Apple's Lightning bolt
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The Elevation Dock added an adapter to cope with the iPhone 5's design changes.

Hundreds of Kickstarter project creators were blindsided when Apple radically altered the iPhone's design and operating system with its iPhone 5 release.

The new Lightning connector rendered many accessories obsolete. Some, like the Elevation Dock, tried to kludge up a solution. The company created an adapter, but it doesn't support certain iPhone controls and won't release with a simple tug the way the previous connection did. That spoils one of the dock's key features, irking some customers.

"When you have to roll with changes that Apple makes, it can be a lot of pressure," said Casey Hopkins, the Elevation Dock's inventor. "There are so many products with 30-pin connectors that won't be used now, and we didn't want to become one of those."

Redesigning hardware isn't the only challenge. Accessory makers that need to embed Lightning connectors into their devices are facing a shortage, according to gTar creator Idan Beck. The few factories currently making the parts generally won't bother with small customers ordering less than 100,000 units, he says.

"We have no access to it," Beck said. "If we got those connectors we could probably build iPhone 5 gTars pretty quickly."

Software is also a challenge. The iPhone-linked MetaWatch Strata watch was almost finished when Apple rolled out iOS 6. Ensuring compatibility took longer than expected.

"Historically the Apple customer base transitions to new product almost overnight," said Bill Geiser, manager of the MetaWatch team. "The question we asked ourselves was: Do we ship product that wouldn't work with most of what people were using? The answer was obviously no." -David Goldman


- Last updated December 19 2012 01:27 PM ET
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