Designing cases for iPod, iPhone and iPad

Does Apple’s new Smart Cover for the iPad 2 have you thinking about case design? Want to try your hand at designing your own? To get you started, Apple has a handy resource page with case design guidelines to assist third party vendors in designing cases for Apple products. There’s no info on the iPad 2 yet, but I’m sure it will appear once the device starts shipping.

What may be of more interest than design guidelines are the dimensional drawings available. Each iPhone model, each iPod (going back to the iPod photo only, sorry click wheel iPod people, no new cases for you) can be viewed in a line drawing pdf complete with measurements, switch locations and port openings.

It’s fun to look at drawings. Did you know that the ringer switch on the CDMA iPhone 4 is 12.53mm from the top, while on the GSM model it’s only 10.17mm? Or that the volume buttons on the iPhone 4 are 4.8mm in diameter, while the ones on the iPod nano (6th generation) are only 3.9mm? Or that touch screen covers must be thinner than 0.3mm? Well, now you do.

You can also see the design evolution of Apple products by studying the schematics. On the original iPhone, the Proximity emitter, detector, and the Ambient Light Sensor (ALS) are three separate circular areas above the ear speaker. On the iPhone 3G and 3GS, these were moved to the left side of the ear speaker. On the iPhone 4, the Proximity Sensor and ALS are back above the ear speaker, but instead of three separate openings, there is just one wide oval shaped opening.

I don’t know about you, but dimensional drawings fascinate me. Go check it out, and draw your own geeky conclusions.

Eugene Huo is a Juno Award winning recording engineer, video editor, photographer, and all around Mac geek. His first Mac experience was with the Macintosh Plus. You never forget your first. You can follow him on twitter @gamerparent, and check… Full Bio