Leather iPad 9.7 Cases - Behind the Design
The latest 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 Premium Leather iPad 9.7 cases.
JKD: There was much speculation this week around the possible introduction of Apple's next tablet model. What did MacCase have planned?
MS: Wow Jody, I don't think you've ever asked me a question that I wouldn't answer but I think the time has come.
JKD: Really? Can you explain?
MS: Just because Apple didn't release the product we thought they would doesn't mean they won't. Telling you all about what we were working on now would be premature given the nature of what may happen going forward.
Arrival of the New Leather iPad 9.7 Cases
JKD: Understood. OK, so while we didn't get what was anticipated, we did get a replacement for the aging iPad Air, the new iPad 9.7. What is your response to what we did get from Apple? Were you disappointed not to get a truly new model?
MS: This news coincided perfectly with the arrival of the latest addition to our leather iPad 9.7 cases, the Premium Leather iPad 9.7 Sleeve. They came in on the same day Apple released their news. I don't think this has ever happened before.
From a strategic standpoint, what they did makes sense. The Air has been around for a while so transitioning to the iPad 9.7 seems like a smart move. It keeps their assortment fresh and up to date. The questions is, is making your new iPad heavier and thicker a step forward? I guess the market will decided.
Regarding how I feel personally, it's always exciting when we get something new to design for. We were ready for something new in a way we have never been before so I guess there is a bit of a let down. But as I mentioned, just because we didn't get something all new now, doesn't mean we won't later in the year.
The development work we have done for what we thought was coming will help us respond much more quickly going forward. We didn't do it in a vacuum. We have a new development model that will help us bring our products to market in a much more expedited way. I'm glad to have gone through this exercise and come out of it in a much better place. As far as what Apple will do in the short and medium term, we'll have to wait and see. In the meantime we have a bright, shiny new iPad 9.7 to design for.
JKD: How does this change in the iPad lineup effect the MacCase lineup?
MS: Our Sleeve designs for the iPad and iPad Pro have been some of our most popular models. With the release of the iPad 9.7, we see this trend continuing. Many times when Apple introduces a new model there is a lag between when we get the specs and when we actually ship the new designs we have created for it. Sometimes that lag is longer than we like.
The new leather iPad 9.7 cases are really some of the best products of their kind. They are extremely protective. The silent magnetic closures are pleasure to use. They feel great in your hands. They will last long after you're current iPad model has been replaced. Oh, and they smell wonderful too.
It feels so good to have these new leather iPad 9.7 cases in stock before you can even order the actual tablet from Apple. Again, this has never happened before. And sure, you can say that for the most part, the new 9.7 is the same as the 9.7 Pro, but this leather iPad 9.7 sleeve is new for us. It's new for us and it's designed for the new 9.7 so that is a nice synergy to have in our favor. We usually don't get that lucky (laughing).
The Fit of the New Leather iPad 9.7 Cases
JKD: Is there a perfect fit for each MacCase model? Does the new 9.7 fit in all the current leather iPad 9.7 cases?
MS: That is the fantasy. For models like our iPad Flight Jacket, the fit is fine. We have already talked about the new leather 9.7 sleeve. The fit is perfect there. What we need to address is the very minor changes to the Premium Leather iPad 9.7 Folio.
The new 9.7 has some very small but significant changes that the average user will never notice. I picked them out right away and discussed them with our engineering team to make sure our Folio will remain the single best, most professional case you can buy for the iPad 9.7.
Another strange thing is that we sold out of our current inventory of iPad Pro 9.7 Folios on the same day the new 9.7 was released. We had held off on any new production of 9.7 Folios to see what Apple was going to do. So we knew we were running out. But we have never run out of a model the day a new model was announced. Wow, Jody, what's going on? (Laughing).
A New Leather iPad 9.7 Folio?
JKD: So what is the status of the Premium Leather 9.7 iPad Folio? Can customers place an order for one?
MS: The case is in development. When you're dealing with a millimeter here and a millimeter there of tolerance, you cannot rush it. It has to be right. We do not want any quality issues, functionality issues, or aesthetic ones for that matter.
JKD: So the small changes you need to make is preventing you from just keeping the iPad Pro 9.7 Folio in production as is?
MS: Yes. We need to address the small changes between the iPad Air and the new 9.7 and between the iPad Pro 9.7 and the new 9.7. The next generation of this case has to work for all three models. It's a big ask and a big task to make sure this is achieved.
To answer your original question, yes, customers can place an order for a new leather iPad 9.7 Folio. We hope to have the new case in stock by mid April. Since the Apple stores do have any idea when they are getting the new 9.7, our mid April date might move a bit because we need to have access to the new 9.7 for testing. Once Apple ships the 9.7 the wait for a new Premium Leather iPad 9.7 Folio will not be a long one.
A New Leather iPad 9.7 Flight Jacket?
JKD: Earlier you mentioned the Premium Leather iPad Flight Jacket. This model has been around since the first iPad introduced by Steve Jobs. What are the plans for this model?
MS: That's a good question that I was hoping you were not going to ask (laughing). It's been one of the most eccentric products I ever designed. It was a big hit early on despite is diminutive size. Then, crickets. Then it got hot again, and then cooled off. We've tried different price points and the more expensive it got, the better it sold.
We did a whole design program where we looked at using different materials in combination with the leather. We had plans to move the design froward but then sales would cool off and we'd put it on hold. It's not like we have not worked on it. It seems like we always had inventory so there was no urgency to get something new out.
Yes, it was designed for the original iPad, but you've seen how small that case is. If we designed it for the size of the Air and now 9.7 iPad, it would be too small to hold anything else. I've been thinking of what the next generation should be, what it should do. At some point the inventory will be close to selling out and I will have to make a decision on how that design will move forward. That is a tricky one, though.
JKD: As always, thank you for your time.
MS: You're very welcome, Jody.
"It's good to have the new leather iPad 9.7 cases in stock..."