Dual Tablet Holder Variants

Why build one when you can build two for twice the price?
S. R. Hadden in «Contact»

One of the actually cool concepts by Microsoft was the Courier Tablet. You could open it like a book and had space on the left and right «page». Looked cool and while today’s iOS can show two windows next to each other, the ability to fold the device and actually half its size still is intriguing. While there are attempts to do similar things with smartphones, I wondered whether you cannot achieve a similar effect with a bit of sewing. And while I do not own two of the same tablets, I do have an iPad mini and an Onyx Nova C, which are roughly the same size. And hey, they could be used to watch videos or do courses on the iPad mini and take notes on the eInk tablet. That’s enough to give it a try.

I tried three versions, first with Cordura, then with leather, and again with Cordura. It was helpful to use a plastic cover to create templates for the devices.

First Version: Cordura

The first Cordura version had openings on the inside, with separate velcro strips. I also did add a pen holder (for the eInk Tablet).

Main problem was that it got rather thick in the middle and the outsides are rather flappy (clamps in the image). Also, the fabric was rather close to the screen, making it rather uncomfortable to use.

Second Version: Leather

Given that leather might be a bit more stable, I started again with leather.

Took a bit of reworking and cutting, but it ended up with one velcro strip in the middle — simple stacking each pocket over the other. I also cut off the outside barriers on the long tablet side and folded them in. The Tablets are already kept in place by the top and bottom pockets, to they were not needed:

Overall rather lightweight yet still usable. But the top pockets are a bit flabby — mostly due to not being able to sew well.

I did not include a pen holder — thought about adding one on the outside, but the eInk magnets are surprisingly strong and keep the pen in place while reading.

Third Version: Cordura (Minimalist)

Given the previous experiences, I tried Cordura again and removed everything that was not really needed (outside barriers on the long side). The following image shows part of the construction process — and yeah, I made a mistake in not sewing the folds exactly parallel to the outside. Also the velcro strip in the middle is not really needed beyond a bit on the top and bottom. On the other hand, it could be used to attach a pen case.

The result is still flappy with the top pocket, but overall, yeah, a step in the right direction. The tablets are now held in place by the pockets — top and bottom. The bottom part is sewn and thus fixed. The top part is attached with velcro in the middle — which is enough to quickly add and remove a tablet while still holding it safely in place. This being said, no warranty and I would not hold it upside down when walking.

Not sure whether I will make a fourth version that is better sewn and less flabby. Removing the velcro strip in the middle and having only small pieces at the top might improve the design as well. But yeah, interesting to have two devices next to each other.
BTW, one intriguing development could be iOS’s (future?) ability to support collaboration with iPads. Look at the following image from Apple’s 2023 keynote:

Image from the Apple 2023 Keynote

With strong collaboration functions, it would be possible to use two iPads an work on the same document. And yeah, it’s only an idea — the price would be way too high (two iPads?!?) but it could work. Not what the collaboration feature was designed to do — letting the «pages» collaborate — but that’s a sign of a great technology: it can be used differently than imagined.