One of the items that Apple promoted in the press conference this past Wednesday was the new Smart Cover. The cover attached magnetically to the iPad, aligns itself, and can be rolled to create a stand. It also has a microfiber liner which will help to clean the screen.
I’ve had the original iPad in the Apple Case since day one. I bought my iPad at a Best Buy, and went to the Apple Store to buy the case. The case is falling apart a bit at this point, but I know that the case has been there with every minor drop of the iPad. At this moment, my iPad is out of the case as it is perched on my iPad keyboard (still a great accessory, but I wish Apple would have also put a 30 pin connector on the side of the iPad so it could be docked either way).
I’m worrying a little bit about the back of the iPad without a cover. My MacBook fell early in its life. I don’t recall a situation when it fell, so I still believe it happened at school when I may not have been in the room (meaning kids in the room when I wasn’t, such as before a class began). At any rate, the lower right corner (and the upper right corner of the lid) of my MacBook is dented. It can’t be fixed, only replaced. It doesn’t look terrible, and everything still works, but the dent will impact any possible retail sale in the future.
I also think of GFW High School, the all-iPad high school in Minnesota, where a number of iPads have gone out of service, but no broken glass has been experienced. That tells you that the aluminum back of the iPad is potentially more fragile than the glass.
I know that Apple products are beautifully engineered devices, and that they are intended to be used uncovered. And even accessories, like the keyboard I am using, require the device to be uncovered. At the same time, my iPhone 4 always has a case, and an iPad is far more likely to drop than a MacBook (This is particularly true if you have a small child who loves to play with your iPad). What happens when it lands on a corner?
Obviously, there will be plenty of other cases available for the iPad 2–so Apple has no need to provide one. But I’ll certainly try the Apple case to see how it works (and how the iPad holds up). At the same time, one of the protection plans (such as those available at Target) might be a worthwhile investment.