Thursday, August 27, 2015

SAFE Wallet 6 Plus First Production Update 8/27/15


SAFE Wallet 6 Plus
First Production

Delivery Schedule Update

Greetings BulletTrainers!

Things are really kicking into high gear here at BulletTrain! We’ve been working hard to lay the groundwork for the handling and fulfillment of the first production. In the process, we’ve generated a helpful set of frequently asked questions to help everyone with any possible questions.
First up, here’s the latest on the SAFE Wallet 6 Plus First Production.


First Production Progress Report

Towards the end of molding, when the first injection-molded parts were starting to hit quality control, we learned a component of the tool wasn’t performing properly. Our quality control agents reported there was an issue in the frames of the cases when they were being molded, caused by a broken lifter mechanism.
The good news is, despite part of the tool breaking (thus requiring repair), the surfaces of the tool are 100% intact. This mechanical setback doesn’t require any surface welds to the tool, so all parts will be the same high quality we’ve signed off on for production.
The bad news, is the loss of a few days in repairing the lifter mechanism, and re-molding the affected parts. The total time lost by this unforeseeable mishap is about 6 days. 3 days molding parts, and 3 days repairing the tool.
We learned about this on Sunday (8/23/15), and as of yesterday (8/26/15), we are underway with injection-molding replacement parts to get back on track with assembly.

Here are our updated milestones: 
  • August 26th - Tool repaired; Molding parts (3 days) 
  • August 29th - Paint treatments (2 days)
  • September 1st - Assembly and Quality Control (4 days)
  • September 5th - Packaging, Palletizing (2 days)
  • September 7th - First Production Departs Factory (1 day)
  • September 8th - First Production Boards Plane to LAX (3 days including processing)
  • September 11th - US Customs Inspection and clearance (anywhere from 3 to 10 days)
  • September 16th-23rd - First Production departs LAX for Warehouse (1 day)
  • September 17th-24th - First Production processing at Warehouse (1 day)
  • September 18th-25th - First Production ships out to customers (2-5 days domestic)


As we’ve shared in past updates, US Customs has been a variable in our past productions in the SAFE Wallet for iPhone 5/5s. Essentially, depending on who our pallets are assigned to, it could literally take anywhere from 3 to 10 business days for the cargo to clear customs based on our trends.
We realize this unexpected delay may raise questions. Here are some answers to the most common questions we've been receiving about the first production, with the latest answers possible!

When is my SAFE Wallet 6 Plus shipping to me?

September 21st - 28th. The First Production will be shipping out from our warehouse in Southern California between September 18th and 25th. Backers in the United States should have their SAFE Wallet 6 Plus within 2-5 business days (usually 3 days in our experience).


What if my shipping address has changed?

Contact us right away via Email at Help@BulletTrain.com.

Is it too late to change to a different color SAFE Wallet?

Not necessarily… Contact us so we can find out for certain. Production quantities for the first production are locked in, and extra stock in this production run is quite limited! Please contact us with your color change inquiry by phone or by email at Help@BulletTrain.com


When will I be able to order a SAFE Pen for my SAFE Wallet 6 Plus?

This Fall. The SAFE Pen for the SAFE Wallet 6 Plus has been moving forward in conjunction with the iPhone 6 model, and has come a long way! We currently project the SAFE Pen 6 Plus launch to coincide with the launch of the SAFE Wallet 6 (currently projected for late October 2015).


What if I have a question that isn’t addressed here?

Simple: give us a call!
While we’ve had some timelines get shuffled here and there, one thing has never changed… We love to talk to our customers! If you have a question about your pre-order, the SAFE Wallet in general, or about anything that we haven’t addressed, feel free to contact us by phone so we can get to the bottom of it together.
You can find our phone number on our website www.BulletTrain.com :-)


What next?

To help reduce email clutter, we're consolidating a lot of information into the Advance Shipment Notice coming in early September. This will be sent to all pre-order customers by email.
The Advance Shipment Notice will serve as:
  • A precise transcript of the forthcoming delivery. It will include the basics of your order, like selected color(s), and latest shipping address. 
  • A conduit to our BulletBlog post which will be a live-updated blog post. This post will track milestones as the First Production's transition from cargo to "here you go!"


