Quick Review: Apple iPad Case


Apple debuted their iPad Case [$39.00 - Apple Store link] alongside the iPad itself, and had it available for sale the very same day. An elegant black folder with subtle Apple logo meant to cover your iPad like a book, let it stand like a picture frame, or prop it like a keyboard. An attempt at both form and function. Attempt being the key word.

The material is "soft touch" -- designed to make it tackier and easier to grip -- and it really does make the iPad less-likely to slip from your hands or off you lap. However, as much as it sticks to you, dirt seems to stick to it. Smudges, streaks, and light colored stains cling to the thing.

There are the usual cutouts for buttons and rockers, speakers and mics, but a curious ridge that runs along the side almost as though no trimming was done at the factory. It's obviously meant to be there but it's annoying and oughtn't be.

A small flap on the back lets you tuck the cover in to create the triangular structure needed to stand it up in picture/movie mode or raise it up in typing mode. It fits well and securely.

Steve Jobs has reportedly responded to criticism of the case with a quick "we like it", and I guess we like it too -- we just don't love it.

YouTube link

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Rene Ritchie

Editor-in-Chief of iMore, co-host of Iterate, Debug, ZEN and TECH, MacBreak Weekly. Cook, grappler, photon wrangler. Follow him on Twitter, App.net, Google+.

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There are 42 comments. Add yours.

Brandon says:

I agree with the edges but overall I like the case. However I think this review needs to point out that the iPad will NOT seat in the iPad Dock while in this case. If you search on "ipad case dock fix" you'll see workarounds people have done to make it work, but this IMHO is the biggest flaw with the case, not the edging.

JD says:

I appreciated the case as I felt the iPad a bit slippery walking around uncovered. Its a bit more subtle at work, and avoids that scratching noise when you place a raw iPad on a desk or table top. Curious if it will work with the 3G without modifications. Wish it had a small pocket inside for something like a screen wiper - I'm wiping this dang screen every 5 minutes...arrrggghhhh

paul says:

The case has a handful of annoyances, for sure (starting with the price), but as I look at the third party case available they all seem to be much worse.

jblonde002 says:

To quote: "I guess we like it too — we just don’t love it."
Can I ask a dangerously simple question of which case you DO love? I need to get a case before I get an iPad (going away for a long time) in the UK and was going to get this...
Is there something better?

Kate says:

I've been looking around and have not come across a better case to date (with the same functionality). Wiping the case itself with a damp microfiber cloth removes all of those white smudges you speak of.

Charles says:

I really like this case and haven't seen anything to beat it yet. As others above I wish it had a pocket for my screen wiper but for now I either shove it behind the iPad or leave it between the cover and the screen.

Ian says:

Yep... I'll chime in with "I like it, but I'm searching for something better as well." Maybe that "something better" will come along one day.

Dyvim says:

Another here- I like it, and it's the best I've seen so far, but don't love it. The stand functionality is what makes it for me- this is a must have feature in an iPad case for me. Personally I don't care about the dock because I don't want to use my iPad at my desk in portrait mode (and the case allows me to stand it up in landscape mode), so I'll be returning my dock. And I like the book cover that allows me to "close" my iPad and protect the screen when I put it away (difficult to do, I know!).

UntidyGuy says:

I love this case because there doesn't seem to be any reason to remove it. That's the best kind. The ridge along the bezel makes it easier to grip the edges. The edges probably protect the case from being dented.

Johnny Boy says:

If anyone has a case other than the Apple one and you like it, let us know. I've been toting mine inside of a sketch pad in my backpack. I looked at the soft and cushy foam netbook covers at Staples and would've pulled the trigger if the colors weren't day glo green and pink. I'm surprised someone isn't making an improved knockoff that sells for half.

wtlaw says:

As previously said, It needs an inside tight pocket for the wipe and pieces of paper. I like it very much!!!!

AntonSoze says:

I'm interested in seeing a review, getting some feedback, of the InCase Book Cover (Leatherette) http://www.goincase.com/products/detail/CL57512 and of the Tuff Luv leather case http://www.i-nique.com/detail.asp/cn=1/c=511/sku=5055205271101, each of which look like they are functional and well made. I'm wanting a case that allows the portrait and landscape viewing of slideshows, while being a good cover that allows you to easily handle the iPad.
I don't think any case is going to fit into the dock, and those wanting obtain the most functionality of a case,ie keeping the iPad in the case for convenience, are going to have to settle for just charging the iPad with the charging chord with the iPad in its case enclosure.

west3man says:

I passed on this pricey case ...until I found out that they only had 9 on opening day. It protects, props, and camouflages it for those times when I don't want the attention.
I see little reason to get a dock, at this point.
If I got the Bluetooth keyboard, for instance, I could view the screen in landscape mode, as well as portrait - not so for the dock, from what I understand.

athenspro says:

My wife got me the iLuv black leather cover case (iCC806). It's the best one I've seen. It's works great and looks very professional too. I highly recommend it.

