iPad Accessories: Cases
The thing about iPad accessories is that half the time, you wish they weren’t accessories at all. You wish they came in the box. Among the things you may have liked to have seen included with the iPad was a protective case. Alas, it wasn’t to be — the original iPad, the iPad 2, and the third-generation iPad don't come with a case, but you can find cases aplenty just the same.
Apple's iPad case
Apple’s entry in this category for the original iPad carries the most straightforward of names: Apple iPad Case. It’s a lightweight soft black microfiber case that is kind of classy looking (though nothing like the brown crocodile-skin cases from Orbino).
Apple’s case-like offering for the iPad, shown here, is more cover than case, which is probably why it’s called a Smart Cover instead of a Smart Case. Made specifically for the newer iPads, it’s ultra-thin and attaches magnetically.
Flip the cover open (even just a little), and your iPad wakes up instantly; flip it shut, and your iPad goes right to sleep. It’s available in ten bright colors in polyurethane or leather.
Both the iPad Case and Smart Cover can be configured so that your iPad rests at about a 30-degree angle, which makes it much easier for typing on its virtual keyboard. And both can also be folded into pseudo-iPad stands that prop up the iPad for hands-free movie watching or slide-show viewing.
The Apple iPad Case has a very snug fit, which is generally considered a positive. Not always. If you want to use Apple’s iPad Keyboard Dock (and certain other peripherals that use the dock connector), you have to remove the Apple case to do so. Because of that tight fit, sliding the iPad in and out of the case is a bit of a nuisance.
Third-party iPad cases
Good as the Apple iPad Case is, other vendors offer some excellent options:
Abas: Abas offers very nice leather cases that won’t set you back like the Orbino crocodile-skin case available elsewhere.
Targus: Targus has a full line of iPad cases in a variety of materials and prices. The nice part is that none of them, including the leather portfolio, costs more than $60.
Griffin Technology: Griffin Technology also has a pretty good selection of iPad cases at reasonable prices (that is, none more than $50).
iLuv: iLuv is yet another case maker with a range of affordable cases fabricated from leather, fabric, and silicone, none of which costs more than $40.
Vario: ZeroChroma has the Vario iPad (and iPhone) case. The big attraction is the 16-angle rotating theater stand on the back that folds flush when not in use. Sweet!
BookBook for iPad/iPad 2: The BookBook case from Twelve South looks like a fine vintage hardbound book but is actually a very handsome iPad case and stand.
The iPad Bubble Sleeve: From Hard Candy Cases, the iPad Bubble Sleeve offers significantly better protection against bumps and scratches than any other case here. If you expect your iPad to be exposed to moderate impacts, this case’s rigid exterior and additional shock-absorbing rubber bumpers for the screen make it the best case.