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    BubCap Pro updates tamper protection to the big league


    I first looked at BubCap by Paperclip Robot last summer, finding it handy for parents, during demonstrations and preventing inadvertent access to the iPhone or iPad Home button. At that time, there were three BupCaps models available: the Regular, the Ultra and the Max models (in order of resiliency).

    They made it especially difficult to hit that Home Key. "That's exactly what you want -- a significant challenge for smart-alecks who would get cute with your demos, or someone whose physical development may outpace their wisdom," I wrote then.

    One problem remained, however. It was pretty easy to peel them off. A sharp fingernail and the will to act up could quickly remove the sticker. Paperclip Robot's Rob Mitchell explained, "[A]side from BubCap used with children, we sold thousands of custom-branded Max to business customers. Clients started coming to us looking for greater deterrence." Paperclip Robot responded by introducing the BupCap Pro.

    Industrial-strength and compatible with all mobile iOS devices (iPad, iPhone, iPod touch), the BupCap Pro uses an aggressive adhesive and a strong aluminum base. Its adhesive, combined with the rigidity of the aluminum, makes the Pro particularly difficult to remove.

    Paperclip Robot sent me a sample to test and I can assure you that it is essentially unbendable. Unlike older models which resist presses rather than prevent them (perfect for families with small children), the Pro blocks the Home key completely. The only access that remains is through a small paperclip-ready hole in the center of the cover.

    This hole allows administrators to use the Home key to set up any software, while preparing for public deployment -- whether in classrooms, offices, kiosks, or intake centers. The Home Key cannot be pressed without that paperclip (obviously, the devices must be set up to disable multitouch overrides, which offer Home key alternatives).

    Mitchell told TUAW, "I have several developer clients who have ordered BubCap Pro for use in bars and restaurants. I also have a developer who wants to keep users in a custom iPad shoot-em-up game used to market their brand at events."

    BubCap Pro is an excellent follow-up product for Paperclip Robot, helping to expand its line to a larger group of users. You can order units from the company website for US$9.99 for a 2-pack, and $225 for 50-packs. It is currently available only in black, although a white version will be released soon.

    Be aware that the BubCap Pro uses an extremely strong adhesive, and removal isn't easy. You'll need an X-Acto knife or razor blade and may damage the device's finish if you are not skilled. The non-pro models -- Regular, Ultra and Max -- can be easily removed with a fingernail.

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