The Best Leather iPad Pro 12.9 Cases - Behind the Design
Apple recently announced an updated iPad Pro 12.9 at the WWDC in San Jose, California. While much of the focus was placed on the new 10.5 iPad Pad model, Apple changed the 12.9 model enough to force a redesign of what many people consider the best leather iPad Pro 12.9 cases, the MacCase Premium Leather 12.9 Folio.
For this installment of "Behind the Design" we are once again talking to MacCase Chief Creative Officer Michael Santoro about the changes and what is ahead for the new Folio.
Apple Introduces an Updated iPad Pro 12.9
JKD: I know you've had your hands full designing new 10.5 cases. Did you see the changes for the 12.9 coming or was it a surprise?
MS: Whenever Apple introduces something totally new, the focus is always on the new thing. It's a natural reaction. Like we discussed before, the brand new and shiny thing is the thing you scramble to react to. That is the model customers will be calling about looking for and wanting you to have cases waiting for.
Typically, when Apple updates an iPad or even one of their laptops, it's an internal update, a faster processor, more drive space, that sort of thing. I think with the 12.9, they wanted to have a consistent design across the three iPad Pro and iPad sizes, 9.7, 10.5 and 12.9. For the 12.9 this meant moving some exterior design features around.
JDK: So let's talk about those changes. What did they move? Can you go into specifics?
MS: On the 10.9 and 9.7, Apple moved the 2 microphones from the exterior side and rear panel. This is where they have been on the Air 2 and original 9.7. The moved them to the top edge and top center of the rear panel. With the updates to the 12.9 Pro, they followed this design and moved the microphones to the new center based locations.
The problem for us is that the rear panel of our Folio covered top center mike and the frame that holds the iPad Pro in the case covered the new mike location along the top edge. This are tiny, microscopic dots on the exterior of the iPad but you have to allow sound to reach them so it was back to the drawing board for us, both literally and figuratively.
Leather iPad Pro 12.9 Cases - Say Cheese!
JKD: Were the mics the only problem created by the update?
MS: No, there were others. Apple moved the rear flash so it is now below the rear camera. When you put the new 12.9 iPad Pro in our old Folio, the flash was partially blocked. Again, not good. We use a cut out in the rear panel so the user has access to the camera and it's functions. The shape of the cut out had to change to allow unencumbered use of the camera and flash.
Moreover, the new 12.9 iPad Pro has two sensors in the upper corners for autobrightness and the True Tone display auto adjustments, which are blocked by the case. We had to take measures to make sure these were also fully functional.
JKD: It seems that these are such small things. Do they really matter and if so why?
MS: Our goal is to design, build and share with the world, the best leather iPad Pro cases we can. That is our mission. The change for the rear flash was a matter of changing the rear cutout a few millimeters. That's it.
All the changes are about user experience. When you call something "the best", it is a completely subjective thing. But if you get enough people to say, "Yeah those MacCase leather iPad Pro 12.9 cases are the best" you have a consensus. This is something you can build on.
There is no way we can put a product out that we know, at some level, does not meet our standard of what we would call the best. We've never operated that way and as long as I am here, we will not. I could not sleep at night knowing we're shipping something that is not the best is can be.
For us, it is a matter of pride as well. We are proud to do good work, to put things in the world of a certain quality. The world is drowning in substandard products made to be thrown away. This is why you see the rise of the site like Etsy. Etsy is sort of the anti-China. So to answer your question, yes even though these things are very small details, for us they matter a lot, almost to the point of obsession.
Designing an iPad Pro 12.9 User Experience
JKD: You mentioned user experience. Apple spends a lot of time, money and energy delivering a certain experience for the iPad user. Does what MacCase does relate to this or is that not relevant?
While people look at what we do as design and build cases, I like to think we really do is design and build a user experience. If we did not, why use the hides we use? They are not cheap! Why spend so much time making sure the stitching is so perfect? Why make the frame out of a stamped steel alloy when the rest of the world uses plastic? Why spend so much money on making these small changes to our leather iPad Pro 12.9 cases?
We want to remove frustration and other negative emotions from the users experience as much as we can. Is it possible to make every user happy, in every situation every time? No. But we try!
I take a lot of calls from customers who have what I call "questions about their projected user experience". Can I do this with your folio? Will your folio allow me to fold it in this way? What they are asking is, am I going to have a pleasant and successful user experience with your design. If they won't, I let them know. Most times, our designs will work for them in their specific situations. That is very rewarding.
Our folios are some of the most feature-rich, leather iPad Pro 12.9 cases available at any price. Things like our SoundBoard speaker enhancement add to a more positive user experience. How the leather feels in your hand, the softness, the quality tactile feel and the smell all add up to a better user experience than a case that uses inferior materials. Designing the user experience is what we do first. Then we design the case to make sure it delivers that experience.
Which Leather iPad Pro 12.9 Do I Need?
JKD: I see that you now have "v1 and "v2", or version 1 and version 2 of your 12.9 Folios. Do customers know which model they need?
MS: This kind of confusion usually rears it's head whenever we have a transition from one Apple model to another. The short and simple answer is that if you have taken delivery of your 12.9 iPad Pro in the last 45 days then you need version 2 or v2 of our Folio. If you have an 12.9 from last year or up until the announcement and release of the updated model, you need v1.
The good news is our new, updated leather iPad Pro 12.9 case will be backwards compatible. Once they are in stock, they will work with all the 12.9 versions. So the v1/ v2 nomenclature is temporary. Once the transition dust settles, we'll go back to one version.
JKD: That's a good update. I think we'll stop there. Thanks for your time.
MS: Thank you, Jody.