I’ve been trying Apple’s iPad 2 recently, complete with the official Smart Cover.
This was shown off at the launch event. It is meant to combine various features:
- Keep your screen safe from scratches
- Turn the iPad on and off when opened and closed
- Clean the iPad screen with its microfiber lining
- Form a support for the iPad for typing
- Form a stand for the iPad so you can use it as an expensive digital photo frame
Although a cover seems a simple thing, it seems the results of considerable design effort. It has a magnetic strip which attaches to the left long edge of the unit. The magnet is strong, the fit is perfectly snug, the iPad does turn on and off as advertised.
So what’s wrong? One issue is that unless you detach it completely, the cover is a nuisance when open. You can fold it round the back, but it slips and slides a bit as well as covering the rear camera. So you can detach it, but then you have to put it somewhere, and the magnetic strip is more fiddly to detach and re-attach than a simple slip-on cover.
More seriously, users have complained about several issues:
- Cover is too flimsy to offer good protection
- The close fit of the hinge lessens over a few weeks, presumably as the metal bends and stretches slightly
- The microfiber lining forms the base when used as a stand, so picks up dirt that then gets deposited on your screen
Some users say it it flops over when used as a stand, but I believe this is because they are folding it the wrong way. You must fold it against the grain, so the microfiber is on the outside. Otherwise, yes it flops.
My view: the Smart Cover makes a poor cover, but a great stand. Of course it is a huge price to pay for just a stand, but if you are using the iPad to watch BBC iPlayer, for example, the stand is perfect, much better than trying to prop it up somehow.
It is a terrible cover though. Bear that in mind before you buy.