For many tech startups, Kickstarter is a great way to raise funding to get a new company off the ground. Each week, TUAW takes a close look at recent Apple-related Kickstarter projects for those of you interested in supporting one of the many entrepreneurs who are waiting to bring the next big thing to market.
SoundJaw Sound Booster
This little device is the brainstorm of Denver-based MBA candidate and would-be entrepreneur Matt McLachlan. The idea behind the SoundJaw Sound Booster is to direct the sound from the speakers of the iPad and iPhone towards a user who is looking at the screen. Matt came up with a small plastic device that clips onto the thin profile of an iPad 2 and directs the speaker sound to the front of the iPad. The SoundJaw also works with the original iPad, and the Kickstarter page says that it's also iPhone compatible.
The project currently has 30 backers for a total of US$831, and it needs $7,000 by June 7, 2011 to be fully funded. Pledge $20 and you'll get a SoundJaw when, and if, manufacturing starts.
Rustic Case for iPad and MacBook Air
Another Matt -- Matt Geyster of Templeton, MA in this case -- had a Kickstarter project to make "rustic looking" iPad and Kindle cases out of a wool/polyester blend material with leather accents. The Rustic Case project was funded back in February, and the product has been so successful that the cases are now also available for both sizes of the MacBook Air ($60, photo below). You can take a look at these beautiful cases and pick one up on the Rustic Case website.
Remember the Microsoft Courier? It was a concept computer that looked great, but never made it to market. Part of the Courier design team is now working with the two Boeing engineers who are trying to bring some of the innovative concepts from Courier to the iPad. The idea "allows users to interact with multiple apps simultaneously in the company of Taposé collections." There's even a virtual split screen (below) that mimics the two screens of the original Courier concept.
Taposé (pronounced Tap-o-zay) is another fully-funded Kickstarter project with over a thousand backers, but you can still be a backer by pledging $10 or more through Sunday, May 22. What will you get for your $10? A code for a working version of the app when it's ready to fly.
Hanfree iPad Accessory
The thought behind the Hanfree iPad Accessory is that there are many situations where you might want to use an iPad, but can't actually hold the device. For example, if you're in a hospital bed flat on your back, it can be difficult or impossible to hold up an iPad with both arms. This Kickstarter project reached full funding quickly, and the product is coming to market soon at $79.95.
Hanfree comes to the rescue by holding the iPad on an innovative and attractive stand. The iPad can face in any direction that is convenient to you, and whether you simply want to watch a movie while laying on your back on the couch and munching on popcorn, or if you're a musician who is looking for a virtual music stand, Hanfree is a cool-looking way to use that iPad without holding it. While you won't be able to back the Hanfree project, you can show your support for an excellent design by purchasing one.
That's all for this week. Next week we'll take a look at some new Kickstarter projects for Apple products.