Tuesday, August 15, 2017

SAFE Wallet for iPhone 7/7+ & Production BulletTrain eXpress Keyboard Platform

SAFE Wallet for iPhone 7/7+
Production BulletTrain eXpress Keyboard Platform 

Hi Everybody!

We have been testing the all-new upcoming BulletTrain SAFE Wallet production prototypes for iPhone 7/7+ for about a week now and they are AMAZING!!!! 

The production prototypes have been tested and are 100% compatible with the iPhone 6/6s/7, and 6/6s/7+. From everything we have seen we also believe it is very likely they will be 100% compatible with the upcoming iPhone 7s, and 7s+. The photo below shows a white iPhone 6 on the left (in a SAFE Wallet for iPhone 7 SAFE Wallet) and a black iPhone 6 on the right, in a SAFE Wallet for iPhone 7+.

We plan to offer the SAFE Wallets for pre-order on Kickstarter in the next few weeks. Typically, I would make 3D printed appearance models and put those on Kickstarter, but this time I decided not to, as I did not want to make people have to wait for us to perfect the production models. In other words, the SAFE Wallet for iPhone 7 and 7+ seen in the photo are T4 production prototypes made from the injection-molding tool. My manufacturer believes we should have them perfect by T6, which means that I should be ready to sign-off on production in about a month.

So what are our opinions? My awesome engineering team and I are all blown away with the T4 prototypes. The new SAFE Wallets are everything I could ask for in a SAFE Wallet. They are extremely good looking, super-comfortable in the hand with increased ergonomics that make them less slippery, highly-functional, and built-to-last. Our focus on this latest generation model is to try to get as close as possible to creating a SAFE Wallet that is indestructible. One that will not only completely protect your iPhone, but also protect itself from most drops.

Also, the Ruby Red BulletTrain express keyboard in the photo above and all four in the photo below are production models I just tested, and they are also AMAZING!!!!! We start shipping them tomorrow....

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

SAFE Wallet for iPhone 7/7+

Update & Photos

Hi Everybody!!!

Many customers have been writing-in, asking for an updated ETA on when the SAFE Wallet for iPhone 7/7+ will be available? I have some great news for you! The photos below are of the T2 Production Prototype for the SAFE Wallet for iPhone 7/7+. In other words, these photos are of the most recent production prototypes—meaning they have been injection-molded. The photos were taken by our manufacturer and this first photo shows an iPhone 7 in a SAFE Wallet, with a glass screen protector on his iPhone. 

If you look closely at the image above, you will notice our new TPU bumper system is much taller and beefier  than before, thus, it will offer much better front and corner screen protection. In other words, the all-new SAFE Wallet model has a rubber TPU Bumper system, which is very, very, very highly protective of the iPhone. How protective you ask? I believe in the real world, if you use a glass screen-protector, as seen on the model above, the all-new SAFE Wallet will offer protection on par with an Otter Box Defender iPhone Case, without any of the goofy brick-like bulk. This is a pretty amazing achievement in-and-of-itself!!! Also, the new SAFE Wallets are more ergonomic and comfortable to hold then ever!

From all the reports and communication I have received from my factory, it appears like the all-new design is woking out perfectly, with no issues. I am breathing a huge sigh-of-relief as this all-new design represents huge design changes to the SAFE Wallet. 

What exactly is different? Everything and Nothing... The perfect functionality and 5 card capacity has remained unchanged, as has the built-in MagicStand (Kickstand) functionality which allows you to stand up the SAFE Wallet in Portrait or Landscape on any flat surface. The build-quality, and most importantly the protective nature of the SAFE Wallet has increased exponentially. In other words, I believe with this new generation of SAFE Wallet we will have the best-looking, most functional, and most protective case made, which also remains very skinny. Installing and removing the iPhone with this new design is completely effortless and takes about a second!!! Also, opening and closing the wallet door feels better and more confident than ever, as we resigned and reengineered the double-locking wallet door system.

We also got rid of the dual hinge dowel and sping-pin system, and replaced it with a single invisible hinge-system which is much sturdier and far more dependent and resilient. 

Keep in mind this all-new SAFE Wallet for iPhone 7/7+ will be 100% backwards compatible with the iPhone 6/6s/6+/6s+. Assuming Apple come out with a 7s and 7s+, I hope this new case will be compatible with that for factor as well.

