• 01.25.12

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.



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.

About the author

Cliff is director of product innovation at Fast Company, founding editor of Co.Design, and former design editor at both Fast Company and Wired.