Easy to use plug and play design. Typing made simple on your iPad 2 or Retina iPad.
Hi. My name is Frank Rizzo and I am the Lead Developer of the WriteCase, a wired keyboard folio for iPad.
There are many keyboard cases for iPads on the market. I know this first hand since I have purchased many sizes, styles and kinds over the past few years in search of just the right one. Two issues keep coming back to haunt me with regards to the stack of old cases I have sitting on my shelf.
They need to be charged. How often I would have a big meeting that I wanted to take notes with my latest Bluetooth keyboard case and my iPad only to have the case run out of juice halfway through. Think of all of the things you have that require charging - cell phones, laptops, a cordless phone at home, handheld games and of course, iPads. Another frustration is that the little doohickey cord required to charge the Bluetooth keyboard case is usually something that I've misplaced after the first week.
They use Bluetooth. Bluetooth is less secure when compared to a wired keyboard. Bluetooth technology solves the issue of connectivity, however, at the cost of security. Hackers can intercept what you type between a Bluetooth keyboard and your iPad.
The quote "Necessity is the Mother of Invention" spurred the idea for the WriteCase. The WriteCase provides ease of use (no charging) and peace of mind (no Bluetooth) with a keyboard on the iPad 2 or Retina iPad. It is ready to type when you are!
The WriteCase utilizes the Apple 30-pin connector eliminating the need for the case to be charged or paired via Bluetooth. Once the connector is plugged in, the iPad will power the keyboard which means it is truly plug and play…or better yet, plug and TYPE!
HOW WE GOT STARTED
WriteCase is a son-in-law (Frank G. Rizzo) and father-in-law (Wayne Keller) partnership. We each bring a unique set of skills and expertise that compliment one another in the development of this product. When I (Frank) first met Wayne he told me "If you ever come up with an idea for an invention I can get it built!" I was very happy to make that initial phone call to Wayne back in late February of this year with my idea for the WriteCase and take him up on that offer he made me years ago.
Our first concept/prototype was made of cardboard and basically was a keyboard with an attached iPad stand.
First WriteCase Concept/Prototype (March 2013)
The WriteCase keyboard stand was not a practical solution especially for Education. It would be difficult for schools to store the device in addition to all of the iPads. The keyboard stand provided no protection for the iPad as well. We were concerned it would be too easy to knock off an iPad from the stand onto the floor. We decided to modify the original concept to enclose the iPad into a folio case.
Our first step in starting to develop a true working WriteCase prototype was to contract with an engineering company that Wayne had worked with on many previous products. The engineering company has access to many factories that produce high quality electronic goods. We continue to work with our engineer to define the specifications of the WriteCase during the process of refining and designing it. In turn, the engineering company communicates those specifications to the factory to manufacture the two working prototypes shown below.
Second Prototype (May 2013)
The Second Prototype was our first real working model but it had two areas we wanted to improve. The keyboard itself needed to be larger. The keys were too small and very close together. We also wanted to improve how the iPad fit into the folio case by utilizing a back that the iPad would snap into snugly.
The Third Prototype solved both of these issues. We continue to improve on the model by shortening the 30-pin cable and enclosing the center storage area in fabric (see below).
Third Prototype (June 2013)
FRANK RIZZO: is currently the Director of Instructional and Information Technology / CIO for a K-12 School District in Upstate New York. In this position he is responsible for the best use of technology to impact learning and student achievement. Frank has twenty-two years of experience in education previously working as a school psychologist and a chairperson for the committee on special education. He is one of the few IT Directors in the country that has the right mix of certifications that is qualified to ask "How did it make you FEEL when your computer went down?”
Frank was selected as an Apple Distinguished Educator in 2003. The Apple Distinguished Educators (ADE) program was created to recognize K-12 and higher education pioneers who are using a variety of technology to transform teaching and learning. Today it has grown into a worldwide community of 2,000 visionary educators and innovative leaders who are doing amazing things with technology in and out of the classroom. That includes working together — and with Apple — to help bring the freshest, most innovative ideas to students everywhere.
Frank is an iPhone/iPod/iPad App Developer and currently has eighteen education/entertainment apps on the App Store. Frank also works as an educational trainer for iPads for NYSCATE (New York State Association for Computers and Technology in Education) teaching classes to Superintendents, Building Administrators and Teachers.
