This last spring, I bought the new iPad 3. I have a few other products by Twelve South including the PlugBug and the Leather SurfacePad so when I needed an iPad case, it was an easy decision to get the BookBook. This is an amazing iPad case. I’ve received so many comments on it. People had no idea I had an iPad with me; “I though you were carrying a journal or something”.
However, being that version is the same model they came out with when the original iPad was released, it had a few dated flaws. One of the biggest annoyances is that it didn’t have a magnet in the cover to automatically turn the iPad on/off. After a few minutes of research, trial and error, I had installed a small magnet onto the inside cover. Now the iPad would turn on/off automatically. It wasn’t pretty, just taped to the cover, but it worked.
Next up was a way to hold the stylus. Many people (RIP, Mr. Jobs) say that a stylus isn’t necessary. Perhaps but sometimes it is very useful. Personally I use my iPad often for credit card transactions and random people who are not familiar with an iPad have a hard time signing their name using a finger. Hand them the stylus and they don’t have any problems at all. I use the Adonit Jot Flip stylus which is an amazing stylus as well as a ball-point pen. I highly recommend them. Since the BookBook wasn’t designed to hold a stylus, I just rolled up a business card and taped it to the inside hinge space.
So recently, Twelve South came out with Vol. 2 of the BookBook. This is a redesign to address 2 major issues.
- The iPad was not held securely in place at the top (just a simple elastic band) and it could slip out if the case if held wrong. I had this happen to me a few times but luckily I would catch it before it fell to the ground.
- To adjust the viewing angle, you would use the attached string wrapped around the back. I guess some people didn’t like this as the string would often be in the way. I didn’t have this issue as I learned to wrap it up the side and around the top. It was a minor issue once in a while but I liked it as it allowed me to set the viewing angle to whatever I needed for the situation. As someone that travels a lot, this was quite useful.
So, with this new design, issue 1 was fixed by creating an enclosure all around the iPad. Since this meant you couldn’t easily remove the iPad, you would have to angle/lift up so that you could use the back camera. Since the enclosure could angle up, it was used to replace the string for issue 2 and now you are to rest it against the edge of the top cover. Some reviewers on Amazon have already complained about it, and I have to agree with them. When sitting next to me on the desk, the up angle was too steep and the lower angle (used for typing) was too low. So although the new case holds the iPad more securely, the other issues were disappointing. Instead of returning the new case and using the old one, I decided to just hack it again to suit my needs. This time, taking a bit more time to do it better.
First off was to address the cover magnet. Yes, they didn’t include a magnet on the redesign! That is just an amazing oversight but easy enough to fix. I positioned the magnet in the same location but this time covered it with black electrical tape. Since the inside cover is black, it is not as noticeable as on the brown of the first case.
Next was to come up with a way to give me better viewing angles. On the inside of the front cover, at the top and bottom are small fabric label tabs with open sides creating loops. I realized that this was the exact position that I want the enclosure to sit. I first tried running a black cord between the labels but when it was pulled tight, the labels crumpled and it looked bad. I tried different ways to keep the labels looking right and finally came up with the idea of metal braces.
This ended up being paperclips bent in a U-shape, 1.5″ wide with .5″ legs. I slid these into the labels and ran a simple stitching along the front and upper sides to keep them in place.
For the cross straps, I used an old elastic bra strap pulled tight and sewn shut. To position the iPad at these levels, I would simply flip out the back (keyboard) riser and slide it behind one of the straps. This also has the benefit of a light/privacy shield created by the top cover. Perfection!
This new case is a bit smaller all around so the space along the inside spine for the stylus wasn’t an option this time. The only place I could make it fit was along the top backside of the internal enclosure. I’ve only had time to use the same holder as before but held on with the black electrical tape. Soon I hope to find a better way to hold it in place but for now, it is working.
Perhaps these ideas will help someone else that has encountered the same issues. Hopefully Twelve South will come across this post and incorporate these modifications into Vol. 3. If so, just give me thanks in the credits.