Twelve South SurfacePad for Air: Hands-on luxury

Twelve South is maintaining its record of success with Apple-only accessories with a new twist on an existing product. The company has made soft leather pads for the area around the trackpad on a MacBook Pro for several years; now they're shipping a MacBook Air-specific version of their venerable SurfacePad product.

SurfacePad for Air (US$29.99) comes in sizes to fit the 11" and 13" MacBook Air, and in two classic colors -- Jet Black and Pop Red. Made from soft Napa leather, the thin SurfacePad provides a way to pad your hands on the cold aluminum surface of the MacBook Air and protect the device from skin oils and potential scratches.

I had an opportunity to try out the SurfacePad for Air on an 11" MacBook Air recently. Twelve South's innovative and classy packaging continues; the SurfacePad is boxed in a thin wedge designed to be hung from a wall display and features a small strip of the leather material on the outside to not only give potential buyers an idea of the color of the product, but the soft feel as well.

Inside the box is a strip of cardboard with instructions on the back. During shipping, the adhesive back of the SurfacePad is covered with a two thin plastic sheets, which are removed just prior to sticking the SurfacePad to your MacBook Air. To ensure that the SurfacePad sticks properly to the laptop, Twelve South recommends cleaning the surface first. For that, I used a Qmadix Smudge-Free Cleaning Kit ($14.99), which comes with a cleaning foam and Microfiber cloths to keep your tech toys clean from smears and stains.

The SurfacePad installed easily, and according to Twelve South it can also be removed with no residue staying behind. The feel of the SurfacePad is nice -- much better than the cold metal -- and it softens the impact of your palms on the MacBook Air by giving them another layer of "skin" (leather) to lay against.

The SurfacePad is a simple product, but one that adds so much comfort for the MacBook Air user. If you spend a good portion of your day typing on a MacBook Air, indulge a little for the simple pleasure of the SurfacePad.