This project's funding goal was not reached on September 21, 2013.
About this project
Access your iMac's rear USB port and headphone jack from the front with AccessIO. Stop feeling around for ports you can't see. Stop messing up the position of your monitor every time you need to plug in a flash drive or headphones.
The new Apple iMac is a beautifully designed device. Its amazingly thin profile and clean, sleek forms are the epitome of minimalist beauty and technological innovation. In this pursuit, however, Apple left some users out in the cold. Anyone that frequently plugs in USB devices such as flash memory or headphones knows that the ports are difficult to access.
In Apple's successful pursuit of minimal beauty, these ports were placed in the back. But who wants to turn around a large all-in-one computer just to access the USB port? AccessIO brings these ports to a more useable location and compliments Apple's beautiful design in the most elegant way possible.
How does it work?
AccessIO is actually a very simple device. It is not a hub and does not require any power. Your USB port and headphone jack are simply extended to a new convenient location on the front of you iMac. We use the unique contours of the new iMac along with a custom USB jack to hold AccessIO in place. There are no messy adhesives that stick to your iMac, and the soft rubber lining makes sure its surface stays looking new. AccessIO is not a permanant installation and can be removed by simply unplugging it. No function of your iMac is compromised by using AccessIO; all other ports are still accessible. To accomplish the same functionality as AccessIO would cost over $30 at your average electronics store and leave you with an unsightly mess of extension cables.
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Please note this image is a visualization not a photo. The Silver Version will be painted metallic silver to match the iMac.
The idea for AccessIO started like many ideas do: with experience. We have owned, used, and watched our friends and colleagues use iMacs. All of us seemed to have a common problem with port access. Using the iMac for professional purposes brought even more light to the problem as one is required to frequently connect and disconnect flash drives for file transfer, connect cameras for downloading imagery, not to mention listening to headphones while working. Having experience designing consumer electronics we thought this was a problem we could solve.
We started by identifying the problem: port access. We considered different ways to make the ports easier to access, but settled on simply extending the most frequently used to the front as the best solution. Electrically, this is very simple. With the iMac’s complex contours and beautifully simple construction, however, this idea became very challenging mechanically. We really did try adhesives and magnets. Quickly we remembered that magnets do not work with aluminum. A few different types of adhesives were tested, but they were either not strong enough to hold the device up under the strain of plugging something in or left nasty residue, ruining the surface of a very expensive device.
Then it dawned on us that we were creating the most prominent feature on the back surface by plugging in the USB cable. We could actually use the USB connector in conjunction with the front edge to cleverly wedge the device between two secure surfaces. We made many prototypes, narrowing in on the exact shape of the back of the iMac. We were determined to not only have the product fit, but have it be very secure and fit both the 21.5-inch and 27-inch iMacs.
We feel that we have developed an excellent solution for a problem that plagues the majority of iMac users. The mechanical engineering and electrical engineering are finished. We have made a working prototype that is cosmetically accurate, performs well, and looks great. A manufacturing partner that we have past experience is on board. They have reviewed the design and are ready to get started.
Tooling the product will take about 30 days and production of our first manufacturing quantities will take about 25 days. Finally we will take around 30 days to receive our finished product and use FulfillRite (www.fulfillrite.com) to distribute to our backers.
Why we need your help
We’re ready to bring AccessIO to you with just a little bit of help. The product design and engineering is complete; we perfected the design through prototypes, and our trusted manufacturing partner has been identified and engaged. All that’s left is to actually make the product.
As a newly created brand, we can’t build this product alone. We’ve invested our hard work and expertise to take this idea from a concept to a fully realized solution that’s ready to tool and produce. By backing this project, you’re not only helping to get a great new brand off the ground; you’re also getting your own AccessIO at a lower price than our target retail price.
Who are we?
We are snowmous, pronounced "snow mouse", a newly created brand based in Colorado. As industrial designers, we have conceptualized, designed, and overseen the manufacturing of hundreds of Apple accessories, consumer electronics, and other consumer products.
Travis Read – Industrial Designer, Co-founder
Jonathan Erbacher – Industrial Designer, Co-founder
Kristin Lippitt – Creative Director
Allison Ruona – Logistics and Marketing
When will I receive my AccessIO?
If we reach our Kickstarter funding goal, we plan to ship AccessIO to our backers in November 2013. We will continue to update our backers on our progress against this schedule.
Does ACCESS IO work with my iMac?
AccessIO fits the newest 21.5 and 27 inch iMac models released in November 2012. It utilizes the unique form of the iMac to fit snugly and feel like an integral part of the device. Due to exact fit of AccessIO to the rear surface of the iMac, no earlier models are supported at this time. However, it is our desire to bring this great product to as many users as possible. If you have an older, unsuppoprted iMac model, we want to hear from you too. Simply back us with a $1 donation, and let us know which model you have. This will give us an idea of which models are the most popular. If AccessIO reaches its funding goal, we will do our best to produce versions for the most popular legacy iMacs.
Will it damage my iMac?
No, the Access IO is plastic and will not put any excessive pressure on your iMac so it will not scratch the aluminum surface. The device is secured by our custom USB connector, so we don't use any adhesive that could leave residue on your iMac.
Risks and challenges
We have over 10 years of product development experience, and we've made hundreds of apple accessories and other consumer products under different brand names that were successfully manufactured and sold in mass retail. We have made multiple functional prototypes and have full confidence in our manufacturing partners with whom we have past working experience.
If we are fully funded, we will do everything in our power and expertise to solve any problems that arise. We will be using FulfillRite to ship AccessIO to our backers, so our initial concerns over logistics will not be a problem. www.fulfillrite.com
The iMac is designed to automatically switch from internal speakers to headphones whenever a detected headphone cable is plugged in. So, when you attach AccessIO and plug in the headphone cable, the internal speakers will be muted. On the Mac Pro, one is able to change the output audio to internal speaker even when headphones are plugged in through system preferences, but OSX does not provide this option on iMac. For this reason, we have designed a small holder onto the back of the USB plug where one can stow the headphone jack if one wishes to maintain the use of the internal speakers and still have improved access to a USB port. We have searched for a software fix that will allow switching of the audio source, but have unfortunately come up empty. We really wish this was not the case, but this seems to be a hardware limitation of the iMac
Kickstarter's guidelines for hardware projects do not allow for multiple rewards per pledge, so we can only offer one AccessIO per pledge. Our goal after successful funding is to expand AccessIO to internet sales and possibly retail sales, so continue to watch Snowmous Design in the future!
- (40 days)