Let’s face it, you can tell a lot about a designer’s aesthetics within seconds of looking at a single product they have designed. That being the case, it is clear that the designers over at AUTUM, a company I had never before heard of, have AMAZING taste. But I’m getting ahead of myself.
Judie recently reviewed a leather iPad pouch and was rather impressed. It is beautiful, heavy-duty, rugged leather that, to paraphrase her, holds the iPad in the same manner that a holster hold a gun … and there you have the difference between the frames of reference a Texan will use as compared to someone from New Jersey! The double row of stitching on the pouch adds to the rugged way the pouch protects and carries your precious iPad. All of which makes sense, since the case Judie reviewed comes from the Saddleback Leather Company. As I’m writing this post I actually have the review sample in my hand and the thickness of the leather and its heft are truly impressive. I know understand why Judie ended her review with, “The Saddleback iPad Sleeve is absolutely beautiful in its simplicity; it’s not pretentious, but it screams ‘quality’”.
Well, there’s leather… and there’s leather. Today we’ll look at the AUTUM Straight Jacket for Apple iPad. It too, ” is absolutely beautiful in its simplicity; it’s not pretentious, but it screams ‘quality'”.
Like the pouch Judie reviewed, the AUTUM Straight Jacket is beautifully constructed from only the finest materials. But that is pretty much where the similarities end. Where the Saddleback Leather Company went for a rugged look and feel to their iPad pouch, AUTUM went for a far more refined look and feel with their product. The leather is soft and brushed and it already shows a few marks from usage… but in a good way. As I’ve been using this pouch for the last week it has increasingly taken on more and more character to the point where it is now unique to me and my iPad.
The company describes this pouch, the Straight Jacket in this way:
We found ourselves searching for a leather sleeve deserving of the content it would be holding. Our relentless journey through the inter-webs proved fruitless and we took it upon ourselves to build a sleek, minimal alternative to the plethora of cases out there. Custom fitted for iPad and MacBook air.
As I noted above, the leather is incredibly soft. It feels almost like velvet and is really a pleasure to hold. This is about as simple a design as you’re going to find although a few small touches at a significant amount of character to it.
For example– instead of having a double row of stitching for strength this pouch creates a folder on either side which adds rule for the iPad to slip in and out with ease. It is constructed from two different pieces of leather which are sewn together with similarly colored thread. This seams are perfectly straight and the stitches are evenly spaced. Exactly what you would expect from us or find a product as this.
In order to ensure that there isn’t too much stress placed upon the lower corners of the pouch small, unobtrusive, rivets have been placed. Because they are in the same color as the leather they are not immediately noticeable but they are there and it certainly gives me a good sense that this is an iPad pouch that will last a good long time.
In the lower portion of the couch the company name is embossed into the leather. As I’ve noted in various places here on the site, I’m not a fan of advertising companies through splashy logos on their products. In this case I don’t mind the logo whatsoever. It’s small and relatively unobtrusive and, if anything, it adds a little bit of character to the couch.
As you can see, one piece of leather is folded to create the side. That leather is then sewn into the second piece creating a space between the two pieces of leather. The bottom, where the two pieces meet, is sewn tightly together to close the pouch on all but one side.
The inside of the pouch is lined with a soft suede material that will help ensure that its precious contents are well protected from scratches.
Between the outside mother and the inside suede material there is a good bit of padding–more than you might realize when first looking at the pouch. All of this combines to offer good protection for the iPad.
In order to use the pouch you simply slide the iPad inside. This is a great way to carry the iPad if you have a back protective film permanently affixed and are using a screen protector. If you have any sort of a back shell on the iPad, however, you’re out of luck. It’s a tight fit that was designed for the iPad and only the iPad.
To remove the iPad from the pouch you simply reach into the pouch, grab the iPad with one hand and the bottom of the couch with the other. The iPad slips out easily. It’s worth noting that this is a two-handed process but I suspect that it will become a bit looser with use.
When inside the pouch the iPad is just a bit below the top opening. This provides a little bit of protection for the top edge of the iPad but it’s certainly something you want to be aware of. Don’t toss keys on top of the pouch when the iPad is inside a bag being held vertically.
When inside the headphone jack and microphone are accessible — assuming you put the iPad in bottom first.
So is the sleep/awake button.
That’s really all there is to this pouch. It is beautiful and refined, it feels wonderful in the hand, it offers good protection to a naked, or semi naked, iPad and it doesn’t take up much space or add much weight when it’s in your bag.
If there is one downside to this pouch is the price. The MSRP on it is $133. That’s quite a bit of money for a simple leather pouch but let’s be clear about something– this is a high-end luxury item. This is refined leather for someone with discriminating taste. And this is an iPod pouch that is only having a limited production run. In fact, this pouch is only one of 50 that have been created so far. I love it and suspect that I’ll be using it quite a bit. If you’re looking for an unusual, classy gift for your iPad loving someone you love–this may be the perfect luxury gift for them this season.
What I will say is this: AUTUM has similar pouches for the new MacBook Air on the way. I’ll be using this pouch but I CAN’T WAIT to get my hands on the pouch for the 13″ MBA!!
You can order your own over on the company website.
MSRP: $133 (this includes priority shipping)
What I like: beautiful leather; refined design; stitching is precise and rivets in the lower corners over unobtrusive strength for longtime use; logo is unobtrusive and add a bit of interest; feels fantastic in your hand and offers good protection for your iPad
What needs improvement: initially it’s a bit tight around the iPad which makes removing the iPad a two-handed job; clearly priced as a luxury item
Here are a few pictures of the two leather couches next to one another;
AUTUM Straight Jacket left, Saddleback Leather Company iPad Pouch right
The top corner of each; you can see that the Saddleback Leather Company pouch dips in the middle for easy removal
The lower corner of each. One uses rivets and has a refined look, the other uses a double seam and looks ruggedly great.
Side-by-side you really see the difference in approach.
And one last shot.