I plan to launch these all-new model on Kickstarter in the next 30 days or so, and hope to deliver them soon after that time. In other words, if all goes as planned, I hope I hope to be able to deliver the first models pre-sold on Kickstarter on or around September 15, 2017. 

I plan to offer the all-new SAFE Wallet for iPhone 7/7+ in our four classic BulletTrain Colors of Ruby Red, Polar White, BulletTrain Blue and Stealth Black. The production prototype pictured in the three photos above is the Stealth Black model. One of the unique characteristics of this all-new model is it will offer an option that will allow the end-user to interchange the Volume Up/Down button as well as the Power Button to different colors, which in turn makes the SAFE Wallet look completely different.

I know there are many, many BulletTrain SAFE Wallet customers who are as excited to get ahold of one the production models as soon as possible, and I assure you I have been moving as quickly as possible to get to market with this. As the designer of the SAFE Wallet, I believe it is worth mentioning that it looks simple-as-pie, but actually developing this all new model has been anything but simple. It has actually been a gigantic ultra-time consuming challenge, but I promise it will be well with the wait.

What About The iPhone 8 SAFE Wallet?

There have been many rumors about Apple introducing an all new 10th Anniversary iPhone model that has a radical redesign with a screen that takes up the whole front of the phone. It has been speculated that Apple will be launching this all-new model this Fall, and I hope they do!!! So an obvious question, is how long will it be before BulletTrain comes out with a SAFE Wallet for this new model? I don't know for certain, but I can share with you that my engineering team and I have learned so much from resigning the SAFE Wallet for iPhone 7/7+, we anticipate we will be able to get to market much faster with it :-)

Saturday, June 17, 2017

BulletTrain eXpress Keyboard Platform First Production Photos

All New 

BulletTrain eXpress Keyboard Platform

First Production Photos

The first production of the BulletTrain eXpress Keyboard Platform has just completed, and in the photo below we see models from the first production run. These model are scheduled to ship out of Asia this next week, and we hope to ship them the following week.

Friday, June 16, 2017

Magic Pencil Holder 100% Compatible With 10.5 inch iPad Pro

Magic Pencil Holder

100% Compatible With

10.5 inch iPad Pro 

Many customers have been asking if the Magic Pencil Holder is compatible with the all-new 10.5 inch iPad Pro, and the answer is YES!! The photo below shows the iPad Pro with the Magic Pencil Holder holding the Apple Pencil...

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

SAFE Wallet iPhone 7 & 7Plus Model Preview Update

SAFE Wallet
iPhone 7 & 7Plus Model Preview Update

Many customers have been writing in to ask what is going on with our SAFE Wallet for iPhone 7 and 7 Plus models, and figure out when they will be available. The design is complete, and it is AWESOME!!!!

Our toolmaker began building the tools this week May 22, 2017), and we hope to have our first production prototypes by the middle of June. It is reasonable to assume the tool will need some tweaking, so with any luck we will be ready to begin shipping the SAFE Wallet for iPhone 7 & 7+ by the middle of July. The iPhone 7 plus and 7 models of SAFE Wallet are pictured below.

The photo above shows a Stealth Black SAFE Wallet for iPhone 7Plus next to a Ruby Red SAFE Wallet for iPhone 7. Notice the SAFE Wallet for iPhone 7 Plus has matching Black volume buttons, which are very stealthy. This gives the all Stealth Black model an almost military spec look. You can see the ruby red volume up/down buttons on the side of the SAFE Wallet for iPhone 7, but in the photo you can't really see the red back of the case, but you can see in the photo below. In other words, the SAFE Wallet pictured on the right in the photo above with the red buttons is the exact same Ruby Red prototype model pictured below.

The image above shows a SAFE Wallet for iPhone 7 from the side view. Notice it has a red back with matching red buttons, along with a black TPU Bumper. This is the new design language of the SAFE Wallet for iPhone 7 an 7 Plus. 

The photo below shows a Ruby Red SAFE Wallet for iPhone 6/6s Plus on the left side, next to a Ruby Red SAFE Wallet for iPhone 7. If you look closely you will notice many subtle differences. First, the 7 model has a bumper that wraps around the entire front of the iPhone, including on the bottom. It also has a MUCH taller Bumper to help protect your iPhone. Also, its important to note that despite the case (no pun intended) they are both Ruby Red models, they look quite different.

