Review: Official Apple iPad Case

From a company known for its cutting-edge design and attention to detail, we were expecting a lot from the Apple iPad Case ($40). Putting it through its paces, we found that it does has a few nice features like the fact that it doubles and that it adds minimal weight and thickness to the iPad. But a few flaws make the case an underwhelming value for the price, especially in light of the growing selection of cases available. Chief among those flaws are durability issues, ungainly looks, and an uncomfortable feel.

At first glance, the Apple iPad case appears to be a soft, silicone rubber case, and indeed the entire outer layer made of the material. But hidden underneath are three pieces of hard plastic that give the case shape and rigidity. There are two separate pieces of this hard plastic on the front panel that allow the case to be bent into a wedge-shaped stand, yet give the panel a flat, hard-cover look when in normal book-like use. Inside, a hard-plastic rim surrounds the iPad’s screen, helping to keep the iPad stable inside.

The case can double as a stand, supporting two different viewing angles. To create the stand, you fold the lid of the case back and insert the lip of the lid into a gap on the back of the case. This creates a wedge-shaped stand that can either be laid on a desk and viewed at a keyboard-like angle or rested precariously along the spine for a straight up-and-down picture frame view. We like that the case can function as a stand at all, but other cases offer many more viewing angles, and we’re not fans of the two limited angles the Apple case offers.

Another characteristic of the case we disliked was that it doesn’t feel nice to hold in the hand. The case’s surface has a dry unpleasant feel that, while improving grip, attracts dirt and becomes gritty after extended use. And, in perhaps its biggest design flaw, the case has sharp “fins” that stick out around the sides where the two sides of the case are molded together. The fins dig into your palms when holding the iPad, creating discomfort over time.

The case also suffers from durability issues. Just after a month of usage, our case took on a worn look most due to its ability to attract permanent oil stains that won’t wash off. Also contributing to the worn look is a crease in the front cover that allows it to turn into a stand and which gives the case a bent, warped look.

One issue we’ve discovered for iPad cases with front covers is that those covers can be bothersome when in use. They can flap about, or they can make the iPad uncomfortable to hold if tucked behind. Unfortunately, Apple’s iPad case lacks a way to secure the front cover, making it occasionally a hassle to do deal with if you move around with the iPad or switch the position of your hands.

One area that Apple got right is accessibility—and we would hope so, since they had access to the iPad months before anyone else. When on, the case doesn’t hinder use of the iPad. There are large openings for the headphone jack, sleep button, docking port, and volume and orientation lock controls. Only access to the volume controls suffers a bit, as the “fin” edge we described earlier blocks your finger as you attempt to press down, requiring you to use more pressure.

The case is merely average in the area of protection, as the silicone of the case is too thin to take on much impact from an accidental drop. The silicone fins described earlier do offer some nice shock absorption should the case land along the edges, however. And the case does provide some protection from everyday wear and tear (scratches).

The case does have at least one nice design touch. The interior of the right side is lined with a soft microfiber material that prevents the case from scratching up the back of the iPad.


While not a complete disaster, Apple’s official iPad Case ($40<) suffers from lackluster design, poor choice of materials, and durability issues that overshadow some nice features. With cheaper, better alternatives out there, we recommend looking elsewhere. We assign it a rating of 6.8 out of 10, average.


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