This Saturday, Apple will begin selling the much-hyped iPad and new users of the tablet device will begin wondering, how am I going to protect my new, expensive gadget. L.A. DJs Derek Michael and Lee Doerr think they have the answer and it's called iBallz.
Consisting of four balls attached by elastic cord, iBallz keep tablets like Apple's iPad and Amazon's Kindle elevated and stable without covering the device. Michael and Doerr originally envisioned iBallz as a DJ tool, something to fit tablets over turntable set-ups at their gigs, but soon realized that it had multiple uses. The cords can be readjusted to give a tablet an ergonomic tilt and the lift provided by the balls can keep your lap from getting hot while working.
The duo's new product developed, oddly enough, on Mountain High, when Michael and Doerr heard about the iPad and head protection while on the slopes. A little while later, Michael took a spill while snowboarding, got up and announced to his friend, "iBallz!" They went to a toy store, bought a bunch of balls and Michael spent the rest of the night designing and building something that could protect a tablet. Then he tested it out on a piece of glass cut to the size of an iPad.
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"I dropped it on the floor and it didn't break," says Michael. "I dropped it again and it didn't break. I went to my neighbors and said 'Check this out' and started throwing the glass around."
Michael, Doerr and friends quickly began working on a website, demo videos and photos. Within days, their new project had been mentioned on sites like Wired and Gizmodo and pre-sales quickly surpassed their expectations. Though their original product hasn't begun shipping yet, the two already have others in the works, including a phone-size contraption called iNutz as well as carrying cases and sleeves.