In Summary

We sincerely apologize for the additional delay affecting delivery. We're not far from our last stated delivery estimates, but this does set us back slightly. 
Thanks for your patience and support, everyone. We know the SAFE Wallet 6 Plus is going to completely change the way you "wallet" when you receive it next month!
Let us know if you have any questions or comments by contacting us
-Alex (Director of Operations, BulletTrain)

    Thursday, August 13, 2015

    SAFE Wallet 6 Plus Production Update — The Time Has Come!!!


    SAFE Wallet 6 Plus
    Production Update

    The Time Has Come!!!

    Greetings, BulletTrainers! 

    It’s been a truly exciting few weeks here at BulletTrain!
    This is Jake, Designer and CEO of BulletTrain. We have been working very hard the past few weeks, and are very excited to share some fantastic news with you—including the fact that according to Forbes, if James Bond were real, he would use a SAFE Wallet for iPhone 6 Plus!
    Early this week, our First Article samples arrived from our manufacturer, and they look AMAZING!!!!! In this revision of the SAFE Wallet 6 Plus, we are seeing what the finished product is going to look and feel like—to a “T”!
    As we’ve shared in previous updates, the modifications in the First Articles (T3) added many detailed refinements to the SAFE Wallet 6 Plus. 
    This leads us to the next key point in our Update. Drumroll please…


    We Signed Off On First Production!!!!!

    As we shared in our last update, this week marks the beginning of First Production for the SAFE Wallet 6 Plus! We are so proud of this product, and we are so excited to get it into your hands!!!
    Now that we have given the green-light for First Production, the real fun can begin! 
    We can’t wait to get each of you a SAFE Wallet 6 Plus! With a simpler wallet and a streamlined everyday carry, you may find you feel less like an Average Joe, and more like James Bond!


    SAFE Wallet 6 Plus Featured on Forbes! 

    Last week, in a Tech feature on Forbes.com, Rex Santus explores iPhone cases that “Channel Your Inner Secret Agent”. It should come as no surprise the SAFE Wallet 6 Plus is at the TOPof the list!!!
    Here is an excerpt from the article on Forbes:
    "This iPhone case (SAFE Wallet for iPhone 6 Plus) has a ton of utility for something that’s thinner than a Sharpie marker. You can store cash, credit cards and more in this case’s numerous compartments. In this photo alone, the SAFE case is holding cash, several cards, two keys, two extra SIM cards, a SIM card removal tool and a 32GB Flash drive. It’s the perfect case for someone who needs to keep something close but out of sight."
    We couldn’t agree more! The SAFE Wallet 6 Plus will soon bring thousands of customers much closer to being a super-stealth, 21st-century Secret Agent!!! :-)
    You can read the rest of the article here.

    More To Come Soon!

    We will be sharing more via on the BulletBlog in the next week or so. Alex will also be putting together a special BulletBlog page for all pre-order recipients to keep an eye on the status of the First Production.
    Once again, thank you very much for your loyal support! If you have any questions or constructive comments, please feel free to comment below. As always, we can be reached directly by phone, and by email at Help@BulletTrain.com!
    -Jake (Designer, CEO)

    [Update shared by Alex Davie on Jake's behalf]

    Saturday, August 8, 2015

    Forbes Features SAFE Wallet for iPhone 6 Plus


    Forbes Features SAFE Wallet for iPhone 6 Plus

    SAFE Wallet Will Channel Your Inner Secret Agent

    Rex Santus from Forbes.com just published an article named "These iPhone Cases Will Channel Your Inner Secret Agent", and he put the SAFE Wallet in the top position. He said: 

    "This iPhone case (SAFE Wallet for iPhone 6 Plus) has a ton of utility for something that’s thinner than a Sharpie marker. You can store cash, credit cards and more in this case’s numerous compartments. In this photo alone, the SAFE case is holding cash, several cards, two keys, two extra SIM cards, a SIM card removal tool and a 32GB Flash drive. It’s the perfect case for someone who needs to keep something close but out of sight. The SAFE Wallet case goes for $69.99."


    Friday, August 7, 2015

    SAFE Wallet 6 Plus Production Imminent!!!


    SAFE Wallet 6 Plus
    Production Update

    First Production Imminent!


    Greetings, BulletTrainers!

    We’ve been working hard to finalize the first production of the SAFE Wallet 6 Plus, and want to share our latest progress with everyone.


    Pursuing Perfection

    As we’ve stated, we are 100% committed to delivering the best SAFE Wallet 6 Plus possible in production. This means we aren’t taking any shortcuts in our design or development... we’ll leave those shortcuts for all the other cases out there!

