When Apple introduced the MacBook Pro with Retina Display last year, the company unveiled MagSafe 2, a thinner and longer connector for Apple’s innovative magnetic power cord. The company said that the reduced height of the new MacBook design simply didn’t allow enough space for the standard MagSafe connector that powered the MacBook lines since 2006.
Users were happy to have a thinner Mac, but frustrated by the fact that their existing power cords, and the power cord that comes attached to Cinema and Thunderbolt Displays, would not be compatible. Instead of doing nothing and forcing them to purchase all new MagSafe accessories, Apple met customers halfway and launched a $10 MagSafe to MagSafe 2 Converter. The small accessory accepts an original MagSafe connector on its female end and plugs in to a MagSafe 2 connector on the male end.
For almost all Retina MacBook owners, having a MagSafe converter became a practically mandatory prerequisite, but the converter was so small that many users, especially those frequently on the go, feared it would get lost. Enter BitWise, the startup design firm founded by Jonathan Bobrow. Frustrated by the prospect of losing this essential, yet tiny, converter, Mr. Bobrow designed the KeyBit, a keychain accessory that holds a MagSafe converter using strong magnets.
After starting out as a 3D printed concept that was slow and expensive to manufacture, Mr. Bobrow has brought KeyBit to the crowd funding platform Kickstarter. With the funds generated by the campaign, BitWise will be able to mass produce the product from milled steel and meet the increasing demand.
Pledges of $15 are enough to secure a new KeyBit, with an estimated delivery time of August. Moving to a $20 pledge nets you a cover that protects the KeyBit and converter in addition to the KeyBit itself. Customers will have a choice of five colors: black, green, red, blue, or orange. Those pledging at higher levels can receive t-shirts, the option to meet Mr. Bobrow via a Google Hangout, and an original 3D printed model of the product in addition to the new steel design.
While the current cost of a KeyBit is more than the replacement cost of a MagSafe Converter, the piece of mind that the product offers by keeping the converter protected and handy is arguably worth the price. Those with Retina MacBook Pros as well as 2012 MacBook Airs (which also received an upgrade to MagSafe 2 last summer) should check out the KeyBit Kickstarter campaign today.