We remain committed, as ever, to delivering the best product possible to our customers and the market at large - and are sincerely disappointed that the iPen 2 is not yet ready for delivery. In balancing the priorities of full functionality of the promoted features with the timely production of the iPen 2, we made the decision that we would rather produce the 'right' product late than the 'wrong' product on time. We thank you again for your continued support which makes the ongoing re-engineering process possible.
Understandably, many customers are interested in the details surrounding the delay - so we will provide you with details throughout the remainder of this update. The nature of the delay is mechanical, and we were compelled to revise our mechanical design to ensure the iPen 2 would perform as promised. Furthermore, our efforts hinge on our ability to acquire necessary components from Apple, which have furthered the delay.
Specifically, we made changes to the receiver mechanical design. The receiver is equipped with a pair of camera sensors. The sensors can triangulate the exact distance from the invisible light emitting from the pen tip to the writing surface. In order to reduce interference from other light sources, the sensor has a viewing window set to 3 degrees. (see Fig 1) Because of its tiny sensing window, the sensor will only see the pen tip if the receiver is perfectly still - in other words, if the writing surface (iPad) is resting on something solid like a table. Because so many of us used to rest our iPads on our knees, rest them on uneven surfaces, or hold them in our hands - we needed to make a critical adjustment keeping in mind the following: 1. that the receiver must attach firmly to the writing surface (iPad/iMac), and 2. that the receiver must stay slim so it can blend into the whole aesthetic iPad/iMac body.
The original design of the iPad receiver was to embed the sensor, circuit board and pen slot into the iPad protective case, which is approximately 9.4" high by 7.5"wide and 0.08" thick (see Fig 2) It turns out that our selected manufacturers cannot warrant this design for mass production because of two concerns. First, the ABS injection molding will be twisted in making such a big iPad case, resulting in compromised performance. The sensor will only see the pen tip if the molding case is uniformly flat. Second, implanting the receiver chamber into the case also reduces mechanical strength. This left us with the only viable alternative - using a dongle receiver similar to that used with the iPen 1.
The dongle design will accommodate different models of iPad with a 30-pin or a Lightning connector. To ensure the dongle can safely secure to the iPad, and fit to the Smart Cover as we claimed - we fashioned a receiver that attaches to the iPad (Fig 3) through the Lightning connector. Adding to the delay is the fact that Apple released a new type C12 Lightning connector last month. It's likely that the C11 will get discontinued, rendering our original design obsolete. So we started to integrate this new connector into our design as soon as we received the sample. Fortunately, the C12 connector is better for production assembly and will make the receiver much smaller. In Fig 4, you can see the receiver with the C11 connector, and the other smaller receiver with C12 connector.
Our commitment to you is not only to deliver the iPen 2, but to deliver the best possible iPen 2. Our production of iPen 1 reinforced our belief that while both performance and aesthetics are critical, performance is paramount. Our new and improved design bypasses the notion of the Smart Cover support, and ads additional mechanical support from the iPad screen to prevent sensor displacement and compromised performance. See Figure 5 for an example of sensor displacement.
We also decided to use the C12 connector instead of the C11 connector. (See Fig 6) By using the C12 connector, it's easier to modify the revised mechanical design with the 30-pin connector, and allows for a smaller receiver. That said, the 30-pin model will have similar ID design to the Lightning model.
We will release the iMac and iPad models together. Our current focus is on the iPad model. Because there is little deviation between the two models, our mechanical engineer and electrical engineer will complete the iMac model promptly after iPad model design is complete.
It's going to take 4-6 weeks to complete the modified receiver. The lead time for the C12 connector is 8-12 weeks based on Apple's supplying notice. This is depressing news, but the actual delivery date of the iPen 2 is going to be in the late Feb or early March of 2014, assuming we receive the C12 connectors when promised.
iPad Air & iPen 2 Bluetooth Models
The iPad Air is smaller than the previous iPad. We will make the iPad receiver compatible with iPad Air but this is not our current priority. We will also work on the Bluetooth iPad Receiver when we complete the iPad and iMac model production.
We thank you again for your patience, and are confident you will be pleased with the improvements we're making to the product that have delayed its delivery. Based on our terms, we will honor your request for refund if we are unable to deliver iPen 2. Your patience and support will be rewarded many times over upon delivery of a now superior product.
Our resources are limited, but your support makes all our work possible. We wish we had enough manpower to test various designs simultaneously to meet the schedule, but we are operating on a shoe string budget. We can assure you, however, that the promoted features of the iPen 2 such as Angle Agnostic Writing, Lightweight Inking, Palm Rejection and Speedy Writing Performance are all built into the end product. The mechanical design issues were unforeseen, but we are glad we caught them in time to make the necessary product revisions. In this lengthy update, we hope our supporters can appreciate our efforts, and continue to support this project.
We share in the frustration of those eagerly awaiting the rollout of the iPen 2. We thank you for your persistent interest in our development and production schedule. If you think of any additional features that will add value to our line of writing products, we are all ears. Our goal is, as ever, to make the best iPen 2 possible, and a product you are proud to have supported and to own.