13 MacBook Pro Backpack - Behind the Versatile New Design
Fourth in a series of interviews about the story behind the design of MacCase products.
For this interview, we are again speaking to MacCase President and Chief Creative Officer Michael Santoro about the company's new 13 MacBook Pro Backpack.
JKD - Following on the footsteps if the 12" we have the 13 MacBook Pro backpack. What are the differences?
MS - The 12" allows the computer to be stored horizontally with the vertically oriented backpack shell which is quite unique. The 13" model is much more like the model it replaces, our tried and true 13 MacPack Combo backpack.
JDK - How is it more like the Combo model?
MS - The thing that makes many of the MacCase models, our MacBook Pro Messenger Bags and this backpack different from what many other laptop case companies who make backpacks do is that we include one of our custom sleeves with the basic bag. So it's like super-sizing the protection. You get the proven protection of our MacCase sleeve and then that goes into what is already a very protective backpack. It's a win, win.
JDK - Can they be used separately?
MS - Yes! That is what is so great about this package. You can use them separately or together. If you have a rolling bag that you want to use and you want to put your 13 MacBook Air in there, you have the sleeve that came with the 13 MacBook Pro backpack that you can then use to protect your Air in the roller. If you want to use the backpack to take to the gym, you leave the sleeve and the computer at home and throw your gym stuff in the backpack and you're off to the gym. It's the most versatile backpack out there for the 13" MacBook Air, MacBook Pro and regular MacBooks.
JDK - If this was the same basic idea as the old Combo model, why release the new one?
MS - The MacPack Combo had been in production a long time. Off hand I can't think of how many years it's been around. A long time. In this industry, our product life cycles are glacial. Other's do new models every 6 months, we're more like every 6 years. (laughing).
JKD - Well why is that?
MS - Because I'm not interested in putting junk into the world. There is enough junk in the world. To me, doing products with ultra short life cycles just shows how little you thought about the design, the problem you were attempting to solve and the solution you reached. How good can something be if the first thing you do when you complete it is start the working on replacing it? There are so many examples of products being replaced for the sake of replacing them and the replacement is worse. Is that progress? Is that good design? Is that making the world a better place or just going through the motions for the sake of the motion itself? That's not interesting to me.
I like to spend time developing the designs, testing, solving the real problem and then see how the world reacts. How can you learn anything if you're not listening. If you're off designing the next version of the thing you just finished, how can you make it better? As I mentioned, our designs have very long life cycles and it seems to work.
But back to your original question….
The MacPack Combo was originally designed to hold the 17" MacBook Pro along with all the smaller sizes in Apple's lineup. When the 17" went away there was no reason for the backpack part of the design to be so tall. We had a few customers return the the Combo because they had 13" laptops and didn't need all that vertical space designed to hold the 17" that was no longer made.
JDK - It sounds like you could have used this new 13 MacBook Pro Backpack just as the 17" MacBook production ended?
MS - Well yes and no. It's never that cut and dry when Apple pulls the plug on a model that has been in production in one form or another for many years. There is the remaining inventory that is in the sales channel. There are the folks that just made a purchase and are in need to a case to protect it and then there is the installed user base. We still get calls and emails for 17" cases. I had a customer who I believe is a pretty famous architect in Bangladesh who wants me to design a one-off 17" briefcase for him. He loves his 17" MacBook Pro, has been all over the world with it and wants our Premium Leather Briefcase for it. So there was a demand for the MacPack Combo model for a while after the 17" got terminated by Apple.
JKD - So you don't foresee any more returns?
MS - The new 13 MacBook Pro Backpack is the absolute perfect size for any of the 13" MacBook models. I doubt we'll get another return ever again because the bag is too big. It's compact, lightweight, comfortable and holds an incredible mouth of stuff for the size that it is. When you combine it with the proven protection of our MacCase Sleeve, you have something truly unique in the market. It's probably the highest level of protection you can purchase for the money. Moreover, it's an incredible value because you are getting both the backpack and the sleeve for one low price. Geez, I sound like one of those TV pitchmen. But, really it's a great value on top of providing the best all around protection.
JDK - A pouch in included as well?
MS - Yes, this is really the icing on the cake. Apple makes all their cables, chargers, and other accessories white. The cables especially are a sticky white rubbery material. And while they do a great job of looking pretty when they are new, they also do a great job of attracting dirt. Everything that lands at the bottom of whatever bag you are using will stick to them. 3 year olds are jealous of how much dirt the Apple accessories can attract.
So we designed these little 6" x 6" x 1" pouches to hold all of the expensive Apple accessories. They keep them safe so they don't come to harm during transport and they keep them clean as well. They're simple, they work and one is included as part of the 13 MacBook Pro Backpack.
JKD - Well that sounds like a winning combination. Thanks again for your time.
MS - Thank you, Jody.