About this project
iDownloadblog - "This thing looks like something out of Jony Ive’s kitchen"
Padgadget - "Minimalists will love Slope... Slope is unlike any other iPad stand I've seen"
Locker Gnome - "Nanofoam-based Auminum Stand That Will Rule Them All"
iMore - "Slope may very well be the only stand you need for your iPad or any other tablet you own"
Techli - "Slope Stand Sticks to Apple's Aesthetic..."
Applebitsblog - "Our next (and likely last) iPad stand is Kickstarter hopeful ‘Slope’"
Pandodaily - "It attaches to a desk and holds your iPad at a 66-degree angle. And that's it. There's no shape shifting, no multiple viewing angle, no pretense of being back-pack ready."
TUAW - "It's fairly rare that we pass Kickstarter URLs around the TUAW newsreader room but Slope really grabbed our attention"
Ubergizmo - "extremely simplistic in nature, but incredibly elegant at the same time"
Greetings, Kickstarters. We very much appreciate the opportunity to show you what we consider the best tablet stand anywhere, and the one you'll use for the next 20 years. If you use your tablet at your desk, this is the experience you're after. Here are four reasons why.
Design. Anchorage. Orientation. Feel.
It's attractive, it's minimal, it's got a small footprint and it's made of the most desirable materials available. It anchors firmly to the desk while getting your tablet upright and out in front of you at just the right angle and height. And given it's materials, it feels every bit the solid construction it is.
It's the perfect meld of form and function, and this is what it looks like from behind.
What's holding that iPad to that stand, you ask? Suction. Suction via what? Suction via thousands of tiny air pockets functioning as mini suction cups. Pretty cool.
Slope is made from aerospace grade aluminum. Her minimal form is shaped via CNC machining, her beauty by way of her finish—hand buffed, glass bead blasted, hard anodized and sealed. It's a finish aptly complimenting the craftsmanship of Apple's iPad, with no expense spared.
Suction is the thing that drives its function. Slope has two nanofoam pads affixed to its aluminum base, one gripping the backside of the tablet, the other gripping the surface of the desk underneath. These pads are comprised of a special make of foam that, as you can see from the video, are extremely effective.
The material that comprises nanofoam was manufactured in such a way that it is laden with thousands of open air-pockets along its surface. Pressing an object with a flat surface up against the nanofoam forces the air out of the pockets thereby creating a vacuum, and it's this vacuum that creates the suction you experience. You can't truly grok it until you feel it for yourself.
You know the feeling you get pulling the car door shut in a BMW—the muted thud and solid vibration? This is the sense of quality Slope projects interacting with it. The 'ting' it gives off as you pull your tablet from the surface is unmistakable, and a direct reflection of the quality of its build.
In use you'll note how indispensable it becomes. Having lived with Slope for many months now I'll share with you how I use it. This image you see above is my set-up. It's how I use Slope. I view it as the spot for my personal screen off to the right of my laptop where I surf the web, watch podcasts, and receive notifications. I love it and use it every day. (Soon I'll have it set up with Slingbox where I can watch Dexter and Homeland).
Interesting side note regarding grip, you'll note there's a settling-in that takes place as the tablet sticks to the pad. After 30 seconds or so the tablet becomes noticeably harder to pull away and that's pretty cool. It adds to its sense of firmness.
Slope mini Demo Video
A minute and a half of sticks and pulls with Slope mini + Nexus 7 & iPad mini. Three segments from three angles. In each of the three the order is Nexus 7 first, iPad mini following up. (It was our intention to demo Slope mini with the white version of iPad mini—given its matching aluminum coloring on its backside—but we just couldn't get our hands on one).
Flexibility & Future-proofing
As you upgrade and swap out your devices over the years, Slope endures. So long as the flat back-side is there on your new devices, Slope accommodates. It is entirely platform agnostic (iOS, Android, and Windows), and there's no reason it can't last you for decades, given the pads are replaceable.
Slope's structure was designed to hold the tablet two inches off the surface at a 66° slope for optimal viewing on the desktop.
Put a sock on it
Slope travels well given its small footprint and lean mass. Giving it coverage when going mobile is a good idea in efforts to protect its pads and aluminum from nicks and scratches. As you can see we've designed and prototyped a stretchy sock well suited for this function that is cut to stretch in a form-fitting fashion around the contours of its form. It's easy to get on and off and it is well suited to protect.
I have a good friend in St Louis in the textile business who will handle production of the sock. The plan is to experiment with a few other materials and colors in the process. Solid black and solid grey are two we have in mind to investigate. Options in this regard will be presented later in the campaign.
Following developments in the production process is half the fun here on Kickstarter. We will absolutely share our experiences and update our progress with frequency and transparency, in ways that make you proud.
The stand you're seeing here is compatible with 10" tablets. In the next few days we'll be adding a demo movie showcasing the Slope mini in action with the new iPad mini and Nexus 7. Following this Kickstarter campaign we'll be following up with our second campaign offering Slope for phone (all for which we have patents pending).
Laughing. Why? It wasn't until Friday night walking down Armitage to grab a 9pm burrito that it hit me: the laughing is in response to the surprise. Nearly all my friends who have played with Slope to date had a similar response the moment they stuck my iPad to its surface for the very first time, they laughed. Then, invariably, they launch into a series of quick sticks and pulls… laughing. It's about the surprise, surprise due to the discrepancy between what you perceive the force should be versus what it is. Stated another way, it does something it feels like it shouldn't be able to do, and this apparently makes people laugh.
The level of amusement I get from this is in direct proportion to the level of obsessiveness I clung to in the final few months of development which was all about working out this balance between grip strength versus friction coming and going. It was challenging. My friends and family rode me to "just get the thing out there," but this was an important detail to get right. Now it's one the things with which I am most proud.
We've worked very hard to bring you this offering and we'd love nothing more than to expedite production so we can get one of these into your hands as quickly as possible. To do so we need your help. We recognize how fortunate we are to have this amazing platform, Kickstarter, as a means to enlist your support and we appreciate it more than you know. Give us the chance and we'll put a smile on your face. Count on it.
If you like what you see here please share with friends and family. Word of mouth means everything to us.
Thanks, and have a great day!
Risks and challenges
I've been through eight rounds of prototyping with this design so I am intimately familiar with the processes involved in each of the steps. The greatest challenge I see outside of general quality control with machining, buffing and anodizing is in working out the details of the clamping of the parts in place through the anodizing phase. Doing so in a way that is least labor intensive (hence cost effective) will be the challenge.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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