The iPad Case Dilemma

Last month we ran an intriguing poll that simply asked what type of iPad case you used, and the results got me thinking. The success of the iPad has allowed an almost laughably vast industry to grow up simply providing cases and covers of all shapes and sizes, covering every possible need while allowing you to spend up to $4,900 (for an iPad case made from the finest alligator skin) in the process.

No other item I can think of has caused such a strong bout of case-fever. Even the Nokia 3310 only had one actual type of case, albeit in an almost unwaveringly disgusting smorgasbord of colours and designs. The clearest thing that was highlighted by the poll is the surprisingly even spread of cases people owned and used, there seemed to be no clear consensus on the ‘best’ way to protect, carry, and augment the iPad.

I decided to give it some thought…

Where I Stand

I may as well begin by explaining where I stand on iPad cases, before I delve into some thoughts on the dilemma at hand. I currently have an iPad 2 with a black leather Smart Cover, but also own a simple padded zip case for putting the iPad in whilst travelling around. Here is my reasoning:

  • The Smart Cover is perfect for almost all the ways I use my iPad, it regularly resides on my desk either covered, or propped up by, said cover. It only really comes off when I’m using the iPad in my lap, the Smart Cover being the perfect solution for those of us who want to get the iPad naked as quickly as possible.
  • The zip case has a much more straight forward purpose; to protect the whole iPad when it’s being carried in a bag, or transported in a vehicle.
Attaching the Smart Cover.

Attaching the Smart Cover.

I won’t talk much more about the Smart Cover as I gave it a thorough review only a few weeks ago, suffice to say that I really do like it, despite its flaws (#1 being the cost). I have found that these two solutions cover almost every situation I have experienced with my iPad, but recently have found an annoying exception; standing the iPad in portrait (for use on a music stand).

Neither of my cases allows for this whatsoever, which got me considering another case purchase. I balked at the thought and decided that it could handle this one task without a cover, after doing a brief risk assessment.

The interesting thing here, as highlighted by the poll comments, is that people (who read AppStorm) often have at least two cases, if not three or more. It does strike me as strange that there isn’t yet a single solution for the iPad that solves almost everyone’s usage scenarios.


The fact is that the iPad offers the user a significant degree of choice when it comes to how you use it. This choice has given rise to the vast array of case options that we are now presented with. You may often lecture from your iPad, or type regularly, or read on the train, or watch films, or all of the above. A vast array of cases have arisen to fill a perceived need.

The effortlessly smart DODOcase for iPad 2.

The effortlessly smart DODOcase for iPad 2.

Unlike most other technological devices the iPad even allows you to choose the orientation you’d like, are you a portrait or a landscape person?

Even when compared to the iPhone the choices are overwhelming; iPhone cases are almost always a simple attempt to protect the back while adding some personal flair to the device.

The most commonly used case in the poll was the folio case, with the iPad skin case coming a respectable second. I can certainly understand the widespread adoption of the folio case as the standard, at least amongst the discerning AppStorm readership, it gives a good degree of protection while also providing support and acting as a stand. The only downside being that it’s potentially fiddly to get the iPad out, meaning that the case is a permanent feature.

My personal hesitation to adopt a folio case or iPad skin belies a simple issue I have with those cases. I love the design and feel of the iPad without a case too much to hide it away in normal use. Perhaps shockingly, I have never even considered a case for my iPhone – and it hasn’t backfired on me yet…

Your Thoughts

Perhaps the very nature of the iPad means that there will never be a single solution the fits everyone, maybe it’s too diverse in its scope to be tied to a single accessory. If you err on the side of protection I can see the folio solution being the way to go (and you can get some rather delicious ones), whereas if you’re a fan of having the iPad out I can see the Smart Cover being an integral part of your solution.

Interesting the were a number of people who said that they didn’t use a case whatsoever, it’s certainly interesting that the iPad is never advertised as needing one – even the Smart Cover doesn’t feature in most of the television ads.

What are your thoughts on the iPad case dilemma? Will there ever be a single unified solution (I sound like a physicist)? What is the reasoning behind your case choices?

I has to be said that some of the cases available are simply stunning, I can feel myself being tempted at the mere thought of the DODOcase (it doesn’t even fold into a stand…). We sure have come a long way from the Apple iPad skin designed for the original iPad, what would you love to see in the future?

As a final thought I’d like to leave you with a picture of a very silly iPad accessory (it exceeds the definition of a case by some distance).

Yes, this is a jacket that has an iPad pouch built into the front...

Yes, this is a jacket that has an iPad pouch built into the front...

It costs $285.