Kensington's new iPad Pro StudioDock packs a range of ports and chargers

Kensington at CES 2021 debuted the StudioDock, a new docking solution for iPad Pro and iPad models that combines port expansion with wireless charging pads.

The StudioDock also sports a range of ports to expand an iPad Pro’s connectivity options. They include three USB-A ports, a single USB-C port, an HDMI 2.0 port, a Gigabit Ethernet port a 3.5mm headphone jack, and a SD card reader. The dock itself is charged by a 20V DC power adapter.

In addition to mounting and charging an iPad Pro, the StudioDock also has a built-in iPhone and AirPods wireless charging surface. Users can also opt for an optional Apple Watch charger.

Although marketed as an iPad Pro accessory, the StudioDock is compatible with other USB-C iPad models — including the 10.9-inch iPad Air 4 released in 2020.

Announced during the virtual CES 2021 conference on Monday, the StudioDock received a CES Innovation Honoree award in the computer peripherals and accessories category.

Pricing and availability information for the StudioDock aren’t clear, but interested users can sign up for updates on Kensington’s website.

Hulu discounts its on-demand service to $1.99 per month for students

Looking to gain traction with a younger user base, Hulu this morning announced it’s dropping the price of its on-demand streaming service to $1.99 per month for students over 18 who are attending a U.S. college or university. This represents an over 65% discount off Hulu’s ad-supported subscription, which typically sells for $5.99 per month, the company says.

The students will gain access to the same version of Hulu’s streaming service, which includes its library of thousands on-demand movies and TV, including Hulu Originals. They’ll also be able to use the recently launched Watch Party feature that allows users to co-watch with friends and family in different locations as well as use group chat in a sidebar as the content plays.

Over the past few years, Hulu has offered a variety of deals and discounts aimed at growing its user base. In fall 2017, for example, it partnered with Spotify on a combo deal, also aimed at students. It later expanded this deal to include Showtime and then opened it to a broader audience. In 2019, Hulu also again dropped the standard price for its streaming service while raising the cost of its Live TV add-on and rolled out an even more discounted Spotify-Hulu combo.

These promotions help to boost Hulu’s subscriber base to its entry-level service in the hopes that users will later choose to upgrade to Hulu’s more expensive plans. For students, in particular, the goal is to capture the market while users are young and paying for subscriptions possibly for the first time. When the students graduate, Hulu believes they’ll continue to still see the value in its service and convert to fully-paid customers.

This new student deal arrives a couple of months after Hulu once again raised the price of its Hulu with Live TV plan – this time to help fund the addition of 14 new ViacomCBS channels. As Hulu’s Live TV service becomes to look more like traditional pay TV in terms of its pricing, it becomes even more important to attract users to Hulu’s on-demand plan as the first step toward later upsells.

Hulu says the new student deal is “evergreen” and begins to roll out today.

Is AppleCare+ worth it for iPhone?

If you damage or lose your iPhone, then AppleCare+ will make the repair or replacement cost much less. If you don’t, though, then it’s a lot of money for no benefit. Here’s what you get and how to decide if it’s worthwhile for you.

When you’re buying a device that’s as expensive as an iPhone, it’s very tempting to get Apple’s extended insurance to protect it. But that AppleCare+ program is a lot of money that you may never get a direct, measurable benefit from.

AppleCare+ ranges from $79 to $269, and what it covers you for comes with exceptions and conditions. So AppleCare+ could be what makes an iPhone unaffordable now, or equally it could be what makes repairing a broken one possible later. Either way, it’s not a casual purchase to add on — or to ignore.

Previously you could buy AppleCare+ for iPhone at the time of purchase or up to 60 days later. Now due to coronavirus issues affecting buyers, Apple has extended this, though you have to take the device to an Apple Store to be inspected first.

With this extension, though, AppleCare+ is more attractive since you could buy the iPhone first, then later buy this insurance. It’s the same cost, but you don’t necessarily have to pay it all out at time of purchase.

