It's 9:55 a.m., April 20, 2021.
Our product managers, design engineers, and other members of the PITAKA team are crammed into the presentation room, waiting for the long-anticipated Apple event to kick off.
Some are sipping coffee; others are exchanging words as Apple unveils new products.
"Huh. That iMac looks familiar", says Qiu, the product manager for our new product, the MagEZ Stand.
"Well, great minds think alike," James responds.
Last year when our engineers were working to improve the MagEZ Case for iPad Pro 2018/2020, we discovered that many people wanted to mount their iPad while using a bluetooth keyboard and mouse, instead of the Magic Keyboard. Of course, someone had found the solution already – an iPad stand.
So, our team did their market research, and before long, they decided to make our very own. They believed they could make a better-looking stand with better functionality. The team envisioned building an iPad Pro ecosystem, starting with the MagEZ Case for iPad Pro.
A Few Seconds Make A Big Difference
Making a slight design improvement wasn't enough of a reason to make a whole new iPad stand.
What pain points do we want to solve for our customers? Where can folks use the Stand? What kind of benefits or value can the product bring? There was a lot to do before we put pencil to paper. But one thing was clear. The magnetic Stand should improve our productivity. Due to its large screen, storage size, and better hardware configuration than a regular tablet, the iPad Pro can replace laptops in some situations. Many people choose the iPad Pro because they want a tool not only for entertainment but for work.
Steve Jobs once complained to Larry Kenyon, the engineer of the Macintosh OS, that the computer was taking too long to boot up. Jobs stated that "shaving 10 seconds off of the boot time can save a dozen lives" when multiplying that 10 seconds by five million users, you'll have had several lifetimes. Eventually, Kenyon had the computer booting up more than 20 seconds faster.
Never underestimate the difference a few seconds can make. This is one of the things that makes Mac stand out from the crowd.
Save a few seconds here and there every day, and we can save hours or even days in a year. Productivity is something we can't ignore in the modern world because time is money. A good product or service improving productivity can bring us convenience, which brings us joy.
That's where the MagEZ Stand comes in, as a device that boosts productivity, convenience, and joy!
We soon nailed down the Stand's appearance. The designer made a few tweaks here and there, but everyone loved its minimalist aesthetic, and we were thrilled to start the patent process.
Now we needed to turn the concept into reality.
How Many Seconds Can We Save?
First, the Stand had to have some magnetic element to fit with our other MagEZ products, such as the iPad Pro case. Unlike brackets that hold the tablet using clips, a magnetic stand allows us to mount and dismount the tablet with one action, saving seconds each time it's used.
During testing, we used a metal plate, allowing the magnetic iPad Pro case to attach to both the Magic Keyboard and the Stand. However, the iPad Pro would fall off the MagEZ Stand when we rotated it around or tilted it up. The magnetic field just wasn't strong enough, so we decided to replace the metal with magnets. After numerous tests, we finally figured out which size and how many neodymium magnets we should use.
The Stand also needed to be flexible. Instead of sitting static in one position, we wanted to place the tablet in either portrait or landscape with a single movement. The Stand needed to be sturdy enough to stay upright even with a 1.5 pound iPad Pro attached. When its position was adjusted, it would have to remain firmly attached to make the feature more convenient.
One more thing.
Crafted from zinc alloy, molded plastic, and aramid fiber, the base was able to wirelessly charge phones and earbuds with a speed of up to 15W. Plus, it would be a space and time saver, offering a place to charge a phone while focusing on work without thinking about charging cables. Isn't that an excellent way to optimize our daily schedule?
The majority of people are between 4.9 and 6.5 feet high. The average eye level of a seated person is around 1.1m/3.6 feet. According to ergonomics, our team used the number 1.2m, 10 cm higher than the average, to figure out the largest elevation angle of the Stand, which is 32.5°. At that angle, the top third of the screen is still at or below eye level. In other words, we can comfortably view anything on the screen even when the iPad Pro is tilted up.
We Thought About the Environment Too
When we first saw the product design draft, we asked: "how do we pack it?"
To reduce the size of the package, the MagEZ Stand would come in two parts: the base and the upright mount. We also made it extremely convenient to attach the two, so you don't need to panic if you don't do DIY.
A Magnetic Ecosystem for iPad Pro/Air
Any tablet weighing less than 2.2lbs (1kg) can be attached using the sticker provided, but to have the best experience, use our new MagEZ Case 2 for iPad Pro/Air.
"What we build are systems, not independent goods," James told us. Many products out there work fine when people use them alone. But when we use multiple products to complete a task, they often get frustrated by the complexity.
When we first made the MagEZ Case for iPad Pro, we already had the idea for a tablet ecosystem. Every product would complement the others to provide convenience to iPad Pro users. We will continue to create more accessories for the iPad Pro/Air, including the magnetic folio and stands.
Sign up now to get the early bird discount on our MagFlow series of magnetic products that work seamlessly with your iPad Pro/Air wherever you are.