Products that pick up where the Smart Cover stops
With the introduction of the Smart Cover, Apple has created yet another clever i-accessory. Clever as it may be, however, the Smart Cover doesn’t provide protection for the entire iPad—it protects only the tablet's screen.
This fact hasn’t been lost on users. Even many of those who liked the Smart Cover's design and functionality enough to buy one have been looking for a way to keep the back and sides of the iPad 2 safe. But while vendors are cranking out case after case for the iPad 2, few can partner with the Smart Cover.
We've been keeping tabs on the various protective offerings that are, according to their manufacturers, “Smart Cover-compatible.” Here's a look at the ones we've found so far. (Of course, pretty much any iPad bag will hold a Smart Cover-equipped iPad 2, so we've limited our selection to form-fitting cases, carrying sleeves, and protective films.)
Marware Microshell iPad 2 case
Marware's $40 Marware Microshell iPad 2 case combines protection with style. Made of rubberized polycarbonate, the case snaps onto the back of your iPad 2, keeping that surface free of scratches while leaving you free to access all of the device's ports and buttons—and, of course, thanks to a cutaway along the left-hand side, attach a Smart Cover. The Microshell is available in grey, pink, white, red, or black.
WaterField Design iPad Slip Case
WaterField's $29 iPad Slip Case is a padded, waterproof-nylon sleeve with a soft interior and a rigid panel on one side to protect your iPad's screen. Available in black, blue, green, brown, red, or silver, the sleeve sports a wide, nylon loop at the bottom to help you remove your iPad. The Slip Case fits a Smart Cover-equipped iPad 2 like a glove.
AviiQ Smart Case
AviiQ's $50 Smart Case wasn't just made with the Smart Cover in mind—it was made specifically for use with the Smart Cover. This accessory protects the back of your iPad with a rigid, aluminium shell that features rugged plastic accents that match the colors of your particular model of Smart Cover.
Autum's Turncoat is not for everyone, but it certainly packs a classy punch. This $144 cover is handmade with domestically tanned leather and sports four quick-snap closures for maximum security.
Joy Factory Smart Fit 2
The Factory's $30 Smart Fit 2 is an ultra-thin, clear-smoke, snap-on, polycarbonate shell that keeps the back of your iPad 2 from getting scratched without adding significant bulk to the tablet. It fits both the Wi-Fi and 3G versions of the iPad 2.
Case Closed German Wool Felt Sleeve
Case Closed's German Wool Felt Sleeves(£26 to £33) are, as their name explains, form-fitting sleeves made of German Wool. Built to provide a cozy and scratch-free environment for your iPad 2, each Sleeve is available in a special size designed to accommodate an iPad 2 with its Smart Cover. The Sleeves are hand-made in England and come in a variety of models featuring different color combinations and fastening systems.
BodyGuardz iPad 2 Armor Carbon Fiber
The aptly named iPad 2 Armor Carbon Fiber ($30) is made of a tough and durable carbon-fiber material that provides considerable scratch and scuff protection without adding bulk to your iPad. The Armor is available in traditional carbon-fiber black or a sleek new white.
XGear EXOSkin Carbon Fiber Protector for iPad 2
Like BodyGuardz's Armor, the $30 EXOSkin Carbon Fiber Protector for iPad 2, available soon from XGear, protects the back of your iPad 2 using premium carbon-fiber graphite from 3M. The company says the EXOSkin is easily installed and removable.
Nedrelow Sleeve Sized for iPad 2 + Smart Cover
Nedrelow's $39 Sleeve Sized for iPad 2 + Smart Cover, as its name aptly suggest, fits your iPad 2—with the Smart Cover attached—like a glove and provides a thick, German-made wool environment in which you can keep the pair safe. The Sleeve is available in safety orange, charcoal, or heather.
Protective body films
If you want protection with even less bulk, you’ll be happy to know that the Smart Case works perfectly with practically all body films available on the market, such as BodyGuardz’s iPad 2 Clear Skins ($30, pictured here), Zagg’s InvisibleShield Apple iPad 2 Skin ($40), and Wrapsol's back films for the iPad 2 ($30). These films are designed to cover your iPad 2's body with a tough and nearly invisible film that offers surprisingly robust scratch protection. Some are available in sets that include screen protection, as well (see the next slide).
Protective screen films
As clever as the Smart Cover is, it won’t protect your screen while you’re actually using your iPad. That's where screen protectors come into play. These films cover the iPad’s own Gorilla glass with a thin layer of transparent, touch-through material. In addition to providing a simple way to protect the screen from scratches, a number of these accessories are also effective at keeping fingerprints and smudges at bay in case you should find that the screen's oleophobic coating is not quite as afraid of your skin oils as it should be. Vendors offering screen films include BodyGuardz ($20; $30 bundled with body film), Zagg ($30; $40 with body film), Moshi ($30), and SGP ($22).
GelaSkins Skins for iPad 2
GelaSkins offers an amazing variety of iPad 2 skins ($30 each), each made of a soft, silicon-based film that uses removable 3M adhesive to affix securely to your iPad 2 to offer stylish protection against scratches. Each model sports a different artistic or graphical theme and comes with a matching bezel film. GelaSkins even provides, via download, matching wallpaper to extend your favorite design across the entire iPad.