Hi, everyone. Its been three weeks since our last update; we've been completely heads-down getting Touchfire into production. The final stage of large development project like Touchfire is a very intense time. All the details, big and small, have to be resolved. Right now!
And there are many, many details, from the artwork on the outside of the box to the final texturing on the production molds. We're not getting a lot of sleep, but we are happy to say that Touchfire is coming together nicely.
The Evolution of Cover Clips
Cover clips help secure Touchfire to an iPad’s Smart Cover by providing magnetic attachment points for the Touchfire keyboard's “ears”. The cover clip design we showed you when we launched our Kickstarter project was a clip containing a magnet, as shown here.
We tested these for many months, and ultimately decided that they worked ok but not great. They would sometimes get knocked out of place, and being on the outside of the cover wasn’t a very elegant solution.
We spent a lot of time thinking about cover clips, and finally came up with a cover clip approach that lives inside the cover. Here’s what a closed iPad with Touchfire keyboard looks like with these cover clips installed.
We found a 3M sticker product, similar to Post-It Notes, that allows the cover clips to be securely attached to the inside of the Smart Cover, but they can also be removed and re-positioned many times. We’re including a pad of 6 stickers with Touchfire, so you’ll have extras if you ever need them. Here are the cover clips attached to the inside of the Smart Cover.
The cover clips are made of a thin piece of metal, covered in plastic. Here’s how the Touchfire keyboard attaches to the inside of the Smart Cover with the new cover clips.
Manufacturing and Shipping Update
The complete Touchfire product, including the storage case, is made with 5 molds. We showed you one of these, the keyboard mold, in Update 14. We’ve just learned that the mold with the longest lead time should be finished by February 24th. So, it still looks like we will start manufacturing and shipping by the end of February.
But until we’re actually producing Touchfires we won’t know how many units can be made each day, nor how long it will take to ramp up to full production capacity. Our manufacturer has committed to running three shifts a day, so we will get to full capacity as soon as possible.
But we are not going to wait for the entire production run to be completed before we start shipping to you; we will ship out batches of Touchfires in roughly the same order that people backed our Kickstarter project. We will let you know more about the timing of the batches as soon as we know.
And finally, to all our backers, thank you so much for making Touchfire possible!