Apple iPad Smart Case – a smart option?

Alongside all the higher-profile news & products emerging during Apple’s 2012 Worldwide Developer Conference was something intended to address one of the most obvious flaws with the iPad Smart Cover.

Sold in their millions to iPad owners wanting to protect their devices, it may sound slightly obvious but Smart Covers only cover the screen; leaving the back of the device unprotected. Although iPads have a metal back and are fairly robust, even light usage in a normal business setting can quickly result in a multitude of scratches in the aluminium finish. Smart Covers also leave the sides and corners of the device exposed so if a device is dropped, the screen is at greater risk of damage.

Until the launch of Smart Cases, only third party products were available that would fully protect your iPad’s screen, corners, sides & back from damage. The new Smart Case is Apple’s first product since the original iPad Folio case to offer this level of protection for second and third generation devices.

In the absence of a suitable accessory, most of the third party cases tended to either be fairly similar in nature; resembling a wrap-around folio case, or they took the form of a protective shell/film/etc for the back of the device & a Smart Cover style cover for the screen. Functional & effective, but often not the best option as something tended to be compromised somewhere down the line – size, protective ability, attachment, additional bulk, or perhaps just the style. None of the options really equated to the idea of an iPad with just a Smart Cover.

Apple’s new Smart Case is a valiant attempt to change all of this. It’s a polyurethane folio-style case, which encases your second or third generation iPad completely along with incorporating a standard Smart Cover for the screen. Due to its construction it’s very lightweight and adds little to the overall weight of your iPad.

It does however add a bit of additional bulk around the sides of the device as it includes a fairly wide solid band around the perimeter of your iPad’s screen. I can only assume this particular aspect of the design is intended to help offer an enhanced degree of protection to the sides/corners should the device be dropped.

I suspect I’m noticing it more at the moment due to having switched to the case in favour of just a standard Smart Cover. Hopefully over time it will just disappear into the background; much as the iPad’s bezel does when your using it.

Once you’ve squeezed your iPad into the case (it’s a fairly snug fit for the 3rd generation iPad – suspect the IPad 2 might be slightly looser), everything you could do using the standard Smart Cover will continue to work with the Smart Case. I’m finding that the screen angle is slightly steeper when the device is stood upright, but aside from that I’m not really noticing any major differences.

It’s early days, but aside from the additional bulk I’m finding little reason to not to recommend this to anyone looking for a case for their iPad. The cost is much the same as a polyurthene Smart Cover, and in exchange for the bulk you get a case that works exactly the same as a Smart Cover; offers the same fit & finish as you’d expect from an Apple accessory & comes in a range of colours from primary red through slightly more muted shades of grey.

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