When Apple unveiled the iPad 2, they launched the Smart Cover. The hinge snapped on magnetically to the left side of the iPad in portrait mode, and it hugged the glass front with its microfibre lining. Because of magnets in both the cover and the iPad, the device knows when it is shut or open, and can sleep or wake the screen when applicable. It was enough of a success that when the next iPad launched, the smart cover remained.

I have used Smart Covers daily since the launch of the iPad 2, and I even bought another one for my third generation iPad earlier this year. I like almost every aspect of it: It’s easy to apply and remove, it protects the screen, it works as a decent stand in two different positions, and it is useful for cleaning the screen. Unfortunately, there are some issues with the cover that slowly drove me nutty. While the magnetic hinge is strong, it isn’t quite strong enough to keep it attached if the iPad is in a book bag or tote with other items. It doesn’t protect the back, and it actually inhibits most cases from filling that role. Luckily, Apple has iterated on the product this month, and released the Smart Case.

This snazzy case combines the concept of the Smart Cover with a polyurethane slip case that wraps around the entire body of the iPad. No need to attach it with a hinge — it’s all one piece. It’s fairly easy to slip the iPad in and out, but it fits securely. Well, the third generation iPad at least. Since the iPad 2 is a bit slimmer, your mileage may vary. The case itself has openings for the dock connector, the side toggle, the back camera, the mic, and the earphone jack. The sleep/wake button and the volume rocker are covered by designated nooks and crannies that allow easy access. All of this is crystal clear in Apple’s product photography, and was poorly lit and unworkable in my failed attempts at replicating them.

After a few days of heavy use, I’m incredibly pleased with the case. In fact, I wish this had been released instead of the Smart Cover last year. It stays put, and it looks great. I’m very happy with my purchase.

The case is available in light grey, dark grey, light blue, light green, pink, and red. All of them are available for $49.00 USD at the Apple Store. If you like the Smart Cover, but want something a little more secure and protective, this is a no-brainer.

Image Credit: Apple

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