Apple iPad Case

| In-Depth Review

The iPad is an excellent example of great engineering and industrial design, so it’s no surprise that people want to protect their multimedia tablet from scratches, dents and broken displays. Apple released their own cover with the launch of the iPad, and it works really well — as long as you’re willing to put up with a couple potential annoyances.

Apple’s iPad case is a sleek folio-style cover that completely covers the multimedia tablet’s body and includes a flip open cover that protects the multi-touch display. Cutouts keep the power, volume and rotation-lock buttons within reach, and the openings for the headphone jack and dock connector are large enough for big fingers without exposing too much of the iPad’s body. A series of small holes over the speaker keep audio from sounding muffled, too.

The cover looks to be made from some kind of rubberized material. Unfortunately, Apple failed to respond to my request for information about what the material is so I’m not sure how durable it really is. That said, the cover at least feels like it will hold up well, and in my three weeks of testing it hasn’t shown any signs of fatigue or wear at flex points.

Apple’s iPad Case shows dirt and smudges really well.

The inside pocket that holds your iPad is lined with a microfiber material to help prevent scratches and so far it appears to be doing its job well.

The case includes a fold back cover that protects the screen. Reinforced panels inside the cover offer some impact protection and also offer rigidity when the cover is folded back to act as a stand.

The back of the case houses a small flap that holds the cover in place when you want to use the case as a stand. It holds the edge of the cover firmly, so the case works really well when using your iPad in landscape mode. The angle your iPad sits at in landscape mode is comfortable for typing and touch-based navigation, and works well for video watching at a table or from an in-flight tray table, too.

The case angle is great for typing on your iPad.

When standing the iPad up on the case’s thin edge, however, it feels a little unstable. Assuming the case needs more “break in” time, that may change, but for now I don’t feel comfortable touching my iPad’s display when it’s standing upright on the spine edge.

Apple’s case is comfortable to carry, and it looks sharp enough that I won’t mind carrying it into meetings where I need to put on my professional face. Based on conversations with several women I showed the case to, however, it looks too masculine.

Getting your iPad into the case takes just a little patience because the fit is really tight. The trick is to keep your iPad straight as you slide it into the case, otherwise it simply stops moving and you have to realign it to get things moving again. There’s also a flap that folds over the opening and tucks behind the iPad, so there’s no chance it will accidentally fall out.

Not too stable: Great for photo viewing, but not much else.

My biggest complaint about Apple’s iPad case is that it shows dirt and smudges — in fact, it feels like a dirt magnet. I keep my hands clean, but my case still looks like  I need to work on my hygiene skills. You can wipe down the case to clean off the smudges, but it’s an ongoing chore that gets old fast.

The case doesn’t fit Apple’s dock keyboard, either, which is a big problem since removing an iPad isn’t a trivial task. Presumably, Apple is assuming everyone that uses the case with an external keyboard will take the Bluetooth route.

The Bottom Line
Apple’s iPad case is sleek, durable and looks sharp. It works great as a stand if you plan on typing on the iPad’s virtual keyboard or watching movies. Unfortunately, it shows every smudge and seems to be a siren calling to dirt and dust.

Overall, I’m pleased with mine, and don’t plan on giving it up anytime soon. The tradeoff is that I’ll be spending far more time than I like keeping it clean.

Product: Apple iPad Case

Company: Apple

List Price: $39

Pros:

Works as a case and stand, fits the iPad well, comfortable to hold, durable

Cons:

Difficult to keep clean, unstable when using as a digital photo frame

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Comments

Edgardo

Hi, if you wet a no- lint tissue and clean the smudges on the case then dry it. It will generally be as good as new.

Cheers

dndgirl

Hi Jeff. My experience with the case mirrors yours, although I haven’t noticed the cover getting as dirty as you say. Being a girl, I will buy several more cases anyway but I’m satisfied with this one.

John

Great case, but not very sexy. Very functional but I still need a man bag to throw it in with an Apple Bluetooth keyboard. Seriously considering one by Tom Bihn.

hillj

Good review, Jeff. Thanks. One added (small) drawback that you didn’t mention: In addition to not working with the docking keyboard, the case doesn’t work with Apple’s own dock stand; a surprising pair of design oversights, given their usual care in mating their products.

Tim

As hillj noted the case doesn’t fit any of the docks at all.  I love the case but it’s amazingly annoying that it doesn’t do that—I mostly wanted to make it really easy for my wife to charge hers—just drop it on the dock.  I think that I will likely try and cut a dock-sized hole in the case.

hillj

Tim: If you go ahead and cut into your iPad case please report on your results. I have some concern that there may be consequences for the case’s integrity. If you proceed, your results can be a gift to the rest of us. Thanks.

BeckleMic

I agree about being a dirt and smudge magnet. It was a surprise to me how many smudge marks are on my case as if I owned it for years, yet it has not been a month of ownership.

Jahn

Tim: How is the modification of the iPad case going?  It’s a pain to remove the iPad from the case and I’d really like to use the iPad dock I purchased.  Thanks

Branden

I made the cutout at the bottom larger so that I could use my accessories on it. Very easy and still very secure at the bottom. The seam looks like it is fused the entire way around. It exposes a little bit more of the bottom but I don’t notice scratches yet

hillj

Many thanks, Braden. I appreciate your “pioneering” effort and report.

Scott

Folks! I just attacked my iPad Dock with a knife and removed the rubber portion where the iPad rests.  No need to start slicing and dicing the case.  Charging works perfect!

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