UPDATE: You can get the Smart Cover from as low as $26 from Amazon. Thanks to Simon’s helpful comment below.
The long-awaited iPad 2 is now available. Although the screen size is still 9.7”, the new iPad is slimmer and slightly smaller than its predecessor. Those of you who resisted the impulse of buying an iPad as Christmas present can have it now for the same price but with the new operating system from Apple, iOS4 and with lots of additional functions such as dual video cameras, gyroscope, HDMI video out and magnetic screen covers.
iPad2 Smart Cover unfolding
The magnetic screen covers are called “Smart Covers” and they surely live up to their name, thanks to a series of interesting features which we are going to talk about here. This is not a hands-on review of the iPad 2 Smart Cover, since it’s yet to become available for purchase, but a description of its main features and benefits that make it awesome.
First of all, the Smart Cover addresses the issue some iPad users had, that it was a shame to cover such a beautiful design with a case. For the iPad 2, the case was designed right alongside the product, and the result was a cover for the glass screen. The back of the new iPad is made from durable aluminum, therefore it doesn’t need protection.
iPad 2 Smart Cover folded as typing support
The Smart Cover attaches to the iPad 2 via magnets and it bends and folds around, revealing the screen and at the same time offering support for typing or watching movies. There are magnets not only inside the cover but also inside the iPad 2, therefore the cover will snap onto the iPad in the correct position every time. It’s so easy to attach or remove the Smart Cover, that you can have more than one, so you’ll be able to match it with the colors of your outfits. Apple will provide the Smart Covers in ten colors, five in polyurethane and five in leather.
The Smart Cover will be available in 10 colors
The cover is padded with a microfiber lining which cleans the screen any time you move it.
Another interesting feature is that the cover automatically wakes up the iPad when you open it and puts it to sleep when you close it. This will be a great battery life saver.
The price announced by Apple is $39 for the polyurethane covers and $69 for the leather covers. We are going to update this article with a list of online stores where you can order your Smart Cover as well as other iPad 2 accessories.
Do you care about animals but still enjoy nice quality leather goods? If you do, you must check out the new Venture Reptile iPad case. It looks like lizard skin, but it’s faux leather. It’s so cool that we don’t need to kill animals to make wallets, book covers, iPad covers and other similar stuff!
Like all other cases in Case-Mate’s Venture line, the Reptile offers good protection for the iPad, thanks to the Velcro tab and snap button closure. The case features an impact resistant, flexible plastic shell padded with a soft, velvety material.
The protective hard shell makes the difference between these new models and the original Venture iPad case which we had the pleasure to review a while back. All features that we liked back then are still here: the easy access to all ports and commands, the ability to charge and sync the iPad even with the case closed, the light weight of the case and the slim profile.
The Venture Reptile used as stand
Being tailored to snugly fit the iPad, the Venture has a super slim design, easily fitting in a medium-sized purse. It’s hard to guess that this thin and elegant profile hides a built-in stand that can be used for both landscape and portrait view. The angle is not adjustable, however it’s best for typing with the iPad on your lap. Turning the case into stand is easy: just open up the two snap buttons that keep the cover in place, then fold the iPad over the cover and you’re done.
The reptile-like faux leather case is available in three finishes: black with pink accents, pink with black accents and purple with silver accents. All three color combinations are modern and stylish, making this iPad case a perfect mix of fashion and functionality.
You can choose and order your Venture Reptile iPad case from Case-Mate.
For the bargain hunter in you, here’s an offer quite hard to turn down: the professionally designed iPad folio case from Acase which was originally $80, can be bought now for less than $20 on Amazon. If you always wanted a leather folio case for your iPad but never got one, it’s time to take a look at what Acase has to offer:
Professionally designed, the case fits the iPad snugly, preventing it from sliding out
The case doubles as an adjustable stand for typing or watching videos on your iPad
The side snap closure adds even more protection
The high-quality leather cover allows reading in portrait mode
Acase iPad case - adjustable viewing angle
We found this iPad leather folio case to be an excellent and inexpensive Christmas gift, therefore we considered including it on our under $20 iPad-related gift list. You can find it here.
