Well hello there, strangers! It’s been awhile since I’ve stopped in. Callie has been holding down the fort since I’ve gone back to work, and I’ve finally found some time to check in. Being back to work full time while having a family to care for and a side business to run has proven to be challenging (but of course, I wouldn’t change it for the world). I’ve been looking for ways to make this multi-tasking lifestyle easier, and recently I came across some products to help me be more efficient. Since today is my 2013 blogging debut, I thought I’d start with this awesome product I came across just before the holidays that will help me not only at work, but here as a blogger, too!
I was browsing the internet for gift ideas for myself. Yes, you read that correctly. I was not looking for things to buy for others. I was looking for ideas to email my husband so that he would know what to buy ME. Listen, you do what you have to do so that you don’t get 15 pairs of socks from Claire’s and a sweater two sizes to large. Anyway, I was looking for a way to make more use of my iPad. I’ve come to rely heavily on my laptop at work since computers are hard to come by in my school lately (a story for another day). Although my MacBook is significantly smaller and lighter than the old HP I was toting around a few years ago, it was still cumbersome and inconvenient. It would be SO much easier to take my iPad to work, since I’ve also downloaded some word processing apps and file sharing programs. However, the touchscreen keyboard is just not conducive to lengthy use. I can navigate it well enough for Facebooking (yes, that’s a verb now) but to type out complete lesson plans and student handouts on it is a bit trying. I’ve tried some of those other cases that have blue tooth keyboards built in, and without naming names, let’s just say that most of them don’t live up to the hype. I LOVE my Apple Wireless Keyboard that we have at home for the desktop, and immediately emailed my husband a link to the Apple store with the subject line “hint hint: Santa could fit a wireless keyboard in his gift bag, right?” (Yep, I’m subtle).
So fast forward through the holidays (it feels like we zoom through them anyway, right?). Sitting in front of me is my shiny new wireless keyboard and my fun purple iPad case… that can’t hold the keyboard. I thought it would be easy to find a case that would hold the keyboard, but as it turns out, there’s not a lot of choice out there. That’s how I found Salman Sajid on Kickstarter.com (AWESOME website to help support and fund budding inventors, artists and entrepreneurs of all sorts- check it out!). His project, called The Touchtype Case was EXACTLY what I was looking for. It’s slightly wider than the standard iPad case so as to accommodate the wireless keyboard and has an inner pocket to store it in. As it turns out, a lot of others were looking for it too- because he was sold out and on backorder! Salman was easy to reach via email, though, and was happy to keep me in the loop so that I would know when to expect The Touchtype to be back in stock. He sent me a beautiful gray polyurethane case about a month later, and I’ve been using it ever since.
The case is sturdy to hold and protects the ipad well, but thin and easy to carry around. I don’t have to juggle it on top of my coffee mug while unlocking my classroom door because it folds up neatly and keeps the iPad and keyboard snugly in place. At first I was worried about the iPad being held in place with a few simple elastic straps, but they do the job well. In fact, there are two sets- one to hold your iPad in landscape mode and another for portrait. This is actually very convenient for me because some of my most-visited apps- including my school’s online grading and attendance system and the app for my Etsy shop- do not automatically rotate like many other iPad-friendly sites do, so I need to be able to adjust the Ipad’s position in order to keep working.
At work, my classroom is used 9 out of the 9 periods in the day between myself and another teacher. So, there is rarely time for me to sit at our classroom computer to do work. I’m always on the go- heading to a meeting, hunkering down in the library to grade, or in the faculty room trying to get some plans done before heading home. Having this case has allowed me to be mobile and productive at the same time. Previously, I’ve had to choose one or the other; I could carry my laptop around so that I could type better and get more done, but would need to leave other resources behind since I just couldn’t carry it all. Or, I could take the iPad and not be weighed down by the laptop, but would sacrifice productivity because I would have to use the on-screen keyboard. To carry the wireless keyboard separate from the iPad was counter-intuitive to the whole “being more mobile” philosophy. The Touchtype has, literally, made me a more productive teacher by freeing me from the laptop and giving me access to a better keyboard. I’ve also been able to return customer emails to my Etsy shop better now, too, for the same reasons. Previously, if a customer wrote to me and I was on the go, I had to respond from my iPhone. Now, I love my iPhone, but 15 typos from a tiny cell phone keyboard is not the most professional way to respond to customers. I’ve found that this case isn’t exclusively for the professional side of your life, though. Just because I *CAN* use my wireless keyboard doesn’t mean I *HAVE* to, because it is tucked away neatly underneath the iPad until I pull it out. So I can continue to use my iPad for my grocery lists and coupon apps while I’m out at the store and not worry about juggling the iPad and keyboard when I’m just trying to use it the old fashioned touchscreen way.
Of course, nothing in life is totally perfect. My small pieces of constructive criticism on the Touchtype are just this: First, I wish that there was a style available that I could simply open and type- meaning, the keyboard were stored in such a way that when I open the case, the keyboard is already in front of me and set up to go. I realize, though, that this isn’t really a problem with Salman’s case so much as it is a design flaw of the iPad, because the keyboard keys would scratch up the glass no matter what type of case it was (I learned this in Salman’s Kickstarter video found on his website- check it out!). Secondly, I wish that there were multiple angles at which the case could be propped up when opened. It’s perfect when I’m sitting at a table or desk, but when I’m home and laying in bed or lying on the floor with my son and need to adjust the iPad angle a bit to suit my position, this case doesn’t really allow for that the way that some other typical iPad cases do. That being said, in those scenarios it’s also less likely that I need the wireless keyboard and I can turn off the Blue Tooth and use the on screen keyboard, instead.
All of that being said, I strongly recommend this case for whatever your needs. If you’re looking to be more productive and efficient, or to lighten your carrying load, or just have an overall nicer case, this one is worth it. Spring for the leather model, too- it’s very stylish and professional looking!