G-Form Extreme Sleeve and iPad 2 meets klutzy wife; Oh the humanity

G-Form Extreme Sleeve and iPad 2 meets klutzy wife; Oh the humanity

Summary: As with any product of this kind, there's always a balance and trade-offs between functionality and aesthetics. Sometimes you have to learn the hard way.

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TOPICS: iPad, Mobility
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It can make an iPad 2 withstand a direct hit on the glass from a twelve pound bowling ball.

And as we've also seen, when enclosed in its protective embrace, an iPad can take a 500-foot drop at terminal velocity from an ultralight aircraft and hit a grass field and can be pulled away, completely unharmed.

But withstand five seconds in my wife's hands and take a rare direct corner hit on the weakest part of the design? Not so much.

There are times in this industry when journalists really wish they didn't have to write an article like this.

If you just watched the video above, you know exactly what happened -- I handed the iPad 2 in the G-Form Extreme Sleeve to my wife, and she tossed it out my back porch, simulating what I would like to describe as a typical "klutzy fall".

It was not rehearsed, and my wife is not an expert iPad 2 projectile-throwing ninja. She said "You want me to throw it out on the concrete?" and I said "Why not".

It landed exactly as it did, and my heart sunk into my stomach the moment I realized what had occurred.

Had the case landed face up or even face down when it hit the concrete, I'm certain my iPad would have been fine. The problem is that it hit exactly where G-Form has conceded is the weakest part of the case design, on the corner of the sleeve where the zipper mechanism is.

I've been carrying the prototype version of the G-Form case for a couple of weeks, I've travelled with it in my backpack and had my iPad in the sleeve severely manhandled by TSA agents, and I've even had my iPad 2 knocked off the breakfast table a few times in the case and hit the carpet when I was on vacation.

And in those instances, the Extreme Sleeve did what it was supposed to do, in normal conditions.

And in normal conditions, where you're using the Extreme Sleeve in a business setting and carrying the unit around the office or around the house and need to protect it while travelling, I still think it is a very good product. And I'm going to continue to use one, despite my experience this weekend.

As I am told, the company actually did perform drop tests on the corner and the zipper, and their own iPads escaped damage, but clearly, in this instance, I got "lucky."

I've spoken to the folks over at G-Form, and they're being extremely conciliatory and are replacing the iPad, and I think they are being very gracious for doing so.

But there's another thing they are doing which I think is a really excellent example of a company willing to take customer feedback -- they're changing the design to greatly minimize the chances of this happening again.

They're committed to improving the product and making it one of the best cases in the industry, and I really do believe that, despite what happened to me today.

I have been told by the director of marketing that the improved design that will be available in a few weeks contains a reinforced PORON XRD bumper insert to provide corner and side protection on the zipper area, as per the photo below.

Apparently, G-Form decided not to include this zipper bumper in the product which shipped out this weekend because of last-minute design changes.

As with any product of this kind, especially with completely new products like the Extreme Sleeve, there's always going to be a balance as well as trade-offs between functionality and aesthetics.

The design team at G-Form thought the bumper you see above wasn't quite ready for use, so the production Extreme Sleeve that I got and a handful of customers and reviewers got this weekend didn't come with it.

All the cases within a few weeks will be getting this modification.

If you've pre-ordered a case and you are one of the few that gets one without this alteration, the company has assured me that customers can trade in their cases. I think that's a very service-oriented and very good thing for G-Form to do, so I applaud it. I honestly wish more companies would do stuff like this.

In addition to G-Form replacing my damaged device, I'm going to be sending the ruined iPad 2 with cracked screen and dented casing to the company for forensic analysis, so that the product can be improved and other customers can be spared future heartache.

G-Form is also working on a military-grade version that is a polycarbonate hybrid with a PORON XRD outer coating, as well as a completely waterproof version.

I'm really looking forward to seeing what they can do in applying the materials science experience they have with making sports protection products to consumer electronics.

It's an exciting field, and it's a cool, young company. I wish them the best, and I absolutely want to see what they've got coming down the pipe, despite my tragic bout with reality when one says "Sure, why not."

Still, this entire experience has confirmed something for me that I've always known. My wife can break anything.

Topics: iPad, Mobility

About

Jason Perlow, Sr. Technology Editor at ZDNet, is a technologist with over two decades of experience integrating large heterogeneous multi-vendor computing environments in Fortune 500 companies. Jason is currently a Partner Technology Strategist with Microsoft Corp. His expressed views do not necessarily represent those of his employer.

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38 comments
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  • RE: G-Form Extreme Sleeve and iPad 2 meets klutzy wife; Oh the humanity

    Wow. Thats what i call service! I hope that company does well.
    nickswift498
    • Message has been deleted.

      nomorebs
  • If your Wife reads this...