We’ve chosen to review the HardShell iPad case today because it comes with a novelty that we found very useful: two hidden feet that fold out offering support for an optimal typing angle. Although this is a really cool feature, it’s not the only one that made us recommend this iPad case.
We also appreciated the sleek and minimalist design, the snap-on lid and the perfect compatibility with other iPad accessories such as the Apple iPad Dock. Docking the iPad with the case on was a challenge for the first generation of iPad cases, the official one from Apple included.
HardShell iPad case with Apple Dock
Lately, most important manufacturers started to take this into consideration, therefore one can find several good choices at reasonable prices. Just browse through our other iPad cases reviews if you’re interested and see what other options you have.
The soft touch texture and the beautiful bright colors are two more reasons to take a closer look at this protective cover that would fit your iPad so well. If you enjoy taking your iPad with you everywhere you go, the Hard Shell from Hard Candy Cases will be your friend. This cover is lightweight, ergonomic and functional, it looks youthful and fun, and most important of all, it’s going to protect your iPad effectively.
Hard Shell iPad Case - ergonomic angle for typing and viewing
The only thing to keep in mind is that the foldable feet need to be handled with care, otherwise you risk to break them.
You can see all available colors and buy your HardShell case from the eBags website.
Update: ZAGGmate is now available for iPad 2; slimmer, sexier, and still the best case on the market for your iPad. You should get yours from ZAGG while stocks last.
Why would I buy a keyboard for my iPad? This is a question more than a few iPad owners have asked themselves. The answer can be anything from “I wouldn’t!” to “I need it for faster and error-free typing”. While most heavy iPad users acknowledge a physical keyboard is better than the built in virtual one, they also agree that carrying an external keyboard around with them is completely impractical.
Since so many people buy an iPad case anyway to keep their expensive device protected, ZAGG have spotted this opportunity and created the ZAGGmate, an iPad case with built-in keyboard. On the outside, the ZAGGmate looks and feels just like an original Apple gadget, thanks to its aircraft-grade aluminum with a bead-blasted, anodized finish. Slim and sleek, it is the perfect matching case for your iPad, it’s also the thinnest hard cover available. But wait! The ZAGG mate is way more than a case. Open it, set the inner hinge in any one of the preset positions, and you’ve got an iPad stand with variable angles, perfect for both landscape and portrait orientation. If this is all you need from your iPad stand/case, you can buy the ZAGGmate without keyboard. You’ll get a beautiful case and adjustable stand for only $69.
ZAGGgmate with keyboard - iPad landscape orientation
However, for an extra $30 you can have the ZAGGmate with keyboard, which will provide the benefit of faster typing, and the comfort of feeling real keys under your fingers. We give this two thumbs up The ZAGGmate with keyboard only adds about ¼ inch to the iPad thickness, so most people won’t even know there’s a keyboard inside your slim aluminum case.
The keyboard is wirelessly connected to your iPad via Bluetooth. Before you can use your iPad with the ZAGGmate keyboard you need to pair them. This is easy, it’s the standard procedure of pairing two Bluetooth devices. It only has to be done once, and then the iPad and the ZAGGmate will “recognize” each other by default after that.
ZAGGmate - iPad cover made from aircraft grade aluminum
Slim, lightweight and durable, thanks to the aircraft-grade aluminum
Perfect match for the iPad, thanks to the anodized finish
Excellent drop protection provided by the military grade high-density padding
Ten viewing angles, suitable for both portrait and landscape mode
Flat, large base, excellent for use on uneven or soft surfaces (such as a bed or a couch)
Built-in wireless Bluetooth physical keyboard
Special function keys for music control, volume control, home, search, slideshow, keyboard language and more
Here are the technical specifications and the box content, as published on the ZAGG website:
Size and Weight:
Height: 9.75 inches (248 mm)
Width: 7.625 inches (194 mm)
Depth: .4 inches (10.2 mm)
Depth w/keyboard: .54 inches (13.7 mm)
Weight: 7 ounces (.2 kg)
Weight w/keyboard: 12.8 ounces (.37 kg)
MicroUSB cable for charging
Four rubber feet (optional)
Battery: ZAGGmate with keyboard uses a 510 mAh rechargeable lithium polymer battery that will last for several weeks of normal use without charging. It comes already installed and it probably can’t be replaced by the user (at least we haven’t found a way to access it yet).