Al says:

This looks like an absolute piece of garbage. It's weird to see Apple putting out a first party case when they focus so much on design. The reason I don't have an iPhone case is because compared to the phone itself, the cases look like crap. Same can be said about this except that it's actually Apple ruining their own design and charging you $40 for a bit of rubber. No thanks.

Kristi Frlekin says:

Waiting for my 3G but will definitely be ordering a leather case from vajacases.com. Splurged on one of their custommade cases for my iPhone that has protected it with style and beauty for the past 3 years. Worth every penny ($$$).

JNGold says:

I will be traveling this week and was looking for something to carry my iPad in. I liked the form factor of the Apple case because of the multi-functionality (cover, stand, typing angle prop). However, they are selling like hotcakes as 2 of my local Apple stores were plumb out of the case. I wound up buying a crappy Incase sleeve just to protect the ipad when traveling.
I am looking for other solutions that provide the same functionality as the Apple case.

JNGold says:

That iLuv case does look very slick. But I don't know how professional it looks with a big metallic "iLuv" on the front of the case.

Jacko says:

@Kristi Friekin I was going to wait for the 3G and then was smartened up at the Apple Store. If you have an iPhone, get MyWi for $10.00, it works great tethered to the iPad. Always have your phone right? No 3G on the phone, none on the iPad, so you don't gain/lose anything. MyWi is not bad on battery life as the older tethering apps.

ShevonJames says:

I'm going to wait until a third party vendor release a better one.

Racso says:

I really like the case for what it is but the only complaint I have is that it gets dirty way too quickly!! even if is laying on a clean surface, it gets dirty spots all over! but for what it is I guess its ok

Derek says:

It's expensive, but what product/sevice Apple makes isn't. However, the case as a "stand" and a slight "rise" to type on is convient. The "stand" to watch a home video, movie, or any type of video is nice for easy sharing-viewing. The slight "rise" to type on at home, coffee shop, or on any flat surfacem makes typing more accurate and easier. Given Apple's continous overpriced products/services, the iPad case is the best on the market.

Rick says:

My friend has an iPad, and kept the clear plastic screen protector (that it is shipped with) on it when he put it in the Apple case. Still perfectly usable but greatly reduced the fingerprint/smudges issues on the display.

James says:

I own this case. It may attract some dirt but it also takes 1 second to clean so it's a non-issue. The seam on the edge is good in that it acts like a bumper. When in this official case the iPad is a lot more rugged and can be tossed around a little more. It feels naked outside of the case. I like the soft rubber like texture as it's super grippy. You can hold the ipad under your chin and open doors without fear of dropping it.

Tinbear says:

Thanks Rene for the video! Now I know what that annoying interior flap is designed for (it makes perfect sense)... I was going to take a pair of scissors to it. :P
I like this case (like, not love)... One thing that I am still getting used to is opening the cover. The edge of cover is slightly recessed from the bottom portion making it a little tricky to open.

UntidyGuy says:

This is a great case. Don't let the appearance fool you. One of the most important features is that the edge that surrounds the screen is rigid. If it was loose and floppy all sorts of crap would get stuck under there and your finger would slide under there all the time.

Nigel Tufnel says:

I actually do love the case, I think it's really well designed. If I had to take it off all the time to use with a dock or something, it would suck, but I don't, I just keep it on 24/7. I do think the price should probably be more like $30 and it would be nice if they didn't stick that Apple logo on the front. Here's why I like it:
First, it's thin, meaning it retains that thin, small feeling with the device inside. I have a friend who has a leather case for his, it's nice but it makes the thing about 3x thicker, it almost looks like a laptop. Totally kills the sleekness factor.
Second, it feels good. The microfiber finish is soft yet grippy enough to make holding the iPad much easier. Before I got the case I was really struggling to find a good way of holding the iPad, it just felt pretty slippery and unbalanced. The case feels like an expensive soft book cover. Carrying it is also easier, it just feels like a book or notepad.
Third, it protects the iPad pretty well, which is obviously a primary job of a case. I don't know what would happen if I dropped it from 6 feet up or so, but I feel pretty confident that a hip-level drop wouldn't kill it. it has these edges around the outside that some people call sharp (but don't feel uncomfortable to me) that would cushion some impact on the edge. And obviously the cover closes over the top to protect the screen.
Fourth, it has several positions for propping it up built in. The one that props it up for typing in the landscape mode is the most useful for me, and I can also see the "movie" mode being useful on a cross-country flight, although the narrowish base makes it a touch wobbly in this position (maybe too much sitting on a seat tray table?).
I guess this case isn't for everyone, but I think it's great and when you use your iPad in it for a while (I'll probably never take mine out of it), it's apparent Apple put actually a lot of engineering into this simple accessory, they really thought about comfort and how people would use it.

Nigel Tufnel says:

Oh, also, while it's true it does tend to collect white dust streaks or whatever, it's very easy to wipe off with a damp cloth or paper towel and it looks like new again. Hey, I'd rather have the case collecting stuff instead of the iPad, isn't that the point?

waidt says:

Case is professional, holds iPad securely, cleans easily.
Ridges act like crumple zones in a car to cushion the much more important occupant.
I like it.
Sent from my iPad.