    ...I am going to guess you will be sleeping in the Florida room for the foreseeable future. :/
    Dietrich T. Schmitz --- Your Linux Advocate
    • RE: G-Form Extreme Sleeve and iPad 2 meets klutzy wife; Oh the humanity

      @Dietrich T. Schmitz --- Your Linux Advocate

      No- it was a "simulated" klutzy wife event, using a specially-programmed non-klutzy wife for the test.
      fairportfan
  • Thank you, Jason and your ace field product tester for a redesign

    I was one of those who pre-ordered this product and according to my confirmation email, my Extreme Sleeve should have shipped on May 2nd.

    Since it hasn't arrived on my door stop yet, I will hope it gets delayed until the modifications are put in place.

    Of course, I will be sending an email out to them requesting that the product shipped to me does include the "Perlow" modification.

    Thanks once again, Jason and Mrs. Perlow on a job well done.
    kenosha77a
  • RE: G-Form Extreme Sleeve and iPad 2 meets klutzy wife; Oh the humanity

    Buy a tripod. Please.
    alanhudson
    • Tripod or gyro stabilizer

      @alanhudson
      I agree with you Alan.
      davebarnes
    • RE: G-Form Extreme Sleeve and iPad 2 meets klutzy wife; Oh the humanity

      @alanhudson For a Flip? C'mon.
      jperlow
      • RE: G-Form Extreme Sleeve and iPad 2 meets klutzy wife; Oh the humanity

        @jperlow

        Or a "steady cam" camcorder stabilizer. I once read about a "do it yourself" steady cam built out of standard plastic pipe stock, some nuts and bolts and a counter weight. It looked funky but the video footage from a person walking was rock steady and impressive.

        Then again, the look of your new iPad after the demo was "impressive" as well. Grin.
        kenosha77a
    • Don't need a tripod

      @alanhudson

      He needs a script. The extemporaneous approach doesn't really work for Jason.
      RationalGuy
  • RE: G-Form Extreme Sleeve and iPad 2 meets klutzy wife; Oh the humanity

    Well, I think the case people are being REALLY good about it. I also think you might have given your wife better instructions, let's face it what she did was perfectly inline with what you asked her to do.

    But yeah, on the zip, minimal point of impact (so maximum energy per square inch) that was about the weakest part, and she hit it perfectly.

    Maybe she does have a future in product testing.

    Now go give your wife a hug and tell her that for a writer(!) your instructions were far too vague.
    jeremychappell
    • RE: G-Form Extreme Sleeve and iPad 2 meets klutzy wife; Oh the humanity

      @jeremychappell

      Actually, his instructions were perfect. The idea was to perform a test in "real world" conditions.
      fairportfan
  • RE: G-Form Extreme Sleeve and iPad 2 meets klutzy wife; Oh the humanity

    Kudos to your wife for performing a 'real world' test of the product. Kudos to the manufacturer for responding so well. As for you, Jason, why on earth would you vid your wife running around in a t shirt obviously on house relax mode? She should have thrown the iPad at you! Btw, she's a lovely voice.
    dheady@...
  • Message has been deleted.

    dazzlingd
  • I loved the video

    and watched the full 6 minutes.
    The best line was: "I'm depressed". LOL
    davebarnes
  • RE: G-Form Extreme Sleeve and iPad 2 meets klutzy wife; Oh the humanity

    I told you they were fragile, even with protection they're not capable of taking a hit!
    slickjim
    • RE: G-Form Extreme Sleeve and iPad 2 meets klutzy wife; Oh the humanity

      @Peter Perry I don't think any tablet on the market would have fared particularly well with a corner hit like that.
      jperlow
      • RE: G-Form Extreme Sleeve and iPad 2 meets klutzy wife; Oh the humanity

        @jperlow Going through the materials that make up Motorcycle Helmets, the helmets that take the hit the best are those that are most flexible! I would bet the plastic construction of the Transformer would have still had Damage but not to this extent.<br><br>Also, as many have noted the XOOM is thicker as was the original iPad and the corners are radically different so the odds of being able to create such an impact is also less likely! <br><br>Would any survive without a Mark? Nope, probably not but I would still wager that others would fare better!
        slickjim
    • RE: G-Form Extreme Sleeve and iPad 2 meets klutzy wife; Oh the humanity

      @Peter Perry It was a failure of the case - just like it is your failure to make a case of this. Dude take your all things Apple hatred elsewhere and just stop with the FUD.
      athynz
  • RE: G-Form Extreme Sleeve and iPad 2 meets klutzy wife; Oh the humanity

    Unbeknownst to you, you wife has a hidden side from the days before you met.... yes; she can throw shuriken.<br>Even big (iPad sized) ones very effectively; rumor has it...<br><br><img border="0" src="http://www.cnet.com/i/mb/emoticons/grin.gif" alt="grin">
    rhonin