So what's different? Everything and nothing. This new model harkens back to the SAFE Wallet for iPhone 5, in the sense it has a TPU front and, now a complete TPU side bumper. The difference is this one has a much larger and more protective bumper system. This should result in not only protecting your iPhone much better, but also in protecting the SAFE Wallet from any kinds of drops. In other words, the emphasis with this new model has been on significantly increasing the overall strength and robustness. Every single aspect of this new model has been re-designed and optimized for strength and durability.

Also, I am happy to announce The SAFE Wallet for iPhone 7 and 7Plus WILL be 100% backwards compatible with the entire iPhone 6 and 6 Plus family!!! The models will come in our standard colors of Ruby Red, Polar White, BulletTrain Blue and Stealth Black, but all models will have a black TPU bumper. Also, for the first time we will offer user-interchangeable volume up/down buttons and power button, so you will be able to put red buttons on a black case, as seen above. In a matter or seconds you could swap them out for a Stealth Black set...you get the idea...

Sunday, April 16, 2017

BulletTrain Express Keyboard Platform (3rd Generation) for Magic Keyboard 2 and Magic Trackpad 2 By Matthew Taylor

BulletTrain Express Keyboard Platform

 (3rd Generation) for Magic Keyboard 2 and Magic Trackpad 2

By Matthew Taylor

My first experience with the BulletTrain Express Keyboard Platform was 5.5 years ago while traveling in Bali: 

Ever since Apple released the updated Magic Keyboard 2 and Magic Trackpad 2, I’ve anxiously anticipated the arrival of the 3rd Gen. Express, and Jake was kind enough to loan me a prototype for evaluation.

TLDR: overall, the new Express is excellent, with one caveat: I’d prefer it were sloped at a negative instead of a positive angle. If you’re a fan of Apple’s Magic Keyboard 2 and Magic Trackpad 2, I highly recommend it so long as you either don’t mind the positive slope or you can work around it, as I have done.

The Ideal Mac Setup?

I can only talk about the new Express in a holistic sense, and how it fits into my entire Mac setup.

Ever since Retina Mac displays became a “thing” when Apple launched the original 15” Retina MacBook Pro way back in 2012, I knew exactly what Mac setup I wanted:

  • a Retina 13” MacBook Air
  • attached to an external 27” Retina Display
  • and an integrated Express Platform/Magic Keyboard/Magic Trackpad setup that charges off USB

Now, that finally exists! Late in 2016, Apple released the laptop I’ve always wanted: the lighter-than-ever 13” Retina MacBook Pro, which at 3 lbs., is the same weight as the old-model MacBook Air… and, with thinner bezels, it covers a smaller footprint. Thus, the new MBP essentially is the Retina MacBook Air I wanted four years prior! As a bonus, my new MBP includes Touch Bar and Touch ID, two features I didn’t even know I wanted back in 2012. (Apple’s so great at that… delivering goodies we didn’t know we wanted. Right?)

Also in late 2016, LG released the 27” Retina 5K UltraFine display that connects to the new MBP via Thunderbolt 3. Unfortunately, this display is riddled with usability bugs and wake-from-sleep problems. At times, you have to restart your MBP just to get it to connect to the display. Additionally, the case and black plastic bezels are fugly as sin. However, when it works, the display is positively gorgeous, and comparable to the display quality of a Retina iMac. The moment Apple releases an external Pro display, I’ll buy it and ditch the LG.

And so, to complete my ideal Mac setup (at least, the one I envisioned back in 2012), Jake provided me with the 3rd Gen Express, which unifies the charge-via-USB Magic Keyboard 2 and Magic Trackpad 2. I cannot even begin to describe how much I freaking hated dealing with the AA batteries in the old Magic Keyboard/Trackpad (talk about obsolete technology!).

Being able to charge over USB makes a world of difference in terms of convenience and niceness. I occasionally travel with my Express, so now I no longer have to pack heavy batteries and a battery charger!

The form factor and design of the new Express is lovely: the Magic Keyboard and Trackpad snap in easily, the lines are clean and smooth, the design is attractive and significantly improved compared to Generation 2, and it’s much lighter than the previous model, which is a huge benefit especially when you travel with it. I also love that I can easily access both the lightning charge ports and power switches on both the Keyboard and Trackpad.

