At Levenger we took particular interest in the launch of Apple’s iPad. That “particular interest” is known as suspicion. We were suspicious of iPads the way sailmakers must have been suspicious of steamships.
Would this slim electronic wonder severely trim our non-electronic sails?
On iDay (April 5th), we gingerly lifted two iPads from their pristine white boxes (wasn’t the Trojan Horse white?) and began to gently poke these high-tech newborns in our low-tech product development nursery here at Levenger headquarters.
Their waif-thin glass and aluminum bodies were in marked contrast to the wood and leather and pens and paper that fill the Levenger nursery (and catalog, and website).
And—oh dear: our iPads didn’t need leather bookweights to keep them open. They didn’t need highlighters or PageNibs to mark their virtual pages. And somehow they didn’t seem completely at home on wooden bookshelves.
Didn’t our newborn iPads need something we offered?
Well, yes: they needed strollers to get around. Or rather, bags.
It’s in the (i)bag
Most any of our bags would work...
...but our svelte iPads opened up smaller possibilities—especially our popular Bomber Jacket Messenger, which I used to take one of our iPads on its first trip, leaving my laptop home sulking.
Knowing our customers as we do, we know that often those who are highest tech also love paper, such as our Circa notebooks, and pens. Happily, our leather Circa Zip Folios were designed to carry some slim stuff in addition to a Circa notebook or agenda. They took to the iPads like loving older sisters to a baby, slipping them right inside their folds.
Equally greedy to hold the new iPad babies were our Briefolios.
Most closely protective of all was our 10” Flak Jacket, since it was designed to provide serious protection to iPad-size netbooks, cosseting them in a rough-and-tumble world.
Soon our product developers were feeling happy, holding and protecting iPads in a wide assortment of Levenger carriers.
The next step was to try our iPads out for actual reading—and that led to a surprising discovery.
The surprise is not that iPads are great to read with. I’ve read on the Kindle, which is wonderful in its own way, but in my opinion, the iPad is even better because of its color, which can be easily dimmed to papery hues.
The iBook app on the iPad has the features you’d expect from a digital book (well, except for writing in the margins). It delighted us in the many ways we can turn pages, scale type bigger or smaller, highlight passages, look up words, and skip from book to book in our virtual library.
There’s just one problem: holding the iPad is not as comfortable as holding an old-fashioned paper book.
The iPad’s rigid glass and aluminum body doesn’t provide the flex of a paper book that our hands have gotten used to. While paper books accommodate our hands, the iPad makes our hands accommodate it. We found ourselves wanting to rest the iPad on something, such as a pillow or a contented cat.
Being short on cats, we picked up our popular Thai Book Rest and voila! It was perfect.
Though we designed it for paper books, the cushy mellowness of the Thai design holds the iPad at a perfect angle, holds it securely and comfortably, and provides a rest for your hands as they touch-turn pages or highlight a passage with your finger.
And the same Thai Book Rest displays the iPad beautifully on a conference table, or family-room bar, so that one or two people can see and touch its magical screen to surf the web, or turn the pages of a virtual cookbook.
I wish I could claim our designers were prescient enough to design our Thai Book Rest for the iPad and other magic tablets sure to follow. But it’s an accident. A marvelous accident, to be sure, and it makes us smile at the new iPad babies in our midst and wonder what else we can design just for them, and even their next generation.