With the launch of the iPad Pro, Apple unveiled its new Smart Connector technology to allow accessory makers to more seamlessly integrate with the device. Two years after the first iPad Pro’s release, however, the Smart Connector hasn’t necessarily gained a whole lot of traction. A new report from Fast Company this week offers some insight into Apple’s efforts to have accessory makers adopt the Smart Connector…
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When pressed for why they haven’t adopted Smart Connector, many accessory makers cited wait times and high prices for Smart Connector components. Some touted Bluetooth as a more viable alternative. Incipio explained that with Logitech’s Smart Connector keyboard already on the market, it’s waiting to create something with a differentiating feature:
“With an iPad Pro keyboard on the market already, we are evaluating the market’s appetite for another iPad Pro keyboard and identifying if there are any gaps that we can fill,” said Kelly McElroy, a spokeswoman for Incipio. “So we are developing with having a point of difference in mind rather than developing to be quick to market.”
Another anonymous case company executive cited long wait times that interfere with their product development cycles:
“For a business like us, we’ve got a very rapid product development cycle,” this source said. “When you’ve got a long lead time component that’s close to six months, that’s just not tenable.”
Then, the CEO of Brydge – the company behind several popular Bluetooth keyboards – says that the Smart Connector technology is “incredibly limiting” and that Brydge has “no reason” to implement the connector in its current state.
“The thing with the pogo pin design, in particular with the way that Apple’s implemented it on the iPad, is it’s incredibly limiting,” Smith says.
Smith hasn’t ruled out using the Smart Connector, but it would likely have to be for a different kind of product. “Looking ahead, there is no reason why the Smart Connector wouldn’t be considered for future Brydge products if the application is right,” he says.
For its part, Apple says that there are “multiple companies” now developing Smart Connector accessories. As for when their accessories will hit the market, however, remains to be seen.