The Orange View (on hiatus) Because Apple is great but it isn't perfect


The iPad2 smart cover is just plain dumb

There's been an awful lot of hooting and hollering about the amazing, magical "smart cover" Apple is selling with the iPad2. Well, I'm here to tell you the emperor has no clothes, Steve Job reality distortion field is in full effect and you should definitely skip the overpriced and flawed not-so-smart cover.

  • The leather on the front of the cover is low quality and stains easily. And the microfiber underside of the cover not only also stains easily but picks up bits of dirt when it's folded back to support the screen (see picture below) and then gets your screen dirty when you close it again. Bad design.
  • The smart cover doesn't protect the back of the iPad including the exposed camera lens so you need another cover or sleeve in any event. Bad design.
  • It's bulky and heavy because of the complex magnet hinges and so makes the iPad even less pleasant to hold in your hand when you fold it back. Bad design.
  • Who cares about instant on, especially if you have a PIN code set? Press any button and get instant on with no smart cover. Useless.
  • The automatically aligning magnets are the ultimate misdirection in a magician's tool bag. They solve a problem that only exists because of the smart cover -- they don't solve any problem people actually had with other covers. Bad design and useless.

stained cover Dirt gets on insider cover Dirt stuck on the inside cover

p.s. The iPad2 itself is a fantastic device -- a great upgrade of Apple's innovative and game-changing tablet. Just skip the dumb cover.


Posted by Aaron Pressman

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Comments (10) Trackbacks (1)
  1. Well, is hasn’t been my experience. I have an orange polyurethane smart cover and it works well. It’s quite good. I sewed my own slipcase and slip the iPad into the case whenever I’m transporting it.

    • I recently purchased an iPad 2 64GB wiFi+3G and really proud of it. I bought smrt cover also, but sometimes the screen is bit flickering and showing different colour shades when placed over the smart cover.. May be becoz of the magnet inside the “Smart” Cover? Anybody faced any problem like this?

  2. I think it’s a great design, but if it doesn’t suit you there are plenty of other covers available.

    > Press any button and get instant on
    > with no smart cover

    Actually the “instant on” feature eliminates 2 steps — pressing a button, and then using the “slide to unlock” sweep.

  3. You sound like you’re about 12, spill your breakfast milk over the cover, drop doughnuts on the screen, smear it around with sticky fingers then just close it up again?
    I’ve heard some say that the iPad is a toy, but really…..?

  4. 1. Correct – picking up dirt and transferring it to the screen is bad design.

    2. Incorrect – no everyone wants the back protected, so excluding that feature is not bad design. If you want back protection, don’t buy the Smart Cover.

    3. Correct – adding weight and bulk is bad design. But the Smart Cover adds less weight and less bulk than almost every other iPad 2 cover, so this criticism cannot be used to determine with cover (if any) to buy.

    4. Incorrect. Instant on is not useless as it does save one button press. It may be minor, but not useless.

    5. Incorrect. The magnets solve the problem of how to bind the cover to the iPad. Other covers solve this by snapping on, sliding over, or enclosing the iPad.

  5. 1. Wrong – as in “You’re doing it wrong”: fold the cover in half (the magnets hold it shut like that) and fold it behind the iPad – provides grip to hold it, still leaves the camera clear, and – crucially – doesn’t leave the soft inner cover exposed.

    2. Meh – I don’t have a cover on my MacBook Air – the aluminium is pretty robust, and the metal builds up a pleasing patina over time.

    3. Meh – as discussed above, the Smart cover is the thinnest, lightest solution so far.

    4. Wrong – as discussed, it’s quicker and more intuitive.

    5. Wrong – the magnets on the iPad can be used by other cover manufacturers as well.

    My actual problem with the smart cover is that the leather versions really need oiling for protection. I use Neatfoot oil on mine.

  6. I got the cover and it’s not really bad at all. Of course the only issue is I don’t have any back protection, but there’s some companies that are about to ship “Smart Cover compatible protection. Thus, no worries.

  7. I love the Smart Cover. Have none of the issues you mention, tho as a vegetarian I choose not to buy leather covers. It saved my iPad in a drop, and earned even more respect from me. I am surprised, actually, how well it works and how much I like it.

  8. I don’t know if the cover is useful or not but it is a marvel of mechanical engineering. I’m pretty sure I could have been happy with the iPad 2 without the smart-cover that I bought but every time I use the cover, it makes me smile. Highly recommended as long as you don’t care if it is useful.