The Week in iPad Cases: Razzle-dazzle

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They’re classy. They’re elegant. They’re artsy. And, sometimes, they’re just plain unusual. They are, as I’m sure you’ve guessed, the latest iPad and iPad 2 cases, the undisputed stars of our weekly roundups.

This week’s batch of the latest in iPad protection includes the usual mix of elegance and practicality, of form and function—including some unique models inspired by muses as different as the Tour de France and your everyday kraft envelope.

A Colorware-colored iPad 2

Colorware: What do you get the Mac enthusiast who has everything? What about a completely custom iPad 2? That’s the gist of Colorware’s customization service (iPad 2; $900 and up, includes iPad). Rather than making you buy a case, the company buys a stock iPad 2 and gives most of its exterior surfaces a new finish—you can choose the color of the iPad's aluminium back (or provide your own design), the Apple logo, and even the Home button.

GoDock: The GoDock (iPad 2; $50) is yet another Kickstarter-funded project that aims at creating a case capable of hosting both an iPad 2 and Apple's Bluetooth Wireless Keyboards. The GoDock is designed to be as portable as possible, and doubles as a flexible viewing dock that works well both on a hard surface and on your lap.

InCase's Rostarr Book Jacket

InCase: The Rostarr Book Jacket (iPad 2; $75) is a folio that sports a pattern developed by designer Romon Kimin Yang, who specializes in a technique he calls “Graphysics” that fuses arts with geometry. Inspired, according to the manufacturer, by the Tour de France, but somewhat reminiscent of the Dazzle camouflage patterns designed by Norman Wilkinson for the British Navy in World War I, the Jacket also works as a landscape- and portrait-orientation viewing stand, as well as a typing platform.

Innopocket's SeeThru

InnoPocket: The SeeThru (iPad 2; $35) is a folio with a unique, see-through design—ideal for keeping the screen safe while you use your tablet for a demo, for example. The case is made of a rigid polycarbonate material that protects the iPad 2 from scratches, dents, and dust, and its patented hinge allows the front cover to swivel all the way around. The front cover can also serve as a typing platform or as a stand for propping up the case in a number of landscape and portrait positions.

The Joy Factory's SmartGrip2

The Joy Factory: The SmartGrip2 (iPad 2; $30) is made to fit the back of your iPad and protect it from dust and scratches; the case's TPU offers an improved grip. The case features all the appropriate cutouts to guarantee access to the tablet’s ports and cameras, and a side slot accommodates Apple’s Smart Cover.

Speaking of Smart Covers, the SmartSuit2 (iPad 2; $60) is like a souped-up version of Apple’s protective accessory. Rather than relying solely on magnets for adhesion to the tablet, this case provides a snap-on case that fits the back of the tablet for protection. The synthetic-leather front cover folds to provide several viewing angles, and it includes the requisite magnets for the iPad 2's automatic sleep/wake feature.

Padac's Rubata 2

Padacs: The Rubata 2 (iPad 2; $80) is a synthetic-leather case that incorporates a rigid-key Bluetooth keyboard. The keyboard includes several iPad-specific keys, including a brightness control and a “.com” shortcut.

For simpler needs, the company also make the Toccata 2 (iPad 2; $60), which features a similar design to the Rubata 2, but instead uses a soft-silicone keyboard. Both keyboards use an internal rechargeable battery; a charging cable is included with each package.

Powis's iCase2

Powis: The iCase2 (iPad 2; $60 and up) is a hardshell folio that's compatible with the iPad’s magnetic sleep/wake mechanism. The case includes a cutout for the iPad's rear camera and a unique release tab that makes it easier to open the case with one hand. Perhaps the most impressive feature, however, is the wide variety of styles in which the iCase2 is available, including many different patterns ($60) and several leather models ($80). Beginning June 30, company will also allow customers to design their own cases.

Skech's Custom Jacket

Skech: The Custom Jacket (iPad 2; price unavailable) is a folio-style case, available in black or brown leather, that includes an internal rigid shell base to provide maximum protection from bumps and scratches. The case features access ports for the iPad 2’s buttons, headphone jack, speaker, and rear camera.

Timbukt2's Kickstand

Timbuk2: The Kickstand (iPad 1 and iPad 2; $49) is a nylon-fabric envelope-style case that conveniently converts into a folio; in the latter format, the case can act as a typing platform or a landscape-orientation viewing stand. The Kickstand's interior is padded for protection with a faux-fur finish. The company points out that the Kickstand, which is available in three different color combinations, does have a few limitations; namely, you need to remove the iPad 2 from the case in order to use the tablet's rear camera, and the Sleep/Wake button at the top of the tablet is not easily accessible when stowed away.

The Popup (iPad 1 and iPad 2; $39) features a pouch-like design that keeps your magical device safe; the case is available in black; violet and blue; gunmetal and blue; or gunmetal and red. When open, the Popup can also double as a viewing stand in landscape orientation.

USBFever's Smart Cover Friendly Crystal Case

USBFever: The Smart Cover Friendly Crystal Case (iPad 2; $12) is a mouthful to say, but boils down to a simple concept: a cover for the back of the iPad 2 made of a soft but sturdy material. The case comes in black, blue, pink, orange, or frost white, and is compatible with Apple’s Smart Cover. The case also features all the appropriate cutouts to ensure access to the iPad’s ports and camera.

Speaking of mouthfuls, here’s another one: the Kraft Envelope PU Leather Pouch (iPad 1 and iPad 2; $15) is a simple but elegant pouch that can keep your iPad safe while in transit. Finally, the company has also launched the Eggshell (iPad 2; $24), a transparent, ultra-thin back cover designed to provide maximum protection with minimum bulk—the Eggshell is only 0.9mm thick—while retaining compatibility with Apple's Smart Cover.

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