Except as with everything to do with AppleCare+, the details matter. Yes, you could spread the cost out a little more by buying AppleCare+ after the iPhone, but that’s little use if you break the screen first.

The difference between AppleCare and AppleCare+

If you’ve been confused by the difference between the regular AppleCare that all buyers get, and the separate AppleCare+, you’re not alone. Apple’s wording doesn’t make it gigantically clear what you get with the regular one, and it’s also confusing about how long the coverage lasts.

So here’s the thing. AppleCare is great if Apple has got something wrong and you get a hardware problem that is their fault. And if you get it during your first year of ownership.

Apple will often later introduce repair programs to fix major problems it has uncovered, but as far as the regular AppleCare is concerned, that’s effectively just about all you get. And you get it for only the first year.

In comparison, AppleCare+ runs for two years — and that is two years from the date of purchase. It can often be called extra or extended coverage and leave you thinking that it is two years plus the one year of regular AppleCare. But it isn’t.

What you get from AppleCare+ in those two years from date of purchase is a much, much reduced bill for repair work. There are conditions, though, such as how you can claim only two repairs per year.

Assuming your repair is covered by AppleCare+, then what it costs you is a much reduced fee, plus what you’re paying for the insurance. If you don’t have AppleCare+, you lose out because the repair costs are much higher — but you also aren’t paying for insurance.

AppleCare+ does potentially — potentially — have one more benefit. There is a version of AppleCare+ that covers theft or loss of your iPhone. There are again conditions, but there’s the possibility here that you will get a replacement for considerably less than having to buy a new one all over again.

Phone model Out of coverage screen repair cost AppleCare+ screen repair cost
iPhone 12 Pro Max $329 $29
iPhone 12 Pro or iPhone 12 $279 $29
iPhone 12 mini $229 $29
iPhone 11 $199 $29
iPhone SE (2020) $129 $29

The cost of AppleCare+

The coverage that AppleCare+ offers doesn’t vary between devices, but the costs do. The cost of AppleCare+ varies quite considerably depending on your device and whether you want the theft and loss coverage.

The lowest-cost AppleCare+ for iPhones, without theft and loss, is $79 for the 2020 iPhone SE. That’s a one-off fee that gets you two years of coverage, but there’s also a monthly $3.99 option.

That’s obviously less of an upfront cost but, naturally, it’s more expensive in the long run. Over the two years of AppleCare+, that $3.99 adds up to $95.76.

For the version of AppleCare+ that also covers theft and loss, the one-off fee for the iPhone SE is $149. Paid at $7.49 per month, it’s a total of $179.76.

If you buy an iPhone 11, iPhone 12 mini, or iPhone 12, then currently the standard AppleCare+ cost is $149. The monthly fee is $7.99, which over 24 months adds up to $191.76.

The standard AppleCare+ for iPhone 12 Pro and iPhone 12 Pro Max is $199. Monthly, that’s $9.99 for a total over the two years of $239.76.

You can buy AppleCare+ at the same time as your iPhone

You can buy AppleCare+ at the same time as your iPhone

For every eligible iPhone, you can pay $70 extra to have AppleCare+ with Theft and Loss. As it sounds, this gets you a replacement iPhone if yours is stolen or mislaid — and gets it for a lot less than buying a new replacement.

AppleCare+ with Theft and Loss costs $269 for the iPhone 12 Pro and iPhone 12 Pro Max. Monthly it’s $13.49 ($323.76 over the two years). For the 2020 iPhone SE, it’s a one-off $149 or a total of $179.76 when paid monthly.

The benefits and savings of AppleCare+ with Theft and Lost

In theory, if you have this and your iPhone gets stolen, Apple will replace it for a fee of $149. That’s regardless of which iPhone it is.