    Right now, the most intricate final details of the SAFE Wallet 6 Plus first production are being thoroughly tested for process and quality. The most crucial production process which remains to be inspected is the paint treatment for the camera ring area of the SAFE Wallet 6 Plus.

    This matte black paint job isn’t just for show, it serves an important role in the SAFE Wallet’s functionality! This critical step regulates the amount of flash thrown by your iPhone’s built-in flash.

    Testing this process won’t take long, and this week, our First Article production samples will be shipping to San Francisco for hands-on inspection. We are extremely excited to have samples of REAL production articles coming our way!

    Quality assurance of our latest prototypes has taken longer than expected, but not without good reason! In the process, we encountered two more very minor modifications which would need to take place before First Production.

    While the modifications didn’t amount to much (maybe ten thousandths of an inch total), we knew it made more sense to make the corrections now rather than risk any further unforeseen complication by leaving these variables to chance. We are completely determined to have the next prototypes serve as First Articles for production, and have gone to great lengths to ensure our manufacturing procedures are 100% dialed in!


    Delivery Timeframe Update

    First off, I want to let everyone know we are are not far off from the last timeframe we shared publicly :-)

    Our last update projected the First Production beginning the week of July 27th, a target which we are about 1.5 weeks behind on.

    Production Begins — 8/10/15
    Shipment from Factory — 8/22/15
    Arrival @ LAX — 8/27/15
    Customs @ LAX — usually within 2 weeks
    Arrival @ Warehouse — 9/9/15
    Dispatch to Customers — 9/10/15

    We would like to stress that we are doing everything possible to deliver SOONER than this if at all possible. We have done a tremendous amount to ensure the highest quality SAFE Wallet 6 Plus possible in the first production, and we are very proud of the product you will receive 
    :-)

    Handling Loose Ends

    Since we are about to begin First Production, it’s imperative that anyone who has not responded to the survey for this campaign do so immediately!!!

    Please check your Kickstarter profiles for any survey which has not been responded to. If you have not indicated what color SAFE Wallet 6 Plus, and where to have it shipped, then we will be unable to ship the reward for your pledge!

    Our next update will be more extensive, and will be in the next 1-2 weeks. In this update, we’ll address: 

    • Detailed Photo Analysis of SAFE Wallet 6 Plus First Articles
    • Production Update on SAFE Pen for SAFE Wallet 6 Plus
    • And more!


    We truly appreciate each of you supporting the creation of the SAFE Wallet 6 Plus. We appreciate our pre-order customers’ patience, which we are certain is about to pay off in a big way! 

    As always, if you have questions or concerns, please feel free to email us at Help@BulletTrain.com.
    - Alex (Director of Operations, BulletTrain)

    PS - We're picking up steam on our new Instagram page, which we invite you to follow! You can follow us at @BulletTrainSF :-)

    Wednesday, July 8, 2015

    SAFE Wallet 6 and 6 Plus Pre-Order Update


    SAFE Wallet 6 and 6 Plus
    Pre-Order Update

    Tooling and Production Timeframes


    Greetings, BulletTrainers!

    It’s been an exciting few weeks since our last update, and we have been keeping very busy in development of the SAFE Wallet 6 Plus, SAFE Wallet 6, and more!!!
    We have a lot to cover in this update! Over the next page or so, we’ll cover the following (click to jump to that section): 


    First Things First

    Before we get started on production updates, I want to take this opportunity to sincerely apologize for the unintended delays, and offer insight into what caused them.
    As the Director of Operations for BulletTrain, I am largely responsible for the manufacturing and shipping projections for the SAFE Wallet 6 Plus. I failed to adequately foresee or buffer for the issues we encountered in tooling, and as a result, our initial projections became inaccurate.
    On a personal and professional level, I’m deeply sorry for the inaccuracy of our projected time frames. We never meant to mislead or deceive anyone, and we never meant to inconvenience anyone with these sorts of production delays. 
    Simply put, we thought our compass was pointing North, and it turned out it was pointing Northwest, and this resulted in the process taking longer than expected. Specifically, the complexity of our tooling completely overwhelmed us, and at each step we took decisive action right away, but it took longer than we ever could have anticipated.
    Once again, I’m genuinely sorry, and sincerely apologize for the inaccuracy of our early projections.
    On an extremely positive note, yesterday (Wednesday, July 1) FedEx showed up at 10:30 AM, and ever since then, Jake and I have been critically evaluating the T2 production prototypes, which are AWESOME! That being said, we can’t wait to begin first production, and to start shipping your pre-orders :-) More on that a little bit later.


