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.
- iLounge Weekly comes out Monday, subscribe now
- Verizon to allow users to opt out of web tracking ‘supercookies’
- Apple releases iTunes 12.1 update, adds Notification Center widget
- Chinese Government may require Apple to build ‘back door’ into iPhones
- Notes from Apple’s Q1 2015 earnings call
- Cook: Apple Watch shipping in April
- Apple Q1 2015: Record $74.6B revenue, 74.5M iPhones, 24.4M iPads
- Apple Pay support coming to more vending machines, kiosks, parking meters
- Apple releases iOS 8.1.3
- Apple TV adds 120 Sports channel
- RooCase ORB Tablet System
- Harman Kardon Soho Wireless Headphones
- Odoyo Power+Shell EX Rechargeable Battery Case for iPhone 6
- Patriot Memory Fuel iON Magnetic Charging Case with Charging Pad for iPhone 6
- Lenmar Maven Battery Case for iPhone 6
- STM Studio for iPad Air 2
- VSN Mobil V.360 Camera
- Booq Booqpad for iPad Air 2
- Incipio offGRID Express for iPhone 6
- Incipio Tuxen for iPad Air 2
- How do I turn off Reachability on the iPhone 6 Plus?
- How do I get a phone number on iMessage?
- Can I share in-app subscriptions among family members?
- Can I cancel or ‘unsend’ sent iMessages?
- Ten Things You Didn’t Know About Apple’s HomeKit
- Reorganizing files in the iTunes Media Folder
- Exchange text messages between two iPhones with no cellular data plan
- The Booths of the iProducts Marketplace at CES 2015
- Hands-on with CarPlay at CES 2015
- iLounge announces its CES 2015 Best of Show Awards