iPads and iPad minis can be wonderful teaching tools for the young, those with disabilities, and those with impulse control, but an iPad is not an Etch A Sketch and is expensive to replace. Gripcase USA has created the Gripcase for iPad 2nd, 3rd, and 4th generation and for the iPad mini that protects those valuable items while allowing people with all abilities to use them.
Back corner view
First, the basics.
Gripcases are available for the iPad mini. It is available in black, blue, green, purple and red, and the price is US$34.99. They are available on third party sites, but the Gripcase, USA has the least expensive price available.
Gripcases are also available for the iPad 2nd, 3rd, and 4th generation also in black, blue, green, purple, and red. The price for this size is US$39.99 and again, the price through the Gripcase, USA site is the least expensive price available.
Both cases are warranted against defects in materials and workmanship for one year.
These cases are created from a lightweight, shock-absorbent foam, offer ergonomic handles, and complete access of all ports and buttons.
Gripcase with port access
The cases feature a “crumple zone” between the body and the bumper corner that absorbs the energy crated during an impact and directs it away from the iPad. The cases have a continuous bumper that doubles as handles on all sides. This continuous bumper can be squeezed, pulled, pushed, used as a teething ring, or otherwise handled, but the portion of the case that holds the iPad remains rigid.
Close-up view of corner construction
It is easy to insert the iPad and, once in place, it is held in place with a lip and a secure fit. It is similarly easy for a competent adult to remove the iPad with a few twists and pulls, but not particularly easy for anyone with limited skills to do so. There is no protective cover directly over the face of the iPad, but unless the iPad face were slammed directly against a hard cornered surface, it is protected in the case.
The company also offers a hard rubber stand that holds either size case on a table surface.
iPad sitting in matching stand - photo taken at desk level
Testing The Gripcase
I was interested in testing these cases in real situations and had some success with that. I conducted three tests with this product. I had both an iPad and an iPad mini case to use. I tried it first with a child 14 months who already had gained knowledge and interest in using an iPad, then with a child age 6 who is quite intelligent, but very hyperactive and has some impulse control issues. He also had previous experience with an iPad. Finally, there was the adult test.
1. Prior to trying the Gripcase, the first child would get very upset with adults who would not let him hold an iPad when he wanted to play. Can we all say temper tantrum together? He was very frustrated, and I didn’t blame him. The Gripcase, holding the regular size iPad, was too heavy for him, but when I put my mini in the mini size Gripcase (am I not brave or what?) he did fine and was a happy camper, plopping down on the floor to play. He was able to hold on to the side grips easily as he stood and toddled around. When he grew tired of playing he dropped the iPad on the floor, but my iPad was not hurt.
2. The young child of 6 was happy to accept the restriction of holding the regular size iPad, dressed in the Gripcase, on his child sized table as long as no one tried to hold it or take it from him. He was content to play a favorite game for nine minutes until he was distracted by newcomers, and then he pushed the iPad to the floor and demanded attention. The iPad bounced a bit, but was not harmed.
3. One of my primary interests in evaluating this product was how well it would work with adult individuals with poor impulse control and limited cognition. It has long been my feeling that one of the primary causes of “behavior problems” in some individuals with developmental disabilities is their limited ability to communicate effectively. I will spare everyone my examples from 30 years of experience with this special population, but I have high hopes that, in some cases, iPads may be the answer for some people. I wanted to test the Gripcase from the standpoint of use with this population.
At first, I wanted to try out the case with an older, stronger person with poor impulse control, but was not able to make suitable arrangements so I decided to create my own situation.
I inserted my iPad in a Gripcase, stood eight feet away from a wall, and threw it against the wall as hard as I could. (The things I do for The Mac Observer!). It hit the wall hard enough to knock a picture off the wall. The iPad fell to the floor, bounced, and stopped. My iPad was intact and not harmed.
Do I Recommend It?
I do. For those who need it or think it might help, it is there at a reasonable price and worth trying. And it is not going to fall apart the first time someone gives it some rough treatment.
This is a product that is not designed for everyone. Frankly, no businessman intent on making a good impression is going to walk into a business meeting carrying a purple Gripcase, but it might be the answer to someone else’s needs (even for special uses in rugged environments).