    SAFE Wallet 6 Plus Tooling Update

    In our last update (Update #11), we shared a challenge we were experiencing in the tool which was a big challenge for T1. The challenge was one of the corners of the frame of the case being held in place (incorrectly), forcing two opposing pieces of the tool to distort the corner upon ejection.
    We are very pleased to report this challenge has been resolved in the latest revision of the tool :-)
    There are still a few small modifications which need to be made to the tool so the finished SAFE Wallet 6 Plus is as PERFECT as possible! 
    In Update #10, we highlighted some small cosmetic blemishes in the frame of the SAFE Wallet 6 Plus. Most every cosmetic issue was resolved, but the are two small challenges which need to be overcome. One is extremely simple, and the other is somewhat more complicated.
    Nonetheless, we already have a solution which we are evaluating with our tool maker. We should have the next tool modification in place next week!
    I’d like to take a quick moment to reiterate these challenges are NOT a repeat of the SAFE Wallet for iPhone 5 :-)
    The iPhone 5 model experienced delays unique to its design, including preliminary material flow quality, over-molding the TPU border, and soft touch paint issues. 
    The new level of refinement in outdoing our previous design has come with an entirely new set of complexities to navigate through. It hasn’t been easy, but we’re almost there! When you get your hands on this thing, you are going to LOVE IT!


    SAFE Wallet 6 Plus Production and Shipping Details

    Here’s the good news: 
    • We’ve confirmed a production time frame of 10-12 days for the first production. This reflects a huge cut in production time as a result of our design, and it means less variable time before delivery of your SAFE Wallets :-) 
    • We’ll be air freighting the first production to our warehouse in Southern California. This is a much more expensive freight option, but something we have budgeted for to get your SAFE Wallets to you ASAP!
    • Our warehouse in Southern California has the capacity to process and dispatch all shipments in 2-3 days from when the first shipment arrives. SAFE Wallets won’t be sitting idly by, they’ll be moving to you at every opportunity!
    We're more clear than ever before on the path that remains to production. We can definitely see the light at the end of the tunnel!

    I’ve taken great care with recent projections in order to give more buffer time for overcoming challenges, and to track the steps to production, and how they affect each other to foresee the timeline more accurately.

    Here’s a chart I’ve been using to track progress as we get the SAFE Wallet 6 Plus through the first production. This is—quite literally—our current schedule for production!






    Key Dates
    Production Begins — 7/27/15
    Shipment from Factory — 8/7/15
    Arrival @ LAX — 8/13/15
    Customs @ LAX — usually within 2 weeks
    Arrival @ Warehouse — 8/26/15
    Dispatch to Customers — 8/28/15
    We realize there have been a number of delays, and that some of you will just claim "told you so". Trust us when we say we are just as frustrated with the delays as you are, and maybe even more so!
    To be perfectly clear, our current delivery estimate for the first production of the SAFE Wallet 6 Plus is the end of August 2015. We are doing everything possible on our end to save extra time, and if we can ship any sooner, we will!
    We designed the SAFE Wallet 6 Plus to be the ultimate tool for your iPhone, and we are hell-bent on making that a reality! It's simply taking a lot longer than we originally anticipated.
    Thanks for hanging in there, everyone!

    SAFE Wallet 6 Update

    In our last update, we shared the significance of the relationship between the SAFE Wallet 6 Plus and SAFE Wallet 6. 

    Here's a short version in summary:

    • We initially designed for the iPhone 6 Plus first, because we knew it would be more challenging. 
    • Due to common geometry between the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus, perfecting the 6 Plus model allows us to apply that insight to the SAFE Wallet 6 much earlier in tooling.
    In short, the challenges that have delayed the SAFE Wallet 6 Plus have also stalled development of the iPhone 6 model... until now!

    This week, our team is beginning the tool building phase for the SAFE Wallet for iPhone 6! We've gathered tremendous insight from overcoming the molding challenges on the 6 Plus model, and this insight will directly benefit the development cycle for the iPhone 6 model :-)

    Tool building is a complex, time-consuming process, and will take some time before we see the results. In about 6-8 weeks, we should be looking at the T1 Prototypes for the SAFE Wallet 6, just like we've recently seen for the SAFE Wallet 6 Plus!

