iPad Pro Cases - MacCase Design Update
As the creators of the Apple specific case maker, nothing is as exciting for us as a new form factor from Apple. I was in a Apple store earlier in the week and asked when in November the iPad Pro would be available. The pleasant but unknowing employee didn't have a clue. It would be nice to know but that is not preventing us from moving froward with the designs for our iPad Pro cases.
Before we get into the nuts and bolts of what we are cooking up, we've been talking a lot about Apple's direction and the "why" of the Pro. Why, after years of iPad sales and form factors do you launch a new form factor, a new model, that sits squarely in the cross hairs of your most popular portable computer?
The more you look at the iPad Pro the more you realize that Apple is instituting what is known in the product world as "creative destruction". Creative destruction is what you do when you have a best selling, popular or high revenue product and you replace it with something new, unproven or a new technology. It's a very risky thing to do but for many technology companies, it's standard operating procedure to insure that they keep an advantage over competitors. Sometimes it's for the better, sometimes not.
The last time Apple did this was when they launched the iPod Nano that replaced the "gum stick" iPod Nano design. The gum stick model was the most popular iPod in Apple's MP3 player line up at the time and they threw the baby out with the bath water. The new Nano that replaced the tall, slender, elegant Nano was square and had a scrollable screen. It was more like a shuffle with a screen than what the Nano had been famous for. I still have the gum stick Nano and everyone I know that replaced the their gum stick with the square model hated it. This was a clear case of creative destruction seeming like a mistake as the customers agreed the old model was better.
Fast forward to the recent new product rollout and Apple's announcement of a new iPad is much more profound than replacing a best selling iPod. I think what Apple has ushered in with this iPad Pro is nothing short of the beginning of the end of the laptop as we know it.
Apple's most popular laptop is the 13" series, the MacBook, MacBook Pro and MacBook Air. If you look at the size of the screen of the new iPad Pro, it's 12.9 or practically 13".
This writing proposes that Apple long term strategy to is replace their laptops up to 13" in size with iPad based form factors because they are much cheaper to produce for Apple and can offer the user a more rich and rewarding experience.
Let's start off the with hardware.
While Apple has played with and promoted what the iPad can do since it's introduction, it's never really been more than a device to access what could be considered consumer versions of professional level software. Apple and the app developers insured the platform was a huge success. But if you were a filmmaker, musician, producer, designer, engineer or any other such highly technical professional, you were still tied to your (gasp!) desktop or at best a high powered MacBook Pro portable.
With the introduction of Apple's newest and largest tablet, the paradigm shifts. In their presentation Apple did three things that heralded in this shift. First they showed the iPad Pro running CAD software. CAD software needs a big processors, very fast chips and the ability to handle complex graphics which is exactly what they built into the Pro.
Apple has always made a cover for their iPads but now we have a cover with a built in keyboard direct from Apple. Why?
Like it was explained in the keynote, they know not everyone likes the dead feeling of typing on glass, so even though the Pro's screen is large, typing on it for and extending period of time is not very rewarding. More importantly, if you are lining up a product to replace your 13" laptop series, you'd better not make one of the basic experiences of using said 13" laptops much worse. Typing on glass would do that, so Apple took it's in house key technology and applied it to a cloth substrate to get the tactile feeling customers migrating away from their 13" MacBooks would want.
This is at the core of what Apple does best: Conceptualize something wonderful then execute it just was well as the initial idea itself. It's hard to beat that combination especially if you can institutionalize it so you can do it time and time again.
So if Apple's newest tablet is going to ultimately be the replacement for the 13" MacBook series of laptops, what does that mean for MacCase?
Since the showing of the Pro we have been working flat out on iPad Pro cases. We spent the first week on strategy, working on direction and figuring out the "why" above. This gives us a base that acts as a point of departure for everything that will come next. Once we entered the concept phase things really got interesting. The sketches were flying, some on to the walls and some into the trash. There seemed to be iPad Pro cases everywhere you looked. One was even posted on a previous blog. A new design vocabulary was developed and form factors were created based on that. Then it was scraped. A second vocabulary was developed concurrently and the form factors evolved organically from that. Everyone smiled and there was much rejoicing.
Right now the designs for our iPad Pro cases are out for prototyping. We hope they come back solid and correct. Sometimes they do. Sometimes it takes three or four tries before the design is locked in. Giving birth to something that has never existed before in the history of humankind can sometimes be like that. We are working to have the designs in production as soon as possible.
We will launch with four form factors, three which will seem very familiar to MacCase customers. The fourth? It's brand new and something MacCase has never done before. Is it crazy, radical, ground breaking? Most people would say probably not. Lexus has been wildly successful designing and building extremely non-crazy, non-radical, non-groundbreaking cars since they started. Our new iPad Pro cases are more Lexus than Tesla. And that's OK.
Taking the best of our current designs, the new form factor will be one of the most beautiful iPad Pro cases when it's released. Professional, portable, elegant, competent are all adjectives I would use to describe it and we can't wait to share it with you!
I would like to personally thank each and every person who responded to our outreach for input on the designs for the iPad Pro cases. A great many of the idea supplied by customers have worked their way into the final designs in one form or another. So again, thank you if you shared your thoughts and ideas with us. It's much appreciated.
"Our new iPad Pro cases are more Lexus than Tesla…"