After using Apple’s new Smart Case on an iPad 3 for the last week, I thought I’d collect a few initial thoughts together for anyone considering buying one.
Firstly, I should say that although it’s perhaps not Apple’s best product ever, it’s still firmly wrapped around my iPad and is highly likely to stay there until something better comes along.
Like any case or cover intended to be used with a mobile device, the Smart Case is the sum of a number of compromises. The fundamental fact is that if you want to protect your iPad, then you have to forgo some of its design goals by virtue of needing to wrap it in something which will hopefully absorb life’s bumps and scratches, enduring the device inside remains in pristine condition.
The Smart Case achieves this by providing a robust case around the entire device except for it screen. Unfortunately unlike most other Apple products, it seems a little unfinished and could have perhaps benefited from more refinement before release.
For example, the solid part of the case surrounding the screen seems far too thick for what it does and is finished with a squared-off edge where the back of the case appears to be bonded to the solid surround. This just doesn’t seem to be in-keeping with Apple’s normally exceptionally high standards and would have been much better trimmed off & smoothed down. In use, it’s not necessarily noticeable if you have the iPad resting on something or angled for typing, but it’s somewhat more irritating when you’re holding the device.
Aside from the edges, the case seems to be lacking Apple’s attention to detail in terms of fit & finish. It’s not quite as snug a fit around the iPad’s sides as you might expect it to be, and the cut-outs for the volume/silence switch & dock connector are ever-so-slightly “off” in terms of size & position.
Nothing major but annoying when in daily use.
Finally, when stood upright to watch a movie or slideshow, the iPad is now angled a little more vertically than with a Smart Cover or other similar cases. Easily corrected by adjusting the position after standing it up, but again just not quite the standard you tend to expect.
In summary, the new Apple iPad Smart Case isn’t a perfect product by a long margin but is very functional, seems to be sufficiently robust to survive daily usage, complements the iPad in terms of design, and looks to provide enough protection to keep your iPad safe without significantly impacting on its slim form or adding unnecessary bulk.
I’ll be keeping mine, but will also be keeping an eye on the market….!