    As we are now back on track in development, we would like to share our updated projections for fulfillment of the SAFE Wallet 6 first production.


    Key Dates
    Tool Building — 7/8/15
    First Molded Prototypes — 8/18/15
    Production Begins — 9/22/15
    Shipment from Factory — 10/4/15
    Arrival @ LAX — 10/10/15
    Customs @ LAX — usually within 2 weeks
    Arrival @ Warehouse — 10/23/15
    Dispatch to Customers — 10/26/15
    To be perfectly clear, our current delivery estimate for the first production of the SAFE Wallet 6 Plus is late October 2015. We are doing everything possible on our end move things along faster, and if we can ship any sooner, we will do so!!!

    As an added bonus, the same perks noted for the SAFE Wallet 6 Plus ALSO apply to the SAFE Wallet 6!

    • Production time frame of 10-12 days for first production.
    • First production will be air freighted to our warehouse.
    • Shipment processing within 2-3 days after receipt to warehouse.


    We remain completely committed to delivering on the original promise of the SAFE Wallet for iPhone 6! Just as a reminder, here is a preview of your awesome, ultra-minimalist wallet for your iPhone 6 :-)



    The SAFE Wallet for iPhone 6 will be exactly what we are all looking for, and we can't wait to deliver!


    SAFE Wallet 6 Plus T2 Prototypes: Great News!!!!!

    In Updates #10 and #11, we presented the T1 production samples with a series of photos and our impression of the T1 and how it performs.
    Yesterday (Wednesday, July 1) FedEx showed up at 10:30 AM, and ever since then, Jake and I have been critically evaluating the T2 production prototypes, which are AWESOME! The jump from T1 to T2 is stark, and already, we're seeing the SAFE Wallet 6 Plus take form as a retail-ready minimalist masterpiece!





    The SAFE Wallet 6 Plus T2 Prototype embodies an order of magnitude in improvement over the T1. The appearance, feeling, mechanical fit, and overall performance are all drastically improved in comparison to the T1. 

    It's tremendously exciting to see all of the SAFE Wallet 6 Plus's features pan out in the latest production sample!


    Another very exciting element of the progress so far is hearing the difference. Let me be more specific... the T2 performs so much drastically better than the T1, that the mechanical features like the Wallet Door locks and the Secret Stash door are accompanied by an audible *click* sound.



    Jake and I are more confident than ever that the SAFE Wallet 6 Plus is going to be a hit with each and every one of you :-)
    As we mentioned earlier in the update, there are two small obstacles to overcome in this revision. So small, in fact, they aren't even visible in the photos! As we also mentioned, we have a new revision in review right now to address these last two challenges, and get us right into first production!


    SAFE Pen for 6 Plus Update

    The SAFE Pen is moving forward, slowly but surely :-)
    We have a two-piece polycarbonate pen design which will securely hold a custom-fitted, specialized pen core. Here is a preview image of the design from the 3D model:



    Our injection molding tool is in development right now, and should produce the first production prototype SAFE Pen in about 3 weeks. We're very excited to bring more finalized details on the SAFE Pen in the near future :-)
    Jake and I were both stunned with how complex and expensive the tooling was to bring the SAFE Pen to life.
    Just to confirm, we still have no plans to include the SAFE Pen with SAFE Wallet 6 Plus pre-orders in the first production.


    Odds and Ends in Closing

    The SAFE Wallet 6 Plus has been extremely challenging to see through to production, but we are committed to delivering the best SAFE Wallet possible!
    If there are any changes or events which impact the timeline expressed above, the first thing we'll do is re-evaluate the timeline, and let everyone know where we stand. 
    Some of you have expressed concern about the new iPhone models expected from Apple  later this year, namely stating your concern that the SAFE Wallet might not fit! There's been a fresh batch of reports lately which detail the new "S-Model" iPhone 6 and 6 Plus to be EITHER 100% identical in exterior dimensions, or possibly up to 0.1mm thicker (thanks to forthcoming Force Touch and the Taptic Engine).
    The unique design and installation method of the SAFE Wallet 6 Plus is likely to accept an iPhone of slightly greater thickness, as long as the rest of the iPhone maintains the exact same dimensions. The latest reports mention that the new 5.5" screen iPhone is expected to be 7.13mm thick (0.03mm thicker than the 6 Plus), and the 4.7" screen iPhone is expected to be 7.0mm thick (0.1mm thicker than the 6). 
    This means there is a very high likelihood this year's new iPhones will fit into the existing SAFE Wallet models with no modification required :-) 
    On another positive note, we sent T1 SAFE Wallet 6 Plus Prototypes to two Kickstarter backers for evaluation purposes. Both of them were so excited, they both volunteered to write detailed reviews of their experience. 
    Raphael Salgado, another Kickstarter backer, is also working on his own review post, in which he will share his experience with the T1 SAFE Wallet 6 Plus. So far, he's shared this with us, "For the prototype, you deserve the right to be proud of and excited for your creation!"
    When Raphael published his blog post, we'll mention it in our next update :-)
    Thanks for your patience and support, everyone! As always, if you have questions or concerns, please feel free to email us at Help@BulletTrain.com.
    - Alex (Director of Operations, BulletTrain)