So an iPhone 12 Pro Max for $149 is a pretty sweet deal — except of course it’s not $149. It’s $149 plus the fee you’ve paid for AppleCare+ with Theft and Loss. So that’s really $149 plus the $269 you’ve already paid.

Still, $418 for an iPhone 12 Pro Max is good. Especially when this is a flat fee, so it doesn’t matter whether your iPhone 12 Pro Max was a $1,099 one with 128GB storage, or $1,399 for 512GB storage.

Apple is not going to rapidly hand over an iPhone 12 Pro Max for between $681 and $981 off, though. There are conditions, starting with how Find My must have been enabled on your lost or stolen iPhone.

“Find My iPhone should remain enabled and your iPhone should remain associated with your Apple ID throughout the theft or loss claim process,” says Apple’s small print. “During the theft or loss claims process, you will be asked to erase your missing device, disable it, and transfer ownership before you can be issued a new device.”

So Apple is going to search for that stolen phone, it’s not going to shrug. And the process of replacing your missing iPhone is not going to be fast, either.

Phone model Other out of coverage repair cost Other AppleCare+ repair cost
iPhone 12 Pro Max $599 $99
iPhone 12 Pro $549 $99
iPhone 12 $449 $99
iPhone 12 mini or iPhone 11 $399 $99
iPhone SE (2020) $269 $99

The benefits and savings of standard AppleCare+

The sole extra benefit you get from the Theft and Loss version of AppleCare+ is that it covers you for, well, theft and loss. Otherwise the benefits are identical — and they can be substantial.

AppleCare+ now applies to up to two incidents of accidental damage every 12 months. Note that word “accidental.” If you choose to throw your iPhone under a truck and Apple can prove it, good luck getting any repair discount.

For regular, genuine situations, accidental damage officially comes under one of two categories. There’s screen damage, and then there is everything else.

Savings on screen repairs

If your screen — on any eligible iPhone with AppleCare+ — is damaged, Apple will replace it for $29. So that’s really $29 plus whatever you’re paying for AppleCare+.

For instance, if the screen that’s damaged is on an 2020 iPhone SE, then you’re paying $29 plus the $79 for AppleCare+. If you break your iPhone SE screen and don’t have coverage, you’re going to pay Apple $129.

At the other end of the scale, breaking the screen on an iPhone 12 Pro Max means $29 plus your $199 AppleCare+ fee for a total of $128. Whereas replacing the screen without coverage will cost you $329.

The difference between repairing a screen with or without AppleCare+ does also vary depending on whether you’re paying monthly or not. Paying for coverage monthly on the iPhone 12 Pro Max, for instance, would mean your screen repair cost is $29 plus $269 for a total of $298.

So in that example, if you’re paying monthly for AppleCare+, you’re in theory only saving $31 over the cost of an ordinary screen repair. Except AppleCare+ allows you up to four screen repairs over the term — two per each of the two years.

Although if you try claiming for a third or fourth screen repair in a row, Apple will surely start wondering just how accidental this is.

Savings on other repairs

Other than screen damage, AppleCare+ officially describes just about anything else as “any other accidental damage.” It’s a very wide category, which may be why the costs — and the potential savings — are large.

If you have a 2020 iPhone SE with some accidental damage, under AppleCare+ you will have to pay a fee of $99. Together with the one-off AppleCare+ price, that’s a total of $178 (and for monthly it’s $278.76).

Compare that to the cost of getting this unspecified other damaged fixed if you don’t have AppleCare+. For a 2020 iPhone SE, the repair charge is $269.

So in this case it’s actually less to pay for it out of coverage than it is in — except, again, you can have multiple incidents of damage that are covered.

At the other end of the scale, the cost for repairing any damage, other than the screen, for the iPhone 12 Pro Max is $599. With AppleCare, you instead pay a $99 flat rate for anything.

So with one-off AppleCare+, that means your repair costs you a total of $298. For the monthly version, it’s a total of $338.76. If you’ve got the theft and loss version, you’re paying a total of either $368 or $422.76.