Previous Generation 2 BulletTrain eXpress pictured above

Going back to my first experience with the Generation 1 Express, that product was a total game changer compared to all the other janky solutions. The 3rd Gen is a lovely extension and refinement of that original breakthrough innovation.

Ergonomic Considerations

My one suggestion to BulletTrain for future improvement is to change the slope design to be negative instead of positive. Simply put, my understanding of ergonomic principles is you want your wrists angled slightly down, not up. Read more about that here:

The Express features a positive slope, which based on the above-referenced ergonomic principles as well as my personal experience, is far more likely to cause wrist strain. The 2nd gen Express also featured a positive slope, and the slope appears to be even more positive with the 3rd gen model. To compensate for this issue, I usually place my Express on a negative-sloped book or keyboard tray so I can gain the advantages of better ergonomics. Even if BulletTrain decides not to go with a negative slope in the future, a true-neutral slope (as is the case with the standard MBP keyboard/trackpad) would be a substantial improvement in my usability experience, because it would mean I would have to use a less-negatively-sloped book or keyboard tray in the future.

Whither Touch Bar and Touch ID?

Lastly, and this certainly isn’t something BulletTrain can currently control, I miss having easy access to Touch ID and the Touch Bar while using the new Express. This obviously will not affect anyone who doesn’t own a MBP with Touch Bar, so if you don’t own one of those models, you can skip this section.

User feedback on the Touch Bar has been mixed, with about 50% of users giving it a thumbs up and 50% thumbs down:

It seems there’s more consistent support for Touch ID, and a little less enthusiasm for the Touch Bar. My personal experience is Touch ID is awesome, and the Touch Bar is great for emojis and brightness controls. The Touch Bar has a number of downsides, for instance, the “send mail” shortcut is easily pressed accidentally and shouldn’t exist, because it can lead to the embarrassing experience of accidentally sending an incomplete email.  That said, for me, being able to access emojis in this manner is a game-changer in using my Mac, because I text with friends from Mac Messages frequently, and the keyboard shortcut to access emojis is piss poor. Ironically, if Apple simply implemented a better emoji keyboard shortcut, most of the rationale for the Touch Bar would disappear!

Overall, I like the Touch Bar a lot despite its eccentricities, and love the Touch ID. So, I’m hoping Apple will release an updated Magic Keyboard 3 with Touch Bar, preferably in the same form factor as the existing one, so it can fit right into the 3rd Gen Express!

All of this leaves me in a quandary: do I use my MacBook Pro keyboard to type (with easy Touch Bar and Touch ID access), or, do I use the Express with Magic Keyboard 2 and Magic Trackpad 2? Currently, I’m trying out both options, with a slight preference for using the Express.

Using the Express as my primary input method provides a more satisfying typing experience, as the Magic Keyboard 2 provides better key travel than the new MBP’s keyboard. So, when I’m doing serious long-form writing, that’s better – and I can always reach up to access Touch ID or the Touch Bar if I must. I also gain the benefit of being able to position the MBP next to the LG 5K, for a side-by-side monitor experience.

Future Mac Dreams

Returning to my original premise – the “ultimate Mac setup” – here’s what I want that I don’t currently have:

  • An Apple-designed external 27” or larger Retina Display (5K for sure, but if we’re talking ideal, how about 8K or 10K?)
  • A Magic Keyboard 3 with Touch Bar and Touch ID
  • A 4th Gen. Express with a negative slope

A Mac fan can dream, can’t he?

For now, I’m happy with the 3rd Gen. Express, and the way it integrates into my Mac setup, so long as I have it appropriately-positioned on a negative-slope surface.

Congrats, Jake and BulletTrain, for continuing to push the envelope on what’s possible in accessorizing, integrating, and completing the ideal Mac user experience!

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

eXpress Keyboard Production Update T2 First Article Prototype Evaluation

eXpress Keyboard Production Update
T2 First Article Prototype Evaluation

Hi Everybody,

I just got done testing and evaluating the first-article samples of the all-new 2017 BulletTrain eXpress Keyboard Platform and it is AMAZING!!!! The photo below is a a first article prototype I have been testing, and it looks like the T1 prototypes, but this T2 prototype has the micro-bead-blast finish, which makes it highly scratch-resistant, and will ensure it will look new for a long time. I have given our factory the green light, and if all goes as planned, we should start shipping out pre-orders in about 3 weeks or so.