    Monday, June 22, 2015

    BulletTrain SAFE Wallet for iPhone 6Plus: Prototype First Impressions By Matthew Taylor



    Customer Review Of 6 Plus SAFE Wallet
    First Generation Production Prototype

    The article below was written by Matthew Taylor who became a BulletTrain customer in 2011, and since then we have become good friends. Matthew wrote a review of his experience with the SAFE Wallet for iPhone 5/5s when it came out.

    We gave Matthew, and another one of our great customers the opportunity to test T1 prototypes of the 6 Plus SAFE Wallet. The review below was written by Matthew Taylor who was the first to receive his prototype.





    BulletTrain SAFE Wallet for iPhone 6Plus:
    Prototype First Impressions
    By Matthew Taylor

    For the past ten days, a prototype SAFE Wallet for the iPhone 6 Plus has been my daily carry, and it’s such a relief to finally be home again. Ever since I upgraded to the 6P last September, I’ve bounced between cases that didn’t come close to the versatility and features to which I’d grown accustomed. In fact, upgrading from my 5S to the 6P always felt like an incomplete experience… until now. All of what I previously wrote about the original SAFE Wallet still applies, so I’ll focus this commentary on what’s new and improved.

    New Features and Design Enhancements

    • Larger and More Accessible Secret Stash: The new door, underneath the credit card holder, accommodates a folded up bill. This is a great usage of the 6P’s larger footprint to add a much-needed feature. It’s a major improvement over the previous design—no need to remove your phone to access the cash. Although I don’t use the Secret Stash to store keys, Jake has showed me how he uses it for that purpose. (Note: not all keys will fit inside the stash.)

    [Editors Note: The Secret Stash on the 6 Plus SAFE Wallet can hold two cash bills, if properly folded. Matthew points out that not all keys will fit inside the secret stash compartment, and this is true. The good news is that from our extensive testing, all standard Kwikset keys fit, this includes both style heads, including the standard Art-Deco key head, as well as the more modern larger one.]

    • The Leash: BulletTrain is introducing a leash that you can attach to the bottom rear of the case, and then clip on to your pants belt-loop. This keeps your phone safe from drops, as well as being a theft deterrent. For extreme sports situations, the leash is a great insurance policy. For example, while ziplining in Kauai last December, I kept my phone in my pocket because I was afraid of dropping it, and missed out on some epic, high-flying videography opportunities. Next time, I won’t have to worry!

    [Editors Note: We also gave Matthew a production prototype of our upcoming SAFE Leash System, which will be compatible with our SAFE Wallet for iPhone 5/5s, as well as our 6 and 6 Plus versions. We intend to launch this product in the next few months.]

    • Third-party Lightning cable access: The redesigned case accommodates any third party cable, which is great because I own several.

    • SIM card storage: I’m a frequent international traveler, and this would have been so helpful the last time I was overseas! I recommend taping the extra SIM card down to keep it secure when you remove your phone.

    • SAFE Pen: Although I haven’t made use of it yet (handwriting? so last century!), if you’re in a pinch, it’s great to have on hand.

    • Exposed volume, sleep/wake, and mute buttons: The prior design covered these buttons with plastic switches. This wasn’t my favorite choice over long-term use. Now they’re bare and exposed, which make them far easier to access and operate.

    All of these new features and design improvements add up to a major leap forward in comparison with the previous model!



