Co.Design

Apple's New iPad 2 Boasts Brilliant Built-In Case

Cupertino makes a savvy move to steal back the lucrative market for iPad cases.

So the iPad 2 has just slipped from the hands of the immortal Steve Jobs, like a tablet from the very hand of Moses! And lo, it boasts improved speed, better memory, comes in black and white, and has a 33% slimmer body. But if you're a design nerd, you can forget all that: This thing is indeed sexier than the iPad 1, thanks to a very, very clever little case design that seems integrated into the tablet itself.

The sleeve, attached with a magnetic hinge, closes tight to the front of the iPad, thanks to more magnets. But then, it peels away to become a support for either typing mode or screen-viewing mode.

The covers will be $39 for a plastic version, and $69 for a leather version -- and, if you think this is a mere cosmetic change, think again. The iPad and iPhone peripheral markets are worth billions upon billions. Stealing that thunder and creating a high-margin peripheral ingeniously integrated with the device is a savvy business move. We bet that little case costs $1 or so to make, possibly making it the highest margin piece of plastic in the world.

iPad-Case

iPad-cases

And we're betting that Jobs and company saw the margins on those neoprene cases for iPad 1 -- which seemed at the time to be almost an afterthought -- and figured they better get in the act fast, rather than leave billions on the table for others to scoop up.

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