Brief interview with Ampple co-founder Viesturs Sosārs

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Crowdfunding campaign for Ampple (formerly Sonocase), a Latvia-designed iPad case that produces premium HD sound, took off on Indiegogo on May 10, attracting remarkable interest already on the first day. One of the co-founders of the company, Viesturs Sosārs is currently in New York, yet he was kind enough to find time to answer our questions about the new product.

Why did you change the name of the product from Sonocase to Ampple?

Sonocase was the working title, we did not consider it the final version. And there were many people we talked to, for instance, at the Consumer Electronics Show this past January, who said Sonocase was too descriptive a name.

It seems that, at least at the moment, google does not recognize Ampple, and corrects it to Apple…

That’s just for now, as people simply are not yet looking for the word Ampple.

Is Ampple aimed at having the company, and the entire team, acquired by Apple?

Our goal in developing Ampple was to create a product that would offer consumers a different, better film and TV watching experience on a small portable screen. It would be too soon to talk about what will happen to the company in the future.

Why is iPad not making amplifiers itself? Isn’t sound a priority to iPad?

It’s not easy to make a small, thin device sound great. Historically, sound has never been a priority of Apple, but there are signs that Apple, at least as far as mobile devices are concerned, is now paying more attention to the sound. One example is the stereo speakers on iPad Pro.

Does Ampple have rivals?

We know of several attempts to create similar products, but they have all failed, for one reason or another. In a broader sense, we’re competing against all kinds of speakers and headphones people use while watching their iPads. As I said, the goal of Ampple is to offer a different listening experience.

Why is 3D printing technology used to make Ampple?

Ampple prototypes were made using both the CNC technology and 3D printing. We wanted to try different prototyping methods, but mass production will most probably be by press molding that we’re well familiar with.

How do you plan to reduce the production cost?

So far we have only made various Ampple prototypes, so there can be no talk about the production cost. We will try to organize production so that Ampple generate profit, but the exact production strategy is impossible to foresee right now.

How many people are involved in the development of Ampple at the moment? Who’s in charge of what?

Ampple currently has a team of six: besides the three founders (Viesturs Sosārs, Rihards Funts and Kaspars Kalnišs) who are in charge of the design, technical development and prototyping of the product, as well as business development, there are three more people on the team who are responsible for social media marketing, crowdfunding campaign management, and design support.

Why did you choose Indiegogo for your crowdfunding campaign?

Projects of this kind – that is, consumer electronics – have recently been more successful on Indiegogo than on Kickstarter. In addition, as far as we can tell and compare, Indiegogo platform is friendlier to projects, and with better options for analyzing project development.

And finally – how did director Andris Gauja end up in the promo video for Ampple?

The team that was shooting our video talked to him, and he accepted this cameo role.