As a business professional who’s constantly on the go, your iPad is a powerful productivity tool. To ensure the tablet is available when and where you need it, however, you’ll want to keep its battery charged throughout the day, in addition to keeping it well-protected, both when it’s in use, and during transport.
When choosing a case or cover for your iPad, there are four primary things to consider:
- Does the case/cover offer ample protection for the iPad, based on how you’ll be using and transporting it?
- Is the case/cover you like made for your iPad model? Keep in mind, there are subtle differences between the various iPad models. Be sure to choose a case or cover that’s specifically designed for your model.
- Does the case/cover convey a professional look that fits your personal style?
- Are you looking for a stand-alone case, or a slipcover that will protect your iPad when it’s being carried or transported within your existing briefcase, purse, messenger bag, or backpack? A slipcover serves as a padded envelop for your iPad that can easily be placed within an other non-padded bag. Meanwhile, a stand-alone iPad case fully surrounds the tablet. It offers protection on all sides against drops, scratches, and other potential accidents.
You can visit any Apple Store, consumer electronics store, or office supply superstore and find a decent selection of low-to-mid-priced iPad cases and covers. But for the best selection, and some of the most luxurious options, you’ll need to shop online.
In addition to choosing a case, however, seriously consider applying an ultra-thin protective film over the iPad’s screen. These films are clear and offer a tremendous level of additional protection. Some of the protective films available, from 3M for example, also offer anti-glare and privacy protection.
For a small additional fee, the same protective film that’s used to cover the iPad’s screen can be applied to the entire body of the iPad in order to offer nearly invisible protection from scratches and dirt. These films are available from many companies, including Zagg. For the back of the tablet, you can also apply a thin, non-clear vinyl film, which can be imprinted with a colorful design, your own photo, or a company logo. To order an imprinted iPad vinyl skin, visit http://www.decalgirl.com, http://www.skinit.com, or http://www.gelaskins.com.
These protective films or skins are extremely thin, can be applied to your tablet in minutes, and are designed to remain on them permanently. However, they can be removed in seconds with no sticky residue. Adding a protective film or skin to your tablet does not impact which case or cover you can use with it.
The Pros and Cons of Apple’s Smart Covers
The iPad 2 and new iPad are both fully compatible with Apple’s own selection of Smart Covers. They’re available in a handful of colors and made from either polyurethane ($39.00) or leather ($69.00). Both versions offer the same level of screen protection and functionality, but the leather covers are offered in more conservative colors and are better suited for a corporate setting.
A Smart Cover is designed to protect the tablet’s screen while it’s being transported. It attaches to the iPad using magnets. When placed over the screen, the iPad goes into Sleep Mode automatically. When you’re ready to use the tablet, the Smart Cover folds back and can be used as a stand (with two positions).
Apple’s Smart Covers offer a thin design that protects the iPad’s screen. However, the back and sides of the tablet remain exposed. Plus, the Smart Cover will offer little protection against accidental drops, for example.
While the Smart Cover will work fine with any protective film for the screen, it may not work with other optional cases or covers for the iPad that are designed to hold and protect just the tablet.
High-End Leather iPad Covers and Cases
If you’re the type of person who enjoys luxury items, like leather seats in your car, Mont Blanc pens, Rolex watches, and/or designer purses, you’ll probably appreciate having a handmade iPad case constructed from fine leather.
In addition to offering a stunning line of handcrafted leather luggage, briefcases, and handbags, J.W. Hulme Co. offers two different but equally luxurious iPad covers. The iPad Notebook Stand ($295) comes in an American Heritage leather, lead black leather, classic red leather, or saddle heritage leather, and is available for all of the iPad models. The case offers built-in padding and is lined with plush nubuck leather on the inside.
This cover offers a portfolio-style design that folds out to include several small pockets on the outer flap. Your tablet can be kept within the iPad Notebook/Stand at all times. When in use, the front flap folds back to transform the case into a stand.
The iPad 2 Smart Cover and Sleeve ($295), also from J.W. Hulme Co., looks somewhat like Apple’s Smart Cover. However, this one surrounds the entire tablet with a protective leather coat that can be kept on at all times. Like Apple’s Smart Cover, the front slap of this case folds back to serve as a two position stand.
What’s nice about the iPad 2 Smart Cover and Sleeve is that is has a cut out design which leaves all of the iPad’s buttons, ports, and cameras fully accessible at all times, yet the back, sides, and front of the iPad remain protected.
