorgeous finish you find on Apple’s unibody Macbook Pro’s and iMacs – its hand buffed, glass bead blasted, electro-chemically micropolished, hard anodized and sealed.
Who at Gear Diary Backed It: Dan
At What Level Did We Back: Dan backed it at $85. That means one Elevation Dock+ in anodized Matte Black finish with a shielded Line Level audio out plus USB power adapter is on the way when the product begins to ship.
Why We Backed It: I love my iPhone but hate the poor battery life. As a result, I really want to have a charging dock in strategic locations such as, next to my bed, at my desk in my home office and in my study at work. This looked like a great option. Add in the fact that the creatives behind this project are serious about merging aesthetics and functionality and you have something I wold buy and certainly wanted to help make happen.
How’s Communication From the Creatives Been?: Very good. There have been 14 updates and each has been meaningful and relevant. Among them-
This was the fastest start ever for a Kickstarter project, hitting our funding goal in 8 hours and $168k in 24 hours, more than double any previous project had ever hit. On Tuesday, this project became the most funded project on Kickstarter ever and yesterday it became the first to hit $1million. Then video game maker Double Fine launched Wednesday and it beat our newly minted funding record in less than a day and hit the $1m mark just hours after us! Amazing.
Schedule: Barring any fit or quality issues with the first run of parts we get, we should be able to start final assembly and shipping on April 28th. Machining, assembly and shipping will certainly go through May. They will go out roughly in the order they were backed.
and then this- a delay but an honest and detailed explanation
We have three issues we are solving that are affecting shipping:
Plastic support – One of our molded pieces holding our connector needs to be shortened 0.2mm to make it fit better – the connector assembly cannot seat itself all the way down. The tool is in the process of being changed now. Subtracting material from a molded part is a bit more difficult and time consuming than adding material because they must add steel to the tool by welding and then re-machining.
Circuit Board – We got our first small production run of PCBA’s and they had quality issues. The main culprit was the soldering of the flexible FPC that connects our low-friction connector to the main board. We have adjusted the layout and the factory is building special fixturing and a PCBA test tool to make sure every one works before it ships to us. We err far on the side of risk mitigation and can’t ship until we know the parts we send are working and durable. One luxury we don’t have are a bunch of production Docks in the wild to see if and where anything fails.
USB power adapters – For the A/C power adapters for the Dock+ versions, we have been testing 4 samples each of 3 different models that we liked (as we mentioned in Update #9). After 1.5 months of real world testing, 3 different ones went bad. That makes all those a non-starter on our end. The good thing is we have kept working on our originally designed charger, intended for future use. We will now be going with it and we have a full court press on to get them made and certified asap.
In all, this is going to put us about 30 days beyond our expected date. We will be spending a small fortune to air ship pallets of parts that are delayed coming from Shenzen.
What Has the Experience Been: I’ve been quite impressed by this project and the people behind it every step of the way.
Would You Recommend this Kickstarter Project?: Absolutely!!