A Note On Smart Covers, Smart Cases + Third-Generation iPads
Over the last several days, we’ve been testing a variety of old and new cases with the third-generation iPad, and as we mentioned a few days ago, many—not all—iPad 2 cases continue to work with the new model. One of the two exceptions we noted was magnetic Smart Cover-like cases—ones with lids that were supposed to automatically lock and unlock the iPad’s screen. A small change by Apple means that some of the magnetic lids developed for the iPad 2 continue to work, while others don’t.
There’s still some confusion over what works and what doesn’t. While we wish we could clear this up entirely for everyone, the reality seems to be more complicated than any pithy summary could capture. Here’s what we’re seeing.
Contrary to claims that the original iPad Smart Cover (released alongside the iPad 2 in March 2011) doesn’t work or works inconsistently with the new iPad, we’ve tested both leather and plastic versions of that Smart Cover with multiple third-generation iPads, and both work reliably. There was a quiet, unexplained update in the middle of last year to the Smart Cover, and it’s possible that different batches of Smart Covers were made inconsistently, but the original Smart Covers seem to be just fine. Reports on Apple’s Support Communities Forum, however, suggest that some people are getting new Smart Covers that aren’t working with new iPads, which is obviously concerning.
Results with third-party cases for the iPad 2 and new iPad are all across the board. They are so inconsistent, in fact, that we’ve tested a “third-generation iPad” case in multiple colors that vary in performance by color. The black and brown versions we received for testing work just fine. Gray and red versions don’t work at all. Other cases we’ve tested seem to work or not work without regard to colors, but manufacturing for many companies is not entirely perfect, and sometimes varies from batch to batch.
We’ve already received a number of emails from case makers explaining that they’re aware of the problems and completely willing to replace cases for affected users. The issue has been traced to an iPad sensor that was reversed in polarity in the new model, causing some of the third-party magnet designs to fail—and possibly some of Apple’s, too.
Until the dust settles, it would be a good idea to hold off on buying Smart Cover-like accessories. We didn’t recommend the original versions because they were ridiculously overpriced, and there have subsequently been quite a few cases that have incorporated similar functionality with much better protection—Apple was reportedly working on an option of its own before the new iPad launched. Our expectation is that most of the issues will be resolved over the next several weeks, and that any company that has sold problematic cases will be glad to fix the issue for you. If that’s not your experience, let us know, and we’ll do what we can to help.
If you have a comment, news tip, advertising inquiry, or coverage request, a question about iPods or accessories, or if you sell or market products, read iLounge's Comments + Questions policies before posting, and fully identify yourself if you do. We will delete comments containing advertising, astroturfing, trolling, personal attacks, offensive language, or other objectionable content, then ban and/or publicly identify violators. Wondering why we're talking about something other than iPods? Check the Archives: Backstage has been here and kicking it since 2004.
- BBC investigative report claims Apple fails to protect Chinese workers
- Apple releases iOS 8.2 beta 3 to developers
- Tim Cook announces $20M raised for (PRODUCT)RED in internal e-mail
- Apple announces 64-bit and iOS 8 requirements for app updates
- Apple ordered to turn over records in Canadian iPhone antitrust probe
- Apple halts online sales in Russia
- Apple found not guilty in iPod, iTunes Store lock-in suit
- Apple Pay cards represent 90 percent of US credit purchase volume; Samsung readying rival service
- Apps of the Week: Microsoft’s MSN apps
- TwelveSouth releases BookBook for iPhone 6 and 6 Plus
- STM Dux for iPhone 6
- Kenu Stance Compact Tripod for iPhone
- SwitchEasy Boombox for iPhone 6
- STM Skinny Pro for iPad Air 2
- SwitchEasy Rave for iPhone 6, iPhone 6 Plus + Wrap for iPhone 6 Plus
- Dog & Bone Wetsuit for iPhone 6
- Belkin Qode Ultimate + Ultimate Pro Keyboard Cases for iPad Air 2
- Evollve Ozobot
- Skech Crystal for iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus, Hard Rubber + Ice for iPhone 6
- Uniq Transforma for iPad Air 2
- Last-Minute Holiday Gift Guide for 2014
- Instant Expert: Secrets & Features of iTunes 12
- Instant Expert: Secrets & Features of iOS 8.1
- An Easy Guide To Setting Up + Using Apple Pay In iOS 8.1
- Ten Things You Didn’t Know About iPad Air 2 + iPad mini 3
- Mind The Gap: What’s iPad’s Role In An iPhone 6 (Plus) World?
- Editorial: Why I Switched To T-Mobile (And You Might, Too)
- The Early Guide To Apple Watch Apps
- iLounge’s Top iPhone 6 + iPhone 6 Plus Case Picks (Fall 2014)
- Instant Expert: Secrets & Features of iOS 8.0