KANSAS CITY — On a Tuesday afternoon just after the iPad debuted earlier this year, Northland Racquet Club club members were cooling down after grueling tennis drills. Sweaty but giddy, club member Rick Salas chatted about Apple’s much-hyped tablet, with its promise of being an electronic reader and lightweight laptop all in one. Their concerns?
The book-size, touch-screen glass begged to attract fingerprints; breaking it would be costly. It’s also awkward to read from certain angles. And because it weighs only 1 1/2 pounds, would there be a way to make it hands-free so you could at least drink coffee while using it?
Salas, a software developer, looked at Laura Rowzee, another club member. She owns a furniture upholstery business with husband Andy Rowzee. Could she make something?
Up for the challenge, Rowzee sewed a prototype. The tote was filled with foam beads so that it could be easily positioned. One of the best features: a clear pocket to cover and protect the glass from smudging while still responding to the touch of a finger. A neck strap, similar to what a band member would use to transport a drum, lets users walk and read.
Club members weighed in with more ideas, which were part of the final design.
Just a few weeks later, the tote, among countless other iPad accessories, started getting favorable mentions from bloggers and reporters, including one from the Wall Street Journal. PC Mag named it one of the “Nine Most Ingenious iPad Accessories.”
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