Saddleback Leather Company also offers a vast collection of handcrafted, fine leather luggage, briefcases, and bags, in addition to an iPad cover that will make your coworkers jealous. Your iPad will easily slip into the Leather iPad Case ($104) from Saddleback Leather Company, and enjoy a strong layer of protection while showcasing a fashionable and business-friendly look. The front flap of the Leather iPad Case folds back, allowing it to serve as a single-position stand.
Yet another high-end iPad cover solution comes from Lusso Cartella. This company offers two iPad case designs, each made from high-end leather and available in a variety of colors. Priced between $99 and $159.99, these cases offer full body protection at all times but fold open to offer access to the tablet without having to remove it from its leather enclosure.
The front flap of the Lusso Cartella cases can be folded back, allowing the case to serve as a stand. One nice feature of these cases is that the front flap offers a small or large pocket (depending on the design), which can accommodate anything from business cards to the tablet’s charging cables, pens, and/or a smartphone.
While all of these fine leather cases offer stylish protection for your tablet, none offer the Smart Cover functionality that includes placing the iPad into Sleep Mode when the screen is covered, and waking it up automatically when the cover is removed.
J.W. Hulme Co., Saddleback Leather Company, and Lusso Cartella all offer superior products that are handcrafted in the United States. However, if you prefer to dress your iPad in truly designer duds, Louis Vuitton offers a slipcover for the iPad ($490,) that prominently showcases the “LV” logo on the outside. It offers a chic way to transport your tablet and is available in two colors.
Priced at $420 and designed for women, the Prada Nylon iPad Case can be used to safely transport your tablet, as it zippers up and fully surrounds the iPad with a soft padding. The Prada triangle logo is displayed on the outside. Meanwhile, the Prada Saffiano iPad Case ($550) comes in a slick black color, and is more suitable for men who want to protect, but also show off their tablet in luxurious leather. A less costly Prada iPad Sleeve ($300) is also available.
Tumi is known around the world for offering extremely durable but fashionable high-end luggage for business executives. The company also offers a selection of well-designed iPad cases and covers, in addition to briefcases, messenger bags, and purses that have built-in padded compartments specifically designed to accommodate an iPad. The basic Tumi Ballistic Snap Case or Tumi Leather Snap Case for iPad offers full-body protection and a portfolio-style design. It’s available in five colors, and is priced around $100.
Coach also offers a selection of iPad cases and covers in a handful of designs ($88 to $198) that are suitable for men or women. You can save a little money, however, by shopping for “last season’s” styles from the Coach outlet stores.
For more affordable iPad case or cover solutions, Levenger offers the Belmont iPad Sleeve ($89), which is made from full-grain Italian leather with a padded twill lining. You can use this as a stand-alone case that fully protects the entire iPad when it’s being transported, or you can easily stick this slipcase within your briefcase. What’s nice about this slipcover is its envelope-like design with a top flap that closes with a magnetic snap. The company’s Leather Envelop (which comes in five colors) is priced at $129. It is made in England, and offers plenty of protection, but no top flap.
Several companies, including Levenger, offer a messenger-style shoulder bag with a padded compartment that’s custom designed to hold an iPad. Levenger’s iPad Messenger ($229) is light weight, stylish and made from Italian leather with brass hardware. Waterfield offers a similar messenger bag style for $179.00, as well as a nice selection of other affordable leather cases and covers for the iPad.
When it comes to choosing the perfect case or cover for your tablet, focus on quality, the level of protection offered, and on its appearance. Keep in mind, the price of an iPad case or cover is not always a direct reflection of its quality or craftsmanship. Sometimes, you wind up paying a significant premium for a “designer” name or logo.
You can’t go wrong, however, with any of the iPad covers or cases offered by J.W. Hulme Co., Saddleback Leather Company, or Lusso Cartella. Just be sure to choose a design that meets your needs and personal taste.
Jason R. Rich is an avid iPhone and iPad user, and is the bestselling author of more than 52 books, including: Your iPad 2 At Work (Que), Your iPad At Work: 2nd Edition (Que), iPad and iPhone Tips and Tricks (Que), Using iPhone iOS 5 Edition (Que) and iPad 2 Essentials (Que). He’s also a frequent contributor to numerous national magazines, major daily newspapers and popular websites. You can follow him on Twitter (@JasonRich7).