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STM shows how bags measure up

By Leigh D. Stark | 5:27 pm 24/04/2013

Ever wonder how companies work out just how to get your laptop inside their bags? Believe it or not, bag and accessory manufacturers aren’t buying every notebook, tablet, and phone out there just to test if they’d fit, so how can they work it out?

While furniture stores like Ikea tend to grab fake pieces of electronics to decorate their sets with, an idea that shows you what your home could look like if you bought that couch, bookshelf, or desk, bag designers like STM have a different approach.

To properly work out the approximate size of a 10 inch, 11 inch, 13 inch, or 15 inch laptop, a thick plastic dummy is made, designed to look nothing like a laptop, but to emulate the overall dimensions so the right pouches can be designed.

Currently, the dummy models feel like a very weighty plastic, but at one point in time, these were large blocks of wood, similar to the chopping boards many of us cut fruit and veggies on.

A variety of laptop blocks.

This way of designing sections of bags is apparently very different from how smartphone cases are designed, with representatives for STM telling us that the company doesn’t often receive 3D working CAD models of the devices until after they announced.

Instead, companies take a gamble and work from tips and rumours, creating cases for the Apple iPhone and Samsung Galaxy series devices based on what they hear from online, with many of the guesses working out in the end.

It tells us that one of the sources of device rumours – leaked case designs – is likely being based on similar information as to what we’re often reporting on, and suggests that these product designs should be taken with the same grain of salt given to all speculation.

STM's first Galaxy S4 case being tested on our Galaxy S4 review unit.

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