One more benefit

There is another benefit of AppleCare+, but it’s not to do with damage, it’s to do with batteries. If your battery should need replacing during your AppleCare+ two years, Apple will do it for free.

For comparison, if you’re out of coverage, Apple will charge $69 to replace the battery on an iPhone 11, iPhone 12, iPhone 12 mini, iPhone 12 Pro, and iPhone 12 Pro Max. It’ll charge $49 to replace the battery in a 2020 iPhone SE.

Do you feel lucky?

Assuming Apple believes that you really are this unlucky, AppleCare+ could cover you for four screen repairs, or four other damages, or four battery replacements. Or if you have AppleCare+ with Theft and Loss, it could cover you for four incidents of your iPhone being stolen.

It’s four incidents in total, whichever they are. So maybe you could smash the screen, break an internal connection, crack the housing, and then have it stolen.

Unquestionably, Apple has calculated the costs, and it’s also added up the odds. Apple knows just how many people buy AppleCare+, and it knows too how many of those ever make any claim on it.

You need to make the same calculation, at least as far as you are able. Maybe you’ve never cracked an iPhone screen in all the years you’ve had one, or maybe you always break them.

If you’re the most prone to breaking screens, and you have a 2020 iPhone SE, then four repairs outside coverage would cost you $516. Four repairs with the standard AppleCare+ would add up to either $195 or $211.76, depending on whether you pay monthly or not.

Four repairs on the iPhone SE screen under AppleCare+ with Theft and Loss would add up to $265 or $295.76.

Taking just the one-off AppleCare+ cost, without theft and loss, gives a similar picture over all the eligible iPhones. Four screen repairs on the iPhone 11 would total $265, instead of an out-of-coverage total of $796.

With the iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 mini, four screen repairs under AppleCare+ would cost you the same $265, but without the coverage would be $916 for the iPhone 12, and $1,116 for the iPhone 12 mini.

Four screen repairs on the iPhone 12 Pro would cost you $315 with cover, and $1,116 without. And for the iPhone 12 Pro, the total would be the same $315 with AppleCare+, but without it you’d be paying $1,316.

Beyond specific repair figures, it is worth something to know that you're covered by AppleCare+

Beyond specific repair figures, it is worth something to know that you’re covered by AppleCare+

More and less than money

If you never claim on AppleCare+ then it would appear to be wasted because you got no benefit from the fee. Equally, if you have one incident then under most circumstances, the total cost of repair is less if you have AppleCare+.

That would mean that if you’re likely to have more than two incidents of damage in the first two years after buying an iPhone, AppleCare+ is worth it.

Of course you can’t really predict whether you’re going to need AppleCare+ or not. But as well as meaning taking out AppleCare+ is a gamble, there is another side to it.

Rather than thinking about the specifics of how many times you can get your screen repaired, for instance, you could think about the peace of mind. Having AppleCare+ does mean the hit you will take if something goes wrong is less.

Then as well as the measurable benefits of repairs, AppleCare+ does include 24/7 technical support. You’re perhaps going to have to want quite a lot of that to be worth the cost, but what you’re paying for is the fact that it’s available.

That’s the real benefit of AppleCare+ overall. Knowing this, and knowing how prone you are to accidents, means that AppleCare+ might make you less nervous about this expensive device you’ve bought.

Mind you, it might also make you think more about buying a case.

Samsung’s upcycling program is designed to give new life to old tech

In the world of annual refresh cycles, there’s always been a big question mark around what to do with all of the old tech we too readily abandon. There are a number of options for disposing and recycling these objects that often contain rare earth and sometimes harmful material. The concept of upcycling has also become an increasingly popular option – offering a new lease on life for old technology. After all, your three-year-old smartphone may not be the latest and greatest, but that doesn’t mean it’s necessarily worthless.