Johnny Boy says:

@Nigel you have convinced me. In the big scheme of things what's another $43.00? Mine will be filthy no doubt but like you said, it's main purpose is to protect the Jesus Pad. If they can't show me a fix to keep the wifi drop issue, I'm returning it.

Booger McGee says:

I'm pretty sure that if this was an unboxing video for some HP or IBM product we'd be seeing nonstop comments about how Apple could do it better, how ugly it is, or how bad the installation goes.
Seriously - that's a dirt and dust magnet, looks cheap, and is very un-Apple.
I think Apple as well as the fanbois are starting to let their standards slip. It could be so much better than this thing.

ronr says:

Second the vajacases comment. Curious to see what they come up with that works like a notebook.

David says:

I don't think that the case is very good, and I've been using it since my iPad's third day (Apr. 5). All the criticisms you had, yes. And more: It doesn't allow you to carry anything else in it--cleaning cloth, a sheet of paper. And it doesn't remedy the curved back problem.
I have no idea what they were thinking by designing the iPad with a radius back rather than flat. Seriously, guys---you expect people to type on this machine, so why on earth would you make it an unstable platform for typing? Also, because of the curved back---and the Apple cover exacerbates this---you can't control screen orientation when you simply put the iPad down. It will flip on you because it rocked one way or the other. That is annoying. And the case makes this worse by making it happen even more.

Johnny Boy says:

I finally got the case and after 3 days of use I can say it is an unequivocal 10. I cannot imagine a better case. This is not fanboy stupidity, this is a great case. The point about wobbly typing is a spot on, and becomes a pleasure with the case. There is also the feeling that you won't drop it and unlike a zipper case, it is easily and quickly accessible. The material is non skid and maybe because I was expecting worse, I don't find it to be the dirt and dust magnet I thought/heard. My only grip and it is minor, Is that the front cover flap doesn't lay flat back in place after a prolonged session of having it open and tucked in. Minor and in no way alters the experience. If you close the flap and put it down, it goes back eventually. Stick it in the backpack or briefcase and it happens instantly. So no big deal. Get the case, it really improves the device IMO.

Jeremy says:

i modified my case and now its fine... still they could have got this right!

Adam says:

I couldn't get the apple case at first because I live in the UK and Apple has just launched the iPad here. I ended up getting a nice leather looking case from a company called Snugg of Amazon and it's great.
I really did want the official Apple case at first but after hearing about the dust/dirt problems and the front not staying closed i had my doubts. The Snugg case stays clean, feels really solid and has cool little magnets that help it stay closed. Its way better!

Chris says:

Want to buy a new iPad, it looks brilliant!

Justin says:

I've had this case for a few days, now. Very happy with it. It does pick up dirt easily, but it's also grippy enough that I can tuck it under my arm while carrying something and not have to worry about it slipping out. It also doesn't add much bulk to the device, unlike some cases.
As for the extra trimming, that's supposed to be tucked under the iPad - it's right there on the 2nd/last diagram of the instructions that the case comes wrapped in.
Dave: Why not use the convenient folding feature of the case if you have a lot of typing to do? And if you're having screen rotation problems, why not used the rotation lock switch?

Charles says:

You guys might want to check out this awesome Case I heard about on the Rush Limbaugh Show its called ZooGue here is their site http://www.ZooGue.com

Andrew says:

I really like this case for a number of reasons:
* It is great for when I am reading on my side, with the device in portrait view. The base takes most of the weight, and it needs minimal effort to hold up - just a little balancing when it is on my mattress. I lightly hold the case near the base with my left hand, and navigate with my right hand. Without the case it is a bit of an effort to hold the iPad - either I hold it near the base, where the leverage from the width of the device makes this tiring, or I hold it further up, which is also tiring.
* It is nice and thin.
* It makes the iPad much more grippy. I used to be quite worried about the iPad slipping out of my hand. The smooth back of the iPad feels great, but isn't very practical. With this case I never feel like I'm going to drop the iPad.
* Also, I find I can slip a very small microfibre cloth in behind the ipad, so that I can always readily clean the screen. This is not ideal, and a small pocket on the outside would do a better job, but it does work.
Ok, it gets a bit dirty, and I find the orientation lock a little hard to get to, but these problems are outweighed by the other benefits IMO, and this case really has changed the way I use my iPad.

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reneebjb23 says:

I don't think that the case is good, and I've been using it since my iPad's third day, All the criticisms you had, yes. And more: It doesn't allow you to carry anything else in it--cleaning cloth, a sheet of paper. And it doesn't remedy the curved back problem. And for a mom with a 2 years' old son, I can not let my little son touch my iPad, he may drop it to the ground, I saw one case on http://www.eva-product.com/Soft-Grip-iPad-4-Foam-Case-302.html http://www.amazon.com/iKid-Retro-Green-Tough-Absorbing/dp/B009HUHB8I/ref... It is good shock absorption. The retro green attracts me, with the cased iPad , my son can use it too. Awesome iPad cover!