This past Sunday found me having to run a few errands and grab breakfast with my three-year old Calvin. My wife Shelley needed to take our six-year old son Phillip to the urgent care to see about a cough, so I volunteered to take Calvin to breakfast and keep him entertained while his brother got a new prescription.
We were getting the kids situated in our cars. Shelley opted to take the Accord, since Phil’s booster seat was already in the back seat. And I was in the minivan, since Calvin’s car seat pretty much stays there full-time. I had left my iPad in the back seat of the car from the night before when I took it over to my friends’ house. Shelley found it and handed it to me while I was getting Calvin buckled in his seat. With my hands full of three-year old, I took it and placed the iPad on the roof of the van.
You can probably already see where this is heading.
I shut Calvin’s door. I forgot my keys and my wallet and I ran back into the house to find them. I got in on the driver’s side and we pulled out of the garage.
My iPad was still on the roof.
We got to the end of our street and I noticed the dome light was still on. So I parked at the stop sign, got out and re-shut Calvin’s door.
I didn’t notice that the iPad was still on the roof.
I got back in the car and Calvin (age 3) and I headed down the road.
Calvin kept jabbering away, asking questions about where we were going and what we were going to do when we got there and where was mommy and Phillip and yada, yada, yada.
The iPad was still on the roof.
We turned on to southbound Interstate 75. At the bottom of the ramp, I noticed a few police cars had pulled over someone for a ticket. So, after passing them, I thought to myself that I should pick up some speed, since the cops were going to be way behind me. I looked down and I was doing 70 MPH.
The iPad was still on the roof. But not for long.
I heard a thump! And at first I thought I had hit something. But I didn’t see anything. I looked in the rear-view mirror and saw a black object flying through the air, then landing, skidding, and sliding on the highway behind me. At first I thought, “Surely a piece of the luggage rack on the van didn’t just break off.”
Then it dawned on me. My iPad had just flown off the back of my car at 70 MPH and crash-landed on the Interstate. All I did was whisper, “No, no, no,” which I think made Calvin uncomfortable because daddy stopped answering all his questions.
My 32GB 3G iPad lives inside a DODOcase, a handmade case designed to look like a Moleskine journal notebook. There is nothing industrial or bulletproof about the materials. It’s well-crafted, but I would have never thought it would survive any sort of major impact.
A feeling of dread started to come over me. I wasn’t sure what to do. For a moment I thought about not going back to collect it, expecting to find a pathetic puddle of glass and silicon in the middle of the freeway.
My wife had just texted me something about leaving my sunglasses in the car. I shakily replied with “Guess who lost his iPad off the top of the car going 70 mph?”
Between my home exit and the next, there’s no place in the median to do an emergency turnaround. Plus, I’m doing 70. So by the time I realized that it was the iPad–I was way down the road!
I continued to the next exit, pulled up the ramp, then got going down the other ramp on my way back. When I finally got going back in the right direction, I was doing 35 or 40 MPH, scanning the roadway for my iPad’s mangled corpse. I saw it laying off to the right in the emergency lane. I pulled off to the side of the road, and backed up to it–careful not to back over it.
When there was a gap in the traffic, I got out and picked it up. I remember a twinge of embarrassment, thinking that surely other drivers passing by must realize what just happened.
Of course, Calvin was very curious what Daddy was gathering at the side of the road.
I was surprised to find the case almost completely intact. Only the top left corner of the back cover was mangled, and then only a little bit. There were scuff marks all over the back from where it must have slid to a stop, but nothing too bad. The wooden part of the case was cracked by the iPad landscape volume control. It’s good looks are spoiled but it did its job marvelously.
I opened the case up. The screen was completely intact: no cracks, no shatter. It didn’t pop out of the aluminum housing. I took the iPad out of the DODOcase for inspection: not one scratch. Nothing. No dings. No scrapes. No bumps. No bends.
I pushed the home button. The unlock screen came right up. I tilted the iPad sideways, the orientation changed as expected–so the accelerometer was still working. I opened Safari and I connected to the internet just fine over 3G, so the antenna still worked. I checked Google Maps and the blue dot pinpointed me at the side of I-75, so the GPS antenna was working.
The iPad that just flew off the top of my minivan going 70 MPH then landing on Interstate 75′s asphalt was as good as new.
So what does this say about the build quality of the iPad, and the DODOcase too, for that matter, who I think is the hero of our story?
Here’s what I think:
- I would have never thought the iPad would have come out of this alive with a completely intact screen, case or no case. I saw this thing fly tumbling through the air. I mean, it had *lift.* I have demolished iPhone screens one-fourth the size, standing still from 3 feet onto concrete. The iPad dropped at least 8 feet after it flew up, and with velocity. Not even a chip or crack! Apple’s build quality of this thing is rock solid. Don’t worry about dropping this thing on your shag carpet.
- I’m lucky this didn’t kill someone behind me at worst, or smash a windshield at best. After it was airborne, it stopped being consumer electronics and became a 1.5 pound projectile of glass and aluminum. Luckily, it flew into the emergency lane.
- Bravo, DODOcase! I know they claim that their product isn’t an “impact” case in their site’s FAQ, but you could have fooled me. This is now the singular iPad case I will recommend to everyone. You saved the day.