During this morning’s CES kickoff press conference, Samsung outlined its new Galaxy Upcycling at Home program. For now, we got some pretty broad strokes about the program – and we’ll likely get more information at this Friday’s Galaxy Unpacked event. Here’s what the company had to say, “The new program reimagines the lifecycle of an older Galaxy phone and offers consumers options on how they might be able to repurpose their device to create a variety of convenient IoT tools.”

Examples from the presser include a baby monitor, pet care sensor for turning on lights remotely and a more abstract “digitally safe home” using Samsung Knox. It will be interesting to see what else the company’s got in store in that front – and certainly there’s something to be said for keeping old tech relevant even after its planned obsolescence.

The other piece of the puzzle is one of the more fun initiatives the company has introduced in recent years, with boxes that can be converted into house hold objects. The company announced this morning that all of its QLED, UHD TV and audio projects will feature the packaging.

Per Samsung,

As part of an ongoing commitment to eco-consciousness, Samsung is creating products and solutions with sustainability at the core. For example, Samsung’s new Solar Cell Remote Control—made in part with recycled plastic—can be charged via solar or indoor lighting, reducing battery waste.

Parler is officially offline after AWS suspension

True to its word, Amazon Web Services (AWS) suspended services to Parler, the right-wing-focused social network that proved a welcoming home for pro-Trump users whose calls for violence at the nation’s Capitol and beyond. The service suspension went into effect overnight after a 24-hour warning from AWS, which means that if you now go to Parler’s web address you’re greeted with a message saying the requested domain can’t be reached.

Parler’s community had been surging after the permanent suspension of Trump’s official accounts from Twitter and Facebook last week, which also saw a number of accounts tweeting similar invective and encouragement of violence aligned with Trump’s sentiments removed from those platforms. Apple and Google then removed Parler from their respective app stores for violations of their own terms of service, and AWS follows suit with its own suspension notice.

The company has suggested that it will rebuild its own infrastructure from scratch in order to contend with the various suspensions, but meanwhile other alternative social media sites that continue to exist, and that have typically catered to a more right-wing audience, like Gab, are seeing the benefits of Parler’s deplatforming. Gab has previously seen its hosting revoked, and been removed from Google Play for issues around hate speech dissemination.

Orange spins out Orange Ventures with $430 million allocation

Telecom company Orange is making some changes to its venture capital arm. Orange Ventures is becoming a separate legal entity and Orange itself is allocating $430 million (€350 million).

With this new corporate structure, Orange could attract third-party investors in its fund. Other telecom companies have made some headlines with their venture funds in the past, such as SoftBank’s Vision Fund and Reliance Jio.

Separating Orange Ventures from Orange is also going to boost confidence when it comes to confidentiality and conflicts of interest between a startup and the telecom company. There’s a more visible firewall between Orange and Orange Ventures.

But if you want to partner with Orange, there are some opportunities on the table — the company says those synergies are “flexible and optional”.

Orange Ventures focuses on investments in companies that operate more or less in the same space as Orange. It includes many verticals, such as connectivity, cybersecurity, fintech and e-health. Previous investments include Monzo, Luko, Raisin, YouVerify and WeaveWorks.

Orange Ventures currently has offices in Paris and Dakar and tends to invest in startups from seed stage up to Series A or B. The firm says it can invest as much as €20 million in a single round. It is screening startups in Europe, Africa, the Middle East and the U.S. There are around 20 people working for Orange Ventures.

TSMC set to outpace semiconductor industry thanks to Apple chip orders

Apple chip partner TSMC will see growth in 2021 alongside the entire chip foundry industry, Counterpoint Research claims, with TSMC expected to keep outperforming the industry average with growth between 13% and 16%.

In its examination of the semiconductor industry sector, Counterpoint analysts reckon the entire market delivered “above-expectation revenue” in 2020, which it believes will continue into 2021. In its predictions for the year ahead, the firm is especially positive on TSMC and Apple’s chip strategy.

