A prototype is a preliminary model of something. Projects that offer physical products need to show backers documentation of a working prototype. This gallery features photos, videos, and other visual documentation that will give backers a sense of what’s been accomplished so far and what’s left to do. Though the development process can vary for each project, these are the stages we typically see:
Proof of Concept
Explorations that test ideas and functionality.
Demonstrates the functionality of the final product, but looks different.
Looks like the final product, but is not functional.
Appearance and function match the final product, but is made with different manufacturing methods.
Appearance, function, and manufacturing methods match the final product.
It's quite easy to just forget where you last left your Apple Airpod charging case, or worse, lose one of the Airpods. Surprisingly, according to our research, many users don’t know that each Airpod can be tracked on the FindMyPhone app. But furthermore, what most users don’t know, is that once you put the Airpods back in the charging case, the trackability goes out the window. So if you lose your charging case, you won't be able to track it like you can each individual Airpod!
Secondly, some people use silicone ear covers so that the Airpods fit their ears better. Problem is: the Airpods don’t fit back into the charging case with the covers on, so they have to be taken off. Which begs the question – where to put the covers?
Lastly, that super shiny white surface of the charging cases needs protection from scratches, right?
So that’s why we've designed PodPouch. The world’s first protective case that allows you to track your Airpod charging case. It has a customised compartment to accommodate a Tile (or other Bluetooth tracker). So if you've simply left your Airpods in a coat pocket or handbag, use the Tile app to ring your device if it’s nearby. Any further than that, then the Tile app gives you access to the world’s largest ‘lost & found’ community to locate it on a map.
Additionally, PodPouch stores silicone ear covers, so no more excuses for not carrying them around.
PodPouch comes in three versions – Salmon Skin, Vegan (faux/fake) leather and Silicone rubber.
Ethically-sourced from Iceland, this extraordinary and exotic skin feels like real leather and is just as durable. The skin is environmentally friendly in two ways: it's a bi-product of the fishing industry, utilising raw material that would not otherwise be used; and our partner's production process makes use of renewable hydro and geothermal energy. Our team of experienced artisans in Mumbai then hand-craft the skins into the cases. The tracker and ear cover compartments are made of elasticated bands, with a cutout for the charging port. Shipping is from India.
The materials are sourced from India and the same artisans produce the cases, in the same design patterns as the Salmon, though the vegan leather is thicker and that slightly increases the form factor. Shipping from India.
Protects the charging case and provides cushioned support. A more sleeker form factor than the Vegan or Salmon, with precision compartments in the body for the tracker, and a neat double-lid to store the silicone ear covers. This involves plastic injection-mould tooling and then production after pre-production samples have been approved. Manufactured and shipped from China.
PodPouch - US Patent Pending 62801020 & Registered US Trademark.
All skin, leather and silicone colour choices shown are indicative (though some from above will be used). Final colour choices will be given to backers at the Backer Survey stage.
All these cases are prototypes and the final production copies will be much better quality, especially in the case of the Silicone PodPouch - these were 3D printed in a hard material which is inferior to production-quality silicone rubber.
Apple Airpods not included. Airpods is a trademark of Apple Inc.
All cases come with one pair of silicone ear covers included.
Tile or other bluetooth trackers are optional. Tile is a trademark of Tile Inc.
How to use PodPouch
Putting on the ear covers and storing them away
Storing your tracking device
The PodPouch can be pledged for with or without the Bluetooth tracking device included, since the main feature of our case is the ability to track your Airpod charging case. We recommend Tile bluetooth trackers because it's regarded as the most reliable and is the most widely-used (over 13 million users). We'll be bundling a tracking device in with PodPouch for some of the Kickstarter rewards and afterwards for retail (if that reward is chosen, the Tile Mates will have a rechargeable battery). However PodPouch is brand-agnostic and will have a removable cartridge to accommodate other brands of tracking device should you not wish to use Tiles (please contact us to determine compatibility of your preferred brand of tracking device). Alternatively you may already have Tiles or other bluetooth trackers and you can simply pledge for or purchase PodPouch without the tracking device.
We have some ideas for adding features and accessories such as belt-clips, D-rings, etc, and a few great stretch-goal ideas including a hard case version, salmon skin accessories, other fish skins such as Wolffish and Perch, and versions for other brands of Bluetooth earphones. Watch this space!
Risks and challenges
We've completed one previous project - iHeadCase - and we made some mistakes but I believe we have learned from them.
Plastic injection moulding is a complicated process that rarely goes 100% to plan, especially if the design is complex (even the big global brands make huge production errors). So this time we kept the PodPouch design very simple with just two parts and minimal over-moulding. We're using the same team in HK we've worked with for 10 years, and using trusted partners for continuity is key. The 3D printed prototypes didn't meet our desired aesthetic standards but we accept the limitations of this technology. The mechanical and product design has been nailed, so we're confident the final production copies will work great and look perfect.
We've built in an extra few weeks buffer for silicone rubber production to take into account any unforeseen production issues.
The Salmon Skin PodPouch is much easier and faster to produce. We've made many samples and our team in Mumbai have been working with the skins for a year now. Plus our Icelandic partners have been very accommodating. Lead times are 30 days for the salmon skin order and 30 days for production (probably much less, but we're giving ourselves a cautionary buffer). Four friends and I have been using Salmon Skin PodPouches for 6 months and it's lasted brilliantly so the production risk is minimised and there won't be the production challenges that come with the silicone.
Vegan leather - ditto. The same workshop and team in Mumbai have made us wallets and previous PodPouch samples, so it's tried and tested. I wasn't happy with some of the earlier samples but now we have it sorted. Please bear in mind the samples you see in the video and photos of the Vegan (and Salmon) are cut by hand whereas production copies will be cut using a die so the quality and edging will be much better.
We know there will be challenges ahead but with our experience and expertise we're committed to delivering a great product to our backers, and within the delivery date.