MacBook Pro Touch Bar Cases - Behind the Exciting New Designs
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 MacBook Pro Touch Bar Cases. More specifically, the forthcoming Premium Leather MacBook Pro with Touch Bar Sleeves and Flight Jackets.
JKD - You've been busy so far this year.
MS - (Laughing) When have you known me not to be busy?
JKD - Well, I was going to say is that you've been busy with a lot of attention being paid to the iPad. How does it feel to get back to working on MacBook Pro cases, specially cases for the 13" and 15" MacBook Pro with Touch Bar?
MS - I've been doing this a long time Jody and over the years I have realized there is one consistent thing: change. Change is our only constant. Apple has to stay relevant and that means new products and new versions of old models. Updates and more updates. It never stops. Can it sometimes feel like a treadmill? Yes. But that is the reality of being so specific, so focused on doing one thing and doing it well.
We have had our moments of trying new things and were not necessarily Apple specific, but at the end of the day, Apple specific is who we are. We make cases, bags, sleeves and backpacks for Apple portables. That's what we do. Having a new crop of Apple laptops to design for is always exciting and yes, it takes us back to our roots. Back to the future, Jody!
JDK - Is there anything specific about the 13" or 15" MacBook Pro Touch Bar cases that is exciting or of interest to you to design for?
MS - One thing I realized while watching the Apple event when the Touch Bar models were released was that the 11" MacBook Air and 12" MacBook have gone away. It was done in such a quiet way. We still have some 11" and 12" Flight Jackets and Sleeves in stock that we need to find a home for.
Getting back to the 13" and 15" MacBook Pro Touch Bar cases, it's always exciting. Apple doesn't do completely new laptops that often so it's a big deal. From what I am reading they seem to have some issues but they'll work them out.
There is not really anything specific about the Touch Bar models themselves that makes designing for them particularly challenging. The most interesting opportunity for me and for MacCase, is the people. A new Apple laptop generally means that a group of people will be buying Apple for the first time.
Back when we started, there was us and maybe one or two other companies who made a case to fit a PowerBook. Now, for these MacBook Pro Touch Bar models, there are more companies than I can count making cases. Sure, a lot of them are absolute crap and the companies will, like so many others over the years, fade away. But if I am a new Apple user and I am looking for a case, am I going to find MacCase? That's our challenge.
New customers for Apple always means potential new customers for MacCase. It's a chance to tell our story, to express our passion for this community and for them to purchase a case, sleeve or bag of real quality.
JKD - Does it dishearten you when you see so many poor quality case designs available?
MS - I have been doing this long enough to know that we need to keep doing what we do. This means putting the best MacBook Pro Touch Bar cases into the world that we can. I like to focus on making MacCase products better, not spending time getting emotional drained by someone's potential choice of an inferior case.
When the MacBook Air was first released a litany of case companies were launched all having what they considered the perfect solution to protect what was then, a very thin, fragile laptop. How many cases were put out there copying Apples manila envelope ad campaign?
I don't think one of those companies from that time is still around. When the Air came out, we just put our head down, designed and built the best, most protective cases, sleeves and bags for the MacBook Air and never looked up. And we're still here. Even after all this time, we still work incredibly hard at this.
I did read a post about someone who purchased what I believe was a 15" MacBook Pro with Touch Bar. He was bragging how he created a case from the postal envelop. Sure, the price is right, but is that really the best option to protect what is essentially a large technology investment? I often ask, "Would you take a bunch of refrigerator boxes and tape them together to make a garage to park your Ferrari in?"
An Apple laptop is a similar kind of product. Like a Ferrari, it represents the best of a type of thing. We make the best of a type of thing too. Luckily, we have over the years, found enough people who agreed with us.
When all the dust settles, the opportunity that the new 13" and 15" MacBook Pro Touch Bar cases represent is an opportunity to engage with new people who are also looking for the best of a thing. In this case, that thing is a MacCase nylon or Premium Leather MacBook Pro Touch Bar case. Not everyone is going to choose a postal envelope to transport their new 15" Touch Bar MacBook Pro (well let's hope not anyway!).
They are going to want something better, something better than the crap on amazon or eBay. They'll find their way to MacCase and we'll be here to help them. We'll offer them the best protection for their new, expensive Apple laptop wrapped in a beautiful design that they'll be very proud to own and use.
JKD - So what specially is MacCase doing for the MacBook Pro Touch Bar models? Is there anything radical waiting in the wings?
MS - Not immediately. Right now customers are looking for what we call "Transitional Designs". These are our legacy designs, our Premium Leather Flight Jackets and Premium Leather Sleeves that we have redesigned to create custom 13" and 15" MacBook Pro Touch Bar cases.
The Touch Book laptops are smaller than their predecessors. While they fit in the older versions of our Flight Jacket or Sleeve, we want them to have a certain type of fit. This is one of the differences between MacCase and what a lot of other companies do. We have a "Goldilocks" standard when it comes to fit: Not too loose, not too tight, just right.
It's one of those things that customers know when they experience it. This is one of the things we like to deliver, meeting that expectation with a "wow" or a nod of "yes" when they first slide their 13" Touch Bar MacBook Pro into our new Sleeve or Flight Jacket. Sure the case has to protect, but a MacCase is about so much more than just protection. Protection is where we start and we build from there.
So initially, we have our Premium Leather Sleeves and Premium Leather Flight Jackets that will be custom fit for the Touch Bar MacBook Pro. Our nylon line will also feature MacBook Pro Touch Bar cases as well. With new custom sleeves coming, we can build Touch Bar Messenger Bags and Backpacks from them.
Eventually all MacCase 13" and 15" MacBook Pro cases will be Touch Bar specific. Of course as soon as this happens, people will come out of the woodwork looking for a case of their 2015 MacBook. Happens every time!
JKD - Well there is a lot to look forward to. As always, thank you for your time.
MS - You're very welcome.