Atelier is following ITRedux in the conception of its Redux Model 1. Here are the latest from Ismael Ghalimi… I just received my first Apple Wireless Keyboard, and once again I am amazed at Apple’s mastery of the art of i

ndustrial design. This little piece of anodized aluminum is a thing of beauty, from the clean one-piece design (extruded profile), to the machined stainless steel cap for the battery compartment, and to the microscopic laser-drilled holes that make a green LED appear out of nowhere when the device is turned on. Absolutel, positively amazing.

Among many other things, what makes a good industrial design is maniacal attention to details. For example, the way a half cylindrical hole is drilled onto one side of the aluminum profile and filled with a flush rubber cover in order to let Bluetooth radio waves move free. On the other side, a riser uses the same rubber material, and matches a similar protuberance added to the rubber cover. On top, all the keys have the same basic shape, either square or rectangular, with a rectangular profile, at the exception of the up and down arrows, which are placed close to each other and have a trapezoidal profile in order to make it easier on one’s fingers. Beautiful!

Of course, coming up with such a perfect industrial design requires massive resources, especially with respect to the setup of a cost effective manufacturing process, resources that we do not have for the Redux Model 1. Nevertheless, there are things that we can do in order to make our device’s design as clean as can be. One is to reduce the feature set, and we’ve gone down that path over the past couple of days. Another is to work with mechanical engineers who can come up with creative solutions to the engineering problems we have to solve, and SiMa Systems is of great help in this area. Yet another is to reuse existing components in order to build a complete setup, and we certainly will use Apple’s keyboard instead of designing ours. There is no point in trying to fix what’s not broken.

After further inspection, the Apple Wireless Keyboard’s width turns out to be pretty close to the 11" we had anticipated. In reality, it’s about 11 1/8", which is close enough and great news, for it will allow us to dock the Redux Model 1 next to an iPhone, as presented in yesterday’s article. 11" would have been too short, and would have just allowed the docking of an iPod Touch. Lucky!

Regarding the side by side docking of an iPhone or iPod Touch, we are receiving mixed feedback. iPhone owners love it, but people who do not have an iPhone (yet) do not really understand the idea. The concept is pretty simple: we want the length of the dock to match the length of the Apple Wireless Keyboard, which means that we have about 2.5" of space available next to the tablet. And because a significant portion of our early adopters will already own an iPhone or an iPod Touch, we want to provide an integrated docking solution that will allow them to use just one dock instead of two. Besides, if we can make our aluminum dock look better than Apple’s plastic alternative, we end up killing two (if not three) birds with one stone. And nobody said that we won’t develop our own handheld device down the road as well…

In the meantime, here is a presentation about the project.

By Ismael Ghalimi, IT Redux.

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