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

BulletTrain SAFE Wallet Handy Adjustable Light Stand Customer Photo

BulletTrain SAFE Wallet
Handy Adjustable Light Stand
Customer Photo

A BulletTrain SAFE Wallet customer recently wrote in and shared this photo of their BulletTrain SAFE Wallet using its built-in MagicStand/kickstand to allow the user to use it as a handy adjustable light stand to light up a tiny PCB component that was being soldered.

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Magic Pencil Holder First Production Photo...

Magic Pencil Holder
First Production Photo

The first production of BulletTrain Magic Pencil Holders has arrived, and they are superb as seen in the photo below. They perform exactly as intended and look perfect.

If all goes as planned, the first batch should ship out at the end of this week.

Sunday, January 22, 2017

3rd Generation eXpress Keyboard Platform

3rd Generation eXpress Keyboard Platform
First Production Prototypes Photos

Hi Everybody!!!!
I have some great news for you!
I recently received the first 3RD Generation production BulletTrain eXpress Keyboard Platform prototypes from our toolmaker and they are AMAZING!!!!!!

Typically the first prototypes made from a tool are referred to as T1 prototypes, and usually there are a bunch of issues and challenges with them. I am happy to report the first prototypes are excellent and don’t seem to need any major modifications! 

The photos above are of the actual T1 prototype. The build-quality is superb, and it so strong and stable, it almost feels like it is made of metal. This was not a coincidence, as my engineering team and I designed it to be this way. As a matter of fact, it is so well designed and engineered, that there is zero torque. If you hold the new eXpress in your hands, and try hard to twist or torque it, it won’t budge. This is remarkable considering we achieved this with true unibody construction, which is a first for the eXpress.
There are a few small modifications and details that will be fine-tuned, and also the tool has to textured. If you look closely at the photo, you will notice the T1 prototype has a glossy, piano black finish, and this is due to the fact the tool has not been textured yet. In other words, the final production model will have more of a matt finish, which will help hide blemishes and scratches.
I am typing this update on a T1 prototype, which I have been testing for several days, and it it BulletProof stable, and the fit and finish is perfect…They say the third time is a charm, and with the 3RD Generation eXpress, I think it is flawless in every way. In other words, in looks and function it is 100% with zero room for improvement.
After my engineering team finishes their evaluation, we will take the next steps toward production. We will have to wait a few weeks for our toolmaker, as they are celebrating Chinese New Year, but when they get back, they will make T2 prototypes, and if we are fortunate, after my team and I evaluate them, we will go into full production. Hopefully, this will result in us shipping out your BulletTrain eXpress Keyboard Platforms around the end of February.
I realize it took longer than expected, but it was imperative we deliver a BulletProof and flawless product you will love and  benefit from for years.
As soon as I have the T2 prototypes, I will publish another update with photos.    
Warmest regards,

Friday, January 6, 2017

BulletTrain eXpress Keyboard Platform Featured in Concept-i CES 2017 Video

BulletTrain eXpress Keyboard Platform
Featured in Concept-i CES 2017 Video

Toyota just showcased their new Concept-i autonomous car at CES 2017, and in the video you can see a member of the CALTY Design Team using his last generation BulletTrain eXpress Keyboard Platform in a presentation. You can see it in the photos below in what was our classic silver color.

The BulletTrain eXpress Keyboard Platform has cult following and if you visit CALTY Design Center in Southern California, you will find them all  over the place.

The screenshots above that show the last BulletTrain eXpress Keyboard Platform on the table at CES 2017 are from the fascinating video below.

Of course, I can't help but wonder if the designers at CALTY were inspired by the BulletTrain eXpress Keyboard Platforms radically modern design when they designed this amazing work of art!?!!

BulletTrain eXpress Keyboard Platform
All-New Gen 3 Model 

The all-new BulletTrain eXpress Keyboard Platform is just getting ready for production. The tooling is almost complete and we expect to see the first prototypes in the next week. If all goes as planned, we will begin deliveries in early February. The all-new BulletTrain eXpress Keyboard platform will be offered in the classic BulletTrain colors of Ruby Red (pictured below), Polar White, BulletTrain Blue and Stealth Black.

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

BulletTrain Magic Pencil Holder 1st Production Update

BulletTrain Magic Pencil Holder 
1st Production Update

The photos below show the first production samples of the BulletTrain Magic Pencil Holder. If all goes as planned, we hope to begin shipping them out in early January.

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