Welcome to an opinion piece about certain minor aspects of the iPad 2. I know, right, who’d think to write about that. This is my life, folks.

The Case Against the Case

I will admit I am mainly reacting to Marco Arment’s piece about Smart Covers. I don’t think he’s wrong on any count, but I disagree about some points, the way we disagree about the appeal of leather (I dislike its look, feel, and smell profoundly.)

Marco think the Smart Cover could make a great iPad case. Interesting choice of word. Here’s what I think a case should provide:

  • Impact protection somewhere between bump-the-corner and drop-from-four-feet
  • Scratch protection
  • Environmental protection of ports and openings from water, dust, particles, etc.
  • Carrying convenience

The Smart Cover provides only scratch protection to the screen, and only when the device isn’t actually in use. It may also protect against some forms of screen impact, but probably not a whole lot. As for carrying, it may well make it inconvenient.

Perhaps you’re looking for different things in a case, so the above isn’t a problem for you. I’ve been carrying and using my iPad 1 without a case of any sort for a year (other than a depressing week spent with the best-forgotten first case) so you could argue it’s not really a problem for me either. I think most electronics - phones, laptops, tablets, cameras - don’t need protective cases.

Now, all this said, I’m still getting a Smart Cover, because it appears to provide these features:

  • Stand functionality at two different, important angles - same idea as iPad 1, hopefully done better.
  • Differentiation by color and other aesthetic benefits - this may seem trite, but in a multi-iPad home and a mega-multi-iPad office, it’s handy.
  • Pleasure of use. Yeah, I went to a Liberal Arts school.

What iPad 2 Says About iPhone 5

If you’ve lasted this long, dear reader, perhaps I can alienate you now by stating that today, eight months after I first picked up my iPhone 4, I am more convinced than ever that its “Leica-camera-like” design is basically a misstep, one that will be corrected in a future redesign. The square sides were an aberration - I mean that in the technical sense of the word, a thing outside the norm - and will not be reused on further handheld products from Apple. The glass back is probably not long for this world either.

iPhone 5 would do well to learn from the iPad and the iPod touch - metal (or metal-like) back, curved body, plastic buttons. Here’s a mockup based on a (possibly bogus) rumor at MacRumors. I don’t know that this is what the design of the iPhone 5 will be, but I predict and wish it.

So, if that’s the case, what does a “Bumper 5” iPhone case look like?

Clearly it’s not a miniature version of the Smart Cover; that would be straight-up goofy. But the Smart Cover incorporates one clever idea Apple could reuse: Magnets, for seamless, stretchless, super-quick application and removal of the case. Is it terribly important to be able to snap the case off in a jiffy? Perhaps not, but that magical *click* would make for a great demo.