Welcome to another installment of our weekly iPad-case roundup, where we scour the deepest recesses of the Internet for the latest in the world of protective accessories for the Magical Tablet. As we approach the middle of summer, the iPad 2 has been out in the open for several months, giving case manufacturers the opportunity to stretch their legs and come up with even more unique and innovative designs. It's also let them tweak existing designs to adapt old favorites to the shape and size of Apple’s latest iPad.
Without further ado, then, let’s dive right into this week’s selection,which includes a few specimens from the “entirely new category” alongside some oldies re-imagined for the iPad 2.
Caze: The Zero 8 (iPad 2; $30) is a clear, case for the iPad's backside with the claim to fame that its maximum thickness does not exceed 0.8 millimeters—making it one of the thinnest protective accessories on the market. The Zero 8 comes in a package that also contains a “3M Edge Sticker,” designed to cover the metal edge on cellular data-enabled iPads, a clear protector for the front screen, and a microfiber cleaning cloth.
ClamCase: If you’ve ever yearned to make your iPad look more like a traditional laptop, the ClamCase (iPad 2; $149) was made for you. This updated version of the ClamCase for the original iPad is a hardshell case with a full-size Bluetooth keyboard that sports a rechargeable battery and iPad-optimized function keys. The case's hinge is designed to swivel around by 360 degrees, making it possible for the case to function in four unique viewing modes. The ClamCase is currently available in a matte-black or matte-white finish, with a Star Wars-inspired “Trooper Edition” coming later this summer.
GermanMade: There's little doubt as to where this manufacturer makes its cases—entirely by hand, using environmentally-friendly materials and a socially-conscious business model. The company’s Web-based configuration engine allows you to choose from among a variety of models for iPad and iPad 2, ranging in price from €70 to €130, that feature additional compartments and a a variety of exterior colors.
iSkin: Billed as the “Smart Cover Companion,” the Solo Smart (iPad 2; $50) is a hardshell case that fits on the back of Apple’s tablet and is designed to work with the Apple Smart Cover, going so far as to provide a special locking mechanism that keeps the latter in place more securely than the iPad’s built-in magnets. The case, which is available in a clear-and-color design, also features Microban antimicrobial technology embedded in the case material, helping to prevent the growth of bacteria that cause stains and odors.
The quirkier-looking Vu (iPad 2; $60) is a shell designed to fit around the back of the iPad and is available in black, Bondi blue, and purple. It features a flap on the back that can be pulled out to transform the case into a viewing stand with multiple angles for both landscape and portrait orientation.
Kensington: The KeyFolio Pro (iPad 2; $100) combines a Bluetooth keyboard with a black-polyurethane, folio-style case that doubles as a landscape and portrait viewing stand. According to the company, the keyboard is designed specifically for touch typists (which means no squishy rubber keys) and features a simple, single-button setup. Kensington claims ninety hours of working time and forty-five days of standby, although it's not clear if the keyboard uses standard or rechargeable batteries.
The Protective Folio & Stand (iPad 2; $50) is a combination of a hardshell cover that protects the back of your tablet from dents and scratches, and a slip-on front cover that can protect the iPad's screen or act as a landscape-orientation stand with four different viewing angles. The black Folio & Stand provides full access to the iPad 2’s cameras, buttons, and ports.
The Protective Cover & Stand (iPad 2; $40) is clearly inspired by Apple’s Smart Cover, providing a segmented front that can be used to prop up the iPad for viewing or typing. Unlike its Fruit Company counterpart, however, the Cover & Stand also provides thin but capable protection for the back of the iPad by covering it with a polyurethane shell.
For simpler protection needs, you may want to take a look at the Protective Cover (iPad 2; $20), which, as its name implies, protects the back of your iPad with a thin shell and is available in black, white, or clear. Alternatively, you could consider the BlackBelt (iPad 2; $30). Arguably Kensington's most original case, this rubber bumper wraps around the sides of your tablet to offer protection from minor drops as well as to keep the back or screen of the iPad from touching your desk or other flat surface when you set it down. The BlackBelt is available in a variety of colors, including black, grey, white, blue, pink, purple, red, navy, orange, or green.
ModulR: The ModulR (iPad 2; $40) is, as its name subtly suggests, a modular system. The base of the system is a Smart Cover-compatible back case—available in transparent, tech white, or classic black—that comes with a hand strap. You can then add any of a series of accessories that extends the case's functionality. These include a shoulder strap, a car-headrest strap, a wall mount, a utility mount (perfect for the fridge), and a quick stand. The accessories can be purchased separately for $15 to $30 each, or as part of one of several combination packs.
Rivet: The Leather Folio Case (iPad 2; $80) is handcrafted from high-quality black leather and features a stylish and slim design. The cover is compatible with the iPad 2’s magnetic sleep/wake feature, and the case can be used as a typing platform or a landscape-orientation viewing stand.
Speck: The CandyShell Wrap (iPad 2; $55) has finally been upgraded to be compatible with Apple’s newest tablet. It offers all the convenience of a Smart Cover along with the added protection of a wraparound case. It’s available in a black polycarbonate finish.
Vogel’s: The RingO (iPad 2; $70–$100) is a universal system that can be used to mount your iPad onto or in a variety of surfaces, including walls, kitchen cabinets, and cars—you can even mount it in your bathroom. In addition to various mounts, the system also includes a set of stands for reading or for resting your tablet on a table. As a bonus, the mounting system is also compatible with the original iPad, although a different case is required.