Why the Touchtype case is a dream for iPad owners who use Apple’s wireless keyboard
Every once in a while you spot a gadget or product on the internet that makes you whip out your debit card so quickly you can smell its singed plastic edges as the transaction is still making its way down your phone line.
Usually that product can be found on the US site Kickstarter — a place where people can ‘pledge’ a certain amount of funding to back a new product or project — which is usually the dream and creation of one person, or a small team of people, as opposed to a huge corporation. This results in frequent displays of genuine innovation and ingenuity, and when a particular creator’s passion meets a winning product, something special happens.
Despite the fact that I’ve lurked around Kickstarter for some time, I’ve never felt compelled to purchase anything from the site for various reasons — the main one being the fairly wince-inducing cost of tracked international shipping — which usually adds around £13 onto the price of whatever it is you’ve pledged toward. However, all of that changed in under a minute after I followed a link on minimalmac.com to Salman Sajid’s Touchtype iPad case on there. Before I get onto it, though, here’s a little background as to why his unique accessory appealed to me so quickly.
I owned the original iPad for around seven months before selling it to fund the purchase of a MacBook Air in early 2011. One of the things I enjoyed about Apple’s tablet was setting it into the standard keyboard dock and typing out lecture notes on it (I was undertaking a postgraduate degree at the time). To be frank, the iPad’s on-screen keyboard was pretty much useless no matter how much I tried to get used to it, and I liked the way you could pop it in and out of the dock in an instant. I don’t like holding tablets — particularly iPads — in my hands when they’re in third party cases. It just feels wrong — like wearing your hood up indoors.
It’s safe to say that the MacBook took care of my word-processing needs while on the move, but the void left by the departed iPad was never really filled. Yes, typing documents on the iPad was relaxing in an odd way, and it worked well, but it was all of the other things on it — you know, like apps and stuff — that really made it worth owning. I re-joined the iPad club in March this year when the iPad 3 came out and was blown away by its screen, graphical capabilities and all of the other things that caused everybody to make such a fanfare about it.
But that little niggling feeling returned — that voice of unsatisfied quibbling that still existed in spite of all the fanciful upgrades — and it was constantly muttering in a Gollum-esque voice about how irritating that on-screen keyboard is to use. I considered going for one of the all-in-one cases that house a Bluetooth keyboard, but the small sized keys on such keyboards would’ve been too much of an issue. Heck, even the Transformer Prime’s keys are too small for me, and I don’t even have (that) fat fingers.
Although the original iPad’s dock gave you a proper-sized Apple keyboard, which you can’t really beat, carrying around the two separate devices was annoying, and they tended to bang against each other while in my bag, causing scratches and ominous clinking sounds when walking down stairs. Are you still with me? Good. I’m going to talk about the iPad case I’ve bought now. Thanks for hanging in there.
Salman Sajid’s Touchtype iPad case rectifies all of the issues I’ve talked about so far. Basically, it allows you to store an iPad (of any generation) and an Apple wireless keyboard in the case itself. To create a case that manages this without adding insane levels of bulk is an achievement itself, but Salman has worked and re-worked this engineering feat to the point of perfection while keeping the case sleek, lightweight and incredibly sexy (one of the versions of it is called ‘wild espresso leather’). Rawr.
The Touchtype also allows you to change the iPad’s orientation from landscape to portrait using two sets of elasticated holding strips on different edges of the case. These elasticated parts mean that getting the iPad in and out of the case is a breeze — perfect for people like me who need the protection a case offers while carrying the device around in a bag — but also need quick and easy access to completely remove it when needed.
His invention fills a massive niche, which would explain why he’s met his Kickstarter target already. The reception to the Touchtype has been overwhelmingly positive, and the naysayers are the same ones regurgitating the 2010 mantra that the iPad has no place in today’s tech world because it lacks productivity value. Nothing’s changed: the iPad isn’t a laptop, and it shouldn’t be viewed as such. You either like it and appreciate it because of its form factor or you don’t — it’s simply a consumer device — nothing more. But this case brings that little bit of added usefulness wrapped up in a stylish protective shell aided by a spot of ingenious design.
If you want a case that is protective and lightweight without adding bulk, will allow your iPad to stand in either orientation and will carry your wireless keyboard around too, purchasing a Touchtype is a bit of a no-brainer. There are three flavours of the case available, with the basic one setting you back $47 + $20 (for tracked international shipping) resulting in a total cost of just under £43.
Check it out here.
Video: Sliding an Apple keyboard into the Touchtype. For a full video on how it looks and works, visit the link directly above.