While the industry enjoyed 23% year-on-year growth of revenue in 2020 to $82 billion, Counterpoint believes it will grow to $92 billion for 2021, an annual increase of 12%. For TSMC, its forecast 13% to 16% sales growth in 2021 will outpace the industry at large if it is met.

This will in part be driven by TSMC’s accelerating production ramp-ups of EUV-enabled (extreme ultraviolet lithography) nodes, generally covering 7-nanometer and 5-nanometer chips. EUV is thought to be a “critical factor in extending Moore’s Law,” increasing the transistor density of chips, and potentially improving performance.

On the 5-nanometer level, TSMC started mass production in Q1 2020, followed by Samsung at least 6 months later. It is estimated that 5-nanometer wafer shipments will account for 5% of 12-inch wafers in the world for 2021, up from under 1% in 2020 .

Apple is considered to be the top customer for 5-nanometer chips in 2021, passing all orders through TSMC, and is expected to make up 53% of shipments. This is due to Apple’s use of 5-nanometer processes in A-series chips used in iPhones, as well as Apple Silicon.

Qualcomm may be the second-largest 5-nanometer wafer customer, partially due to Apple and the speculation Qualcomm’s X60 modem may be adopted in the “iPhone 13.”

In the 7-nanometer market, Apple is thought to only consume 6% of those wafers in 2021, in part due to the extremely crowded marketplace dominated by AMD, Nvidia, and Qualcomm.

Due to events such as trade wars and COVID-19, chip producers like TSMC are expected to prepare for “extra levels of components,” due to a lengthening of the component supply chain to 26 weeks from late 2020. “In other words, we might see an ascending wave of double-booking pattern in matured nodes not only on TSMC but also more seriously on the second-tier foundry members,” writes the firm.

“As long as the concern of supply chain disruptions persists, chip vendors would maintain a high level of inventory from Q4 2020,” the analysts add, which could also enable “better-than-normal seasonality” in the first half of 2020 due to foundry customers placing wafer orders earlier.

A market expectation of TSMC’s record-high of over $20 billion in revenue for 2021 “looks reasonable to us,” says Counterpoint. “In our view, it will be a crossover year for TSMC’s sales between its two growth pillars – smartphone and HPC.”

TSMC is expected to expand its 5nm and 3nm capacities during 2021, with the latter thought to already be consumed by Apple. The “capex-to-sales ratio,” used as an indicator of future growth, is expected to stay at peak levels for the year, at 40% for TSMC.

The report’s rosy picture arrives ahead of TSMC’s earnings call on January 14. It has reported record earnings for the December 2020 quarter, thought to be largely attributed to demand for the iPhone 12 range.

Apple debuts two new privacy-focused ads on YouTube

Apple has released two new short-form ads explaining ways it protects user data using Face ID and Apple Pay.

Apple’s Face ID launched alongside the iPhone X and allows users to unlock their iPhone and perform a variety of other actions — such as making contactless payments — merely by looking at the front-facing camera.

The new Face ID Data ad is short — only fourteen seconds — but serves to inform users that Face ID data is stored on-device rather than being uploaded to the cloud.

The second ad focuses on Apple Pay, Apple’s mobile contactless payment method for iPhone, iPad, and Apple Watch, as well as MacBooks that feature Touch ID.

The ad informs the user that “Apple Pay is designed to work without Apple knowing what you buy.” Besides keeping your purchases hidden from Apple, Apple Pay also hides your credit card number from retailers by using a tokenized Device Primary Account Number instead.

Apple continues to showcase how it takes customer privacy seriously. The Cupertino-tech giant has recently begun encouraging app developers to submit specific privacy details for its so-called “nutrition labels,” so users can make well-informed choices on whether or not to use a specific app.

Get live feedback on your pitch deck from big-name VCs on Extra Crunch Live

Your startup’s pitch deck could be the difference between getting funded or getting ignored. It’s often the first point of contact between a company and venture investors, but it’s also a bit of a black box.