He has been quoted in Business First magazine, eSchool News, SchoolCIO.com and THE Journal. Frank has presented at national conferences for Apple, Ingram Micro and Pearson on a wide variety of topics related to technology in education.
WAYNE KELLER: is currently the Vice President of Product Integrity for a leading innovative company that manufactures juvenile products for auto, home and travel. He has a wealth of quality production / operations experience navigating through the Far East establishing highly reliable factories with proven quality assurance processes and controls on quality ensuring high quality products.
In his 43 years of product quality engineering activities, Wayne has served in quality engineering functions with a wide breath of responsibilities including training quality and production staff, product quality specifications, setting up testing labs in Taiwan, Hong Kong and South Korea, managing the International Technical and Consulting Division for one of the world’s largest testing laboratories, and product development. He has much experience developing textile / soft goods products as well as all plastic molding processes and electronic products.
Wayne’s success developing, manufacturing and testing a wide variety of consumer products guarantees WriteCase's ability to provide high quality products on time.
WHO IS THE WRITECASE DESIGNED FOR?
Individuals - Anyone that wants an easier experience using a keyboard with an iPad. We bought a relative a Bluetooth keyboard for his iPad as a gift, but he lost the charging cable shortly after he got it (I am starting to think the affinity for losing power cables is genetic). Even when he had the cable he couldn't remember he had to charge it. It's a little like pulling out a flashlight when the lights go out only to remember the batteries in it were dead the last three times you needed it to work.
K-12 Education & Higher Education - I am currently the Director of Instructional and Information Technology for a K-12 School District in Upstate New York. We presently support over 600 iPads in our District. For my schools we purchase iPads and place them into portable charging carts on wheels.
My teachers like the iPads but have commented that they would be much better with keyboards.
How do I charge 25 iPads and 25 Bluetooth keyboards at the same time? Logistically that would be a nightmare. The WriteCase solves that problem simply and efficiently.
The WriteCase complies with Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC) and Smarter Balanced (SBAC) Testing Guideline Requirements aligned with Common Core State Standards (CCSS).
Medical - There is a huge increase in the use of iPads in Doctor's Offices. A medical office that is using Bluetooth keyboards can run the risk of breaches in data security. The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act or HIPAA requires adequate safeguards of medical information. A wired WriteCase keyboard provides better security over Bluetooth.
Department of Defense and/or Government Offices - Wired keyboards are ideal solutions for government offices that require Bluetooth to be deactivated due to concerns with improving the security of their information systems. For example, the U.S. Department of Defense April 2011 publication of DoD Bluetooth Peripheral Device Security Requirements states that “Bluetooth devices must not be discoverable (responsive to inquiry messages from other Bluetooth devices) unless absolutely necessary. Ideally devices should never be discoverable.” The WriteCase is a perfect option without having the security issues of Bluetooth.
HOW WILL THE FUNDING BE USED?
The funds raised will be used for completing the patent, purchasing of raw materials, tooling for the keyboard and connectors, production, development costs and shipping. We are currently working with the factory on completing an Apple MFi for the keyboard case.
WHAT IS AN APPLE MFi?
Apple's MFi licensing program (Made For iOS devices) enables the development of electronic accessories that connect to iPod, iPhone and iPad. Since the WriteCase utilizes the Apple 30-pin connector, it is required that the factory complete the MFi certification process. To date, it is about 90% complete and is working with Apple to make sure the keyboard is compliant with those specifications.
Like many projects on Kickstarter, we face many risks and challenges in moving the WriteCase from an idea to reality. We know that the final version of the WriteCase will be very similar to the prototype shown but not exact as we may make modifications of the case during the production process.
SUCCESSFUL COMPLETION OF THE APPLE MFi: The factory has been working with Apple for successful completion of the MFi certification. To date they are about 90% complete. That last 10% needs to be completed before we can move forward with this project.
SUPPLY CHAIN AND LOGISTICS: Projects can be delayed when taking a prototype to production. The 30-pin connector and Integrated Circuit Board are parts that come from an Apple supplier to the factory contracted to produce the WriteCase. If they can't supply the necessary Apple parts in large enough quantities our production timeline will need to change. We set our production timeline on what we believe are reasonable estimates for completion of the various milestones of this project. We will do everything possible to get the final product to our Kickstarter backers on time, but our first priority is about the overall quality of the WriteCase. We promise to be good communicators and will keep all of our Kickstarter backers informed as we complete the project to bring you what we think is the best keyboard case on the market - WriteCase.