ZAGGmate for iPad - keyboard and stand
We believe the ZAGGmate with keyboard is one of those must-have iPad accessories, definitely one of our picks for the best of 2010. It provides three items in one: a beautiful, military-grade protective hard case, an adjustable stand and a Bluetooth keyboard. All this fits into such a thin profile that it leaves the portability of your iPad unspoiled.
The ZAGGmate is available for pre-order on ZAGG’s website. We couldn’t find any information on how many of these ZAGG will be able to ship before Christmas, so if you think this could make the perfect gift for someone you know, it might be a good idea to get your order in early. Get it now from ZAGG.
We got a message from one of our readers, asking us to review the Crumpler iPad bag. This is how we discovered Crumpler The Moderate Embarrassment, a heavy-duty, water-resistant messenger bag, sized to accommodate the iPad plus a few accessories and personal belongings. The bag is ergonomic and comfortable, it has a nicely padded separate compartment for the iPad and plenty of pockets for other things. The iPad compartment size is 11.02” x 7.87” x 1.18” and can therefore fit the iPad either naked or in a thin hard shell case. There’s another Crumpler bag which also fits the iPad: Skivvy, but that’s really small, it’s more a sleeve rather than a bag, therefore if you want room for more than your iPad, we’d advise you to go for The Moderate Embarrassment.
Crumpler The Moderate Embarrassment looks good. At least in the opinion of our team. All the details of this bag are beautifully made, the quality is amazing, the color combinations are modern without being garish. The materials are smooth, yet weatherproof and durable. This is not an elegant business bag, but it’s perfect for college students, casual day-to-day business, or for travel and weekend trips away.
Crumpler The Moderate Embarrassment - interior compartments
We appreciated the nicely padded shoulder strap. If you ever had to hold a bag on your shoulder for a long time, then you know how important this tiny detail can sometimes be. The outer flap closes securely thanks to a pair of Velcro fasteners. The good news is that thieves will have a hard time opening your bag. The bad news is that you’ll also have a hard time should you attempt to open your bag in silence. Other than this minor issue, Crumpler The Moderate Embarrassment makes a great iPad bag.
Did I hear you say Drop-Proof ??? Well it almost is, in the words of the designer, David Adams:
“We modeled the Squish Skin after a Wii remote case. Your iPad still isn’t drop-proof, but it’s close”
And the entire team here couldn’t agree more; after I personally put my Pad into this case it felt almost indestructable. Short of intentionally throwing my iPad on the floor to test if this were true, I am happy to say that with the Squish Skin on the iPad, it certainly feels like it would withstand a drop from table height.
So on to the details of this case. To start with it’s soft, and I mean really soft, at risk of sounding a little kinky I have to say it feels good to hold. Apparently it’s constructed with squishy, air filled chambers in the sides. It feels pleasantly soft, tactile and I can comfortably use my iPad all day in this case.
The Squish Skin also comes in 6 delicious shades of colored rubber (click to enlarge):
6 Delicious Colors
Hard Candy Cases, the creators of the Squish Skin, describe it as follows:
More protective than bubble wrap and way more fun, the Squish Skin delivers noticeably outstanding and unique protection for your iPad. The snug, form-fitting silicone skin resists impacts by utilizing air-filled chambers just below the surface of the case.
iPad Squish Skin - Teal Blue
We think this case is super-cool, super-functional and super-value for money, retailing at around the $40 mark. It’s an awesome, protective, rubberized iPad case with air pockets in 6 delicious colors, The Squish Skin from Hard Candy Cases If you want a great, all-round protective iPad case that has real design flair and doesn’t cost the earth, then this is it. 5 big stars from us.
The best price we found for the Squish Skin was at eBags.