How do these investors consume this content? Are they speed-flipping through the slides or taking their time? Do they prefer more information on the team or context on the industry? More numbers or more words? How many slides is the right number of slides?

There are too many questions to count, and often very few answers. But we’re popping the lid off of that black box with the Pitch Deck Teardown. We’ve done Pitch Deck Teardowns at events like Disrupt and Early Stage 2020, and this year we’re cranking it up a notch.

As a part of Extra Crunch Live, our weekly event series that connects investors and founders, we’ll be offering EC members the chance to get live feedback on their pitch decks from our guests. You heard that right. Every single week, VCs and big-name tech founders will look through pitch decks from the Extra Crunch community and offer their two cents.

That’s where you come in. We’re asking EC members to submit their pitch decks right here!

Only EC members will have the chance to get their pitch deck looked at, so please use the same email attached to your Extra Crunch account when you submit.

Last week, we shared what you can expect from Extra Crunch Live in 2021. Here’s a refresher:

  • Series A – Learn how others have fundraised! We’ll have a segment dedicated to hearing from founder/investor duos who walk us through the Series A pitch deck that led to investment. 
  • Pitch Deck Teardowns – Extra Crunch members will have the opportunity to submit their pitch deck and get feedback from our guests, which will include VCs and founders (EC members can submit their pitch decks right here!). 
  • Live Pitch-offs – Audience members can raise their hand to practice their elevator pitch in front of the audience and get real-time feedback from VCs.
  • Networking!! – The Extra Crunch membership is a community. ECL will be an opportunity to meet your fellow audience members, even in a virtual environment. Who knows? Maybe you’ll meet your next co-founder or investor! 
  • Consistency – ECL will always be at 12pm PT/3pm ET on Wednesdays. When it comes to your calendar, set it and forget it. 

We’re super excited about ECL in 2021 and can’t wait to get started. More on upcoming speakers very soon!

Recycling startup Redwood Materials is now accepting your old smartphones

Redwood Materials, the recycling startup founded by former Tesla CTO JB Straubel, has quietly opened up its enterprise to everyday consumers and all of the old electronics sitting in their junk drawers.

The move expands upon the Carson City, Nevada-based company’s existing and primary strategy to recycle scrap from battery cell production and consumer electronics for corporate customers like Panasonic and Amazon.

The startup has posted a “recycle with us” tab on its website, which states “Have lithium ion batteries or e-waste? We’ll recycle your phones, tablets, power tools and any other device with a lithium-ion battery.” There isn’t anymore information on the website beyond an address, where consumers can send their e-waste, and a “contact us” button.

Straubel told TechCrunch in October that its business model could someday evolve to include consumers because they had received so many inquiries from people. It seems that Redwood has decided to take the leap.

Redwood Materials isn’t setting strict parameters on what consumers can send, a spokesperson said, who confirmed the company is even taking cables. Redwood told TechCrunch it wants to hear from consumers and will determine over time how it might expand the program. For instance, the company said it might formalize the consumer program and add shipping boxes and labels to make the process easier.

For now, Redwood is going to open it up and see what happens.

The majority of lithium-ion batteries used in smartphones and other consumer electronics are not recycled and instead either sit forgotten in the owner’s junk drawer or enter the waste stream and end up in a landfill.

Redwood Material is aiming to change that by creating a circular supply chain. Redwood collects scrap from Panasonic’s battery cell production and as well as consumer electronics such as cell phone batteries, laptop computers and power tools from other corporations. The company then processes the discarded goods, extracting materials like cobalt, nickel and lithium that are typically mined, and supplies those back to Panasonic and other customers.

Eventually, Straubel wants Redwood to be part of the end-of-life solution for electric vehicle batteries as well. The CEO has aspirations to set up facilities in strategic regional locations around the world to meet this need. For now, most of the items recycled and processed at Redwood’s two facilities in Carson City are for Panasonic and other unnamed consumer electronics-related companies.