    A Philosophical Note:
    BulletTrain and the Wallet/Phone Convergence

    I’ve been using BulletTrain products since 2011, starting with the eXpress Keyboard Platform, which I lugged with me to Bali in order to work on a book manuscript without destroying my wrists. Prior to finding the eXpress, I’d literally spent years searching for a solution that would allow me to use a wireless keyboard and trackpad in an ergonomic fashion. It was quite a revelation when I found the eXpress; the design was precisely what I’d been imagining would be the optimal approach. Since then, Jake and I have had many deep conversations about innovative design that solves real problems.

    In mid-2012, Jake told me he believed that someday, the iPhone would completely replace the wallet. Although others in the tech industry had made similar predictions, it was really exciting to hear Jake lay out this vision in detail. He told me that it would take many years for this to fully come to pass, and in the meantime, his new product—the SAFE Wallet—would be a bridge toward that future. By converging the wallet with the iPhone, he’d help Apple eventually reach that destination.

    Flash forward more than two years, and it was quite a trip to see Tim Cook on stage in September 2014 proclaiming Apple’s vision to “replace” the wallet (43:20). I had goosebumps listening to this announcement, as large tracts of the commentary mapped closely, if not identically, to what Jake had said back in 2012.

    With the world’s most successful company working hard to replace your wallet, what, one might ask, is the point of an iPhone case that acts as a wallet? What Jake said three years ago is still true: full-fledged wallet replacement isn’t here now, and is unlikely to arrive for many years. Apple Pay isn’t close to being a universally accepted payment method. One of the biggest obstacles is that tens of thousands of mom and pop retail outlets will need to upgrade their payment processing hardware in order to interact with the NFC chips in the latest iPhone and Apple Watch models. How far are we from the date when Tim Cook’s vision comes true, and we will no longer need to carry a single piece of plastic or paper with us? When will all fifty states allow digital drivers’ licenses to be as accepted as physical ones? When will digital business cards completely replace our antiquated paper business cards? That day is an inevitability, but I’d bet it’s at least five years out, and perhaps as many as ten. Until then, the SAFE Wallet will continue to bridge the gap.

    Comparison with Other Cases

    Starting in September 2014, when I walked out of the Apple Store with my shiny new 6 Plus, I tried out several case solutions while awaiting the new SAFE Wallet. None of these cases worked for me, but I thought I’d share some of these experiences briefly.

    • First I tried out a Spigen leather wallet-case, which I now refer to as “the atrocity case.” Because the design is atrocious: thick, bulky, obnoxious, and you look like an idiot taking photos with the flap hanging open and all your credit cards exposed. I gave it away after less than a week.

    • Next, I used an Apple leather case. Although attractive, it’s certainly no wallet. I tried to remedy that by adding a Sinjimoru Stick-on wallet compartment, but I missed features like the SAFE Wallet’s Magic Stand, and I found that my cards kept falling out of the Sinjimoru. And then I dropped the phone on an exercise machine and cracked the screen. Thank goodness I had AppleCare Plus. Next!

    • Finally, I started using an ultra-protective LifeProof Nuud. It’s truly waterproof as advertised (I did a submersion test), but it’s extremely bulky, lacks a wallet, and its headphone port is difficult to access. On top of all this, the design makes it very difficult to slide one’s thumb up to activate Control Center. By no means a daily carry, this case is only useful when in extreme weather situations or for a trip to the beach.

    I’m so happy to finally have the versatile, useful SAFE Wallet on my 6 Plus.

    Critiques
    In my ten days of use, the only significant issue I’ve run into with the SAFE Wallet is that it doesn’t work with my JBL OnBeat Mini Speaker Dock –– the Lightning connector simply won’t reach high enough. However, this problem is not unique to the SAFE Wallet; any case that has an edge bezel won’t work. For example, an iPhone in an Otterbox Case also can’t be used with my JBL. I would call this a flaw in the speaker dock, not the SAFE Wallet; it really should be designed with third party cases in mind, and offer a Lightning adaptor that protrudes higher. I don’t fault BulletTrain for this one. To design a speaker dock so it’s utterly impossible to use with any bezeled case is just beyond lame. I’m buying a Lightning extender in an attempt to solve this issue.

    [Editors Note: It is extremely easy and simple to remove the 6 Plus form the SAFE Wallet. It takes around 2 seconds to remove or install. Thus, if you have an edge-case situation, like the one Matthew mentioned, you can simply remove your iPhone to use it, then easily install it in when you are done.]

    Summary

    Overall, I think the new model is well on track to becoming the best daily carry iPhone case ever, and I can’t wait to get my hands on the final production version.

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