Cover Story


2 of 5 stars
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At first glance, what interests me the most about Apple’s just-announced iPad 2 is its innovative new “Smart Cover,” which fastens to magnets built into the frame of the new tablet, allowing easy removal. When closed, the cover puts the device to sleep, and when opened and folded back, it forms a triangular base upon which the device can rest. Through and through, this strikes me as a truly clever design, the kind of protective layer that only Apple — and none of the third party case manufacturers vying for this market — can come up with, because they can make all the pieces fit together. It also strikes me as the kind of intelligent engineering that Apple should be coming up with, meaning it corrects the blight on industrial design that was Apple’s old iPad cover, a chintzy, polyurethane rain slicker of a cover; I found it ill-fitting, remarkably un-Apple like in nearly every way. It always seemed to me more like something you’d find sold under a generic or unfamiliar brand name at Staples than something designed in Cupertino. Good riddance.

The new Smart Cover has its own marketing page here, where a video shows it in action.

  1. It always amazed me that Apple, while providing covers, did such a bad job with them. Handset makers have (almost) always outsourced the case design, and they (almost) always suck. Same, until now, with the Apple designs.

    Seems obvious, for a company that agonizes over packaging, that the case is a part of the overall experience, so needs to be good. Glad they finally got it.

  2. “..none of the third party case manufacturers vying for this market — can come up with ”

    Absolutely false. In fact Apple copied this shamelessly from a 3rd party manufacturer.


  3. If you’re on a train and you see someone with a tablet device with a 3rd party cover, it really could be any tablet (with 100’s due to hit the market this year). What this cover does is create a simple way for people to understand that “They’ve got a iPad 2!” just like they did with the white headphones of the first ipod. It’s a brand mark in itself and a status symbol. Pure genius. Also a flashback to the colours of the old bubble iMacs. Sweet!

  4. I went to the Apple Store in Palo Alto last year (Steve’s local store 😉 and was searching for a nice case for my first gen iPad. All they had we’re the stock Apple cases, which does not look like something Apple would have designed. I asked about the selection of third-party iPad cases and was told Steve came into the store and ordered all the third-party cases be removed from the store. I was really shocked! I went over to Standford Shopping Center (the local high-end mall) and found a nice (*) speck case for less than the Apple crap.

    I am glad to see Apple has moved forward with this accessory to redefine how useful and functional a case/cover can be compared to the original case that looked like came from Staples or Kmart.

    Regarding the iPad 2… It’s nice sure, but it’s mostly a bunch of features the iPad 1 should have had. No thanks for now. I’ll wait for the iPad 3.

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