Suffering withdrawal pangs from the lack of new Apple products lately? Make your own.
MacBook owners may soon be able to buy a removable case that holds their USB devices . It's a new product concept nearing a final decision on Quirky, a crowdsourcing website for ambitious (and tough-skinned) inventors.
The development phase is down to the last two days for inventor Sean Stewart, who began the Quirky process about four months ago. With the help of Quirky's vocal online community and the Quirky review team, Stewart's MacBook Case is almost ready for final approval. His investment? Not much more than the $10 submission fee.
Quirky allows just about anyone to submit a product idea, which is then evaluated by members of the Quirky community. Members can vote for a product, but they can also submit design changes, suggest names and help set pricing. The idea is to get input from a wide range of potential customers — a virtual focus group and market test rolled into one. Those who participate in a product's development will share in its future profits.
It takes little more than a sketch or handmade mock-up to get started.
But the savings an inventor might gain launching on Quirky as opposed to crowdsourced funding site Kickstarter are offset by having to meet the community's demands for changes.
Stewart has received input from 1,365 Quirky members. Through a survey, he knows that the most popular cover size he could make would be one to fit a 15-inch MacBook Pro . His cover should also hold a laptop charger since 42 percent carry one at all times. While more than 80 percent of respondents said they'd like the cover to be removable, just slightly more people wanted the case to stay on during use rather than be taken off. The final design details and whether Stewart's project gets the green light will be in the hands of the Quirky team.
Most ideas never make it past the early stages, but a few do. Quirky sells the products on its site and through several partners. The company shares 30 percent of the revenue with those who participated in shaping the product, including the inventor, who receives 42 percent of the participant pool of funds.