The Case of the iPad Cases

With the next major revision to the iPad rumored to be announced as soon as next week, I figure I’d better get any iPad 2-specific posts I’ve had in the hopper posted quickly. In particular, I’ve been wanting to write about cases for a while, mostly because it took me nine or ten months to find a case combination that really works for me.

For a long time, I was very disappointed with the Apple Smart Cover, which to me is an example of a fantastic design on paper that in real life fell short of expectations. I always found it fell off its magnetic hinge too easily, and after toting my iPad to and from work for only a few months, its edges quickly became frayed.

But then I came across the iPad 2 Smart Feather from Incipio, a lightweight hardshell case that hugs the back of the iPad. A lot of cases do this, but this was the first I came across that also clasps around the Smart Cover’s hinge, securing it tightly.

Neither does it add much in the way of bulk to the device. So little, in fact, that when I recently bought a Logitech Zagg keyboard case, I was happy to discover that the Smart Feather fits comfortably in the Zagg’s slot. The Zagg is also designed to let you collapse the iPad on top of the keyboard for carrying them together, a configuration that still mostly works when you have the Smart Feather on the device. It’s not a perfect fit, but it does the job.

I’ve been using all three accessories — Smart Cover, Smart Feather case and Logitech Zagg keyboard — as I’ve been doing more and more of my ‘real work’ tasks on the iPad. Having a real keyboard is a huge help, and being able to carry the iPad anywhere without having to handle it too delicately has been a boon too. It all seems to be coming together… just in time for me to buy a new model.

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  1. I’m a big fan of Incase’s Origami Workstation + Apple’s Bluetooth keyboard. The keyboard isn’t as protected as Logitech’s inside the aluminum, but it’s hard to beat the fact that you can use Apple’s awesome Bluetooth keyboard with the Origami.

  2. Joshua: Does the Origami workstation actually store both the keyboard and the iPad, or only the keyboard?

    Neil: The Bluelounge Shell looks great. Is it very bulky? The nice thing about the Incipio Smart Feather is that it’s very thin.

  3. Khoi: the Origami only stores the keyboard, but that works well for me because I often don’t need/want to bring the keyboard with me, for example, when I’m going to the cafe. So I’m okay with carrying them as separate items.

  4. Khoi: The sleep function on the smart cover is done with a magnet which helps save a lot of battery life. With a smart cover my iPad lasts a lot longer than with the keyboard case I just bought. I could press the sleep button on the iPad but it’d be nice if when I close the lid on the keyboard case, the iPad would just go to sleep. I forget to press the sleep button most of the time thus draining the battery fast.

  5. Whoops, forgot to check for replies – sorry Khoi. Anyway, to answer your question the Bluelounge Shell is really light, and snaps on and off without using adhesives, magnets, etc.

    I haven’t seen the Incipio in person so I can’t compare it to the Shell, but for what it’s worth I’m happy with mine.

  6. With the iPad and even more so with the iPhone we are seeing people augment the existing product with their cases. Take a look at http://www.shapeways.com (where I work) where people are designing their own iPhone cases to be fabricated using 3d printing. Here people are making exactly what they want, then making it available to others for sale.
    They may want a credit card holder or a headphone cable winder or a bike mountable case, whatever they want they make.
    Think of this as YouTube, Flickr, WordPress for products…

    An exciting time..

    Please feel free to contact me if you would like to discuss further.

    Thanks