Comfort, protection and style are only three attributes of the MacCase Leather iPad Flight Jacket. If you’re after iPad cases or bags with pockets for accessories and small personal items, this case might be exactly what you want. Sleek, compact and very well organized, this premium leather iPad case enables easy access to anything inside. The main compartment is designed to accommodate the iPad exclusively. It’s padded, lined and custom designed for the iPad, therefore it offers excellent protection. The two interior pockets are placed just in front of the main compartment and they are perfect for a mobile phone and for a small, flat accessory. The front pouch is a bit wider, allowing the storage of something a bit bulkier such as a charger or an external battery. The really cool thing about this pouch is that it’s removable. Finally, the small zippered pocket on the top flap and the rear flat pocket are perfect for keeping cards or small documents you may need quick access to.
iPad Flight Jacket - vintage leather
This iPad case can be carried as a handbag using the top handle or as a shoulder bag by using the detachable shoulder strap. For a few extra dollars you can buy the case with removable backpack straps. We found it convenient that MacCase decided to make this feature a separate option, because in case it’s useless to you, you don’t have to pay for the straps, then find a place to store them before finally deciding you’d better throw them away.
The MacCase Leather iPad Flight Jacket is available in brown vintage or black full grain leather, both showing the same top notch quality and attention to detail. One almost feels like buying one of each, then match them with various outfits. If we think that the iBook case launched by MacCase in their earlier years is now a collectible, we see that we can’t go wrong when buying best quality accessories, be it for the iPad or for anything else.
The Premium Leather iPad Flight Jacket comes with free shipping and a lifetime warranty. You can find it here.
In our opinion the Speck CandyShell is one of the best iPad cases in terms of protection against shocks, bumps or accidental drops. That’s because it’s constructed with two layers: a hard polycarbonate shell on the exterior, coupled with an interior soft rubber lining which provides excellent shock-absorbing properties. This soft rubbery lining extends as a raised bezel around the iPad screen, protecting it against contact with flat surfaces, and possible scratches, should you put your iPad face down. We thought this feature was nice, although we still think an iPad screen protector is essential for scratch protection. The lining of the CandyShell case has a honeycomb pattern which helps reduce the weight of the case without compromising its protectiveness.
Speck CandyShell - docking panel
The CandyShell also has a cool feature: a small flip-back panel which makes it possible to use the iPad with the Apple dock or keyboard dock without removing the case. The panel has a purely protective role and it should not be used as a stand for the iPad. The case has openings to allow access to the headphone jack and to the screen rotation lock.
The beautiful MacCase Vintage Leather iPad Sleeve is made from premium weathered leather which makes it look and feel vintage. It seems to have been designed this way intentionally for people who want to protect their iPad in style, while still maintaining a wintage wor look. The stitching is very nicely done and overall the case is beautifully constructed, we also thought the “Dual Texture” design was very elegant, as can be see pictured. The MacCase logo is discreetly embossed just below the top flap, on the thin vertical strap.
The sleeve is fully padded and lined with a super soft interior for maximum protection against bumps and scratches. We liked this very much because leather cases padded as nicely as the MacCase Leather Vertical iPad sleeve are rare.
Another cool feature of this iPad cover is the hidden dual magnetic closure, silent and easy opening. The sleeve fits the iPad either naked or in a thin shell case. This makes it easy to have your iPad protected 100% of the time, while you use it or while you commute.
MacCase has been designing cases and other accessories for Apple products for more than 10 years. Their experience shows in this latest creations in terms of both style and functionality. Another great product.
MacCase Vertical Leather iPad sleeve specs and features:
Sleeve size: 11″ x 8.5″ x 0.5″.
Weight: 12 oz.
Material: premium weathered leather (vintage brown) or full grain (black)
Premium leather hides
Complete padding for maximum protection
Top flap with hidden magnetic closure
MacCase iPad sleeve - brown weathered leather
MacCase iPad sleeve - full grain black leather
Although our team preferred the vintage case with its beautifully aged brown leather, the MacCase Leather iPad sleeve is also available in a full grain black leather version. If you hurry you can catch the currently ongoing sale: 20% off plus free shipping. This means you can have one of these premium leather iPad cases for only $111.99, including a lifetime warranty against workmanship or defects in material.