updated 08:00 pm EDT, Tue May 17, 2011
Crowd-funded project sparks trend, hits big time
What began as a Kickstarter community project to design a top-quality watchband for the current-generation iPod Nano -- an idea that has spawned countless imitators -- has arrived in the big time, with the LunaTik and TikTok designs now becoming available at Apple Stores across North America, GigaOM reports. Designer Scott Wilson unintentionally set a record on Kickstarter when enthusiastic backers in 50 countries contributed almost $1 million in crowd-sourced funding, a record for the service and more than $945,000 over his original goal.
Since then, many other companies have put out Nano-compatible watchbands, but the LunaTik and TikTok designs are still considered the best quality and best-designed models available. The TikTok model ($40) is designed for those who need to take the Nano out of the case frequently, featuring an easy snap-in holder design with a "brand hole" through which a user puts their thumb to pop the Nano out. The LunaTik ($80) is a two-piece, fastened casing and band designed for those who will rarely need to remove the Nano from the casing.
Scott reports that sales, currently handled exclusively through the Lunatik website, have actually favored the more expensive LunaTik model, which uses premium aircraft-grade aluminum for its casing -- with many buyers (a surprising 76 percent, according to company survey data) purchasing the watchband and casing first, then obtaining an iPod Nano to go with it, an unusual example of an accessory driving sales of the item the accessory accompanies.
With more than 40,000 sales of the two models handled through the website alone, Apple saw the potential for a premium add-on for the Nano as a good fit for its stores (after initially being skeptical of the pricing). Apple and the Lunatik website will both sell all the recent new models, including a white version of the TikTok design and version of the LunaTik in red and black. [via GigaOM]