First Look: Speck CandyShell for iPad
Rarely does a week end these days with an unexpected and happy surprise, but Speck has delivered one in the form of CandyShell for the iPad ($50), a sequel to its award-winning series of cases for the iPhone 3G/3GS and iPod touch. Harkening back to the olden days of iPod accessory design, when Speck innovated one of the very first Apple Dock-compatible cases, CandyShell is the first case we've seen with a flap on the bottom that opens up to work with Apple's official iPad Dock and iPad Keyboard Dock; it uses a series of small holes to offer breathable protection for the iPad's speakers, and has a similar -- if not quite perfect -- hole on the top for the iPad's microphone. Button protection for the top and side is integrated into the hybrid glossy hard plastic and rubber case, which like its predecessors will quickly develop a patina from surface scratches; sadly, no screen protection is included in the otherwise impressive package. CandyShell is expected to be available in stores starting in May.
On May 13, 2010, iLounge published The Complete Guide to iPad Cases and Protection, a multi-page comparison of over 70 different iPad cases and film protectors, sorted by genre. The following details were added to this piece by that comparison article; please click on the link above for additional comparative discussion of similar protective options.
After a little tweaking, CandyShell became the best overall iPhone case we’d tested last year, and the iPod touch version is also excellent. The iPad case has one huge advantage over most of its rivals—play-through or otherwise—but also a related disadvantage. Speck’s design uses glossy and matte plastics to provide more body coverage than any other play-through case out there, including a mesh-like speaker grille, full button coverage, and a small headphone port hole; there’s no screen protection, a big miss for the price, but it’s otherwise great. The problem and asset are both in the Dock Connector area. A flap makes CandyShell the first completely compatible case with Apple’s iPad Dock and iPad Keyboard Dock, letting you flip a panel open to expose the Dock Connector whenever you need to do so—a novel feature. But every other thing you may want to connect requires you to open the flap, too, which is a pain. What we’d loved about the iPod and iPhone versions of CandyShell was that they were basically recommendable to everyone—they pretty much worked with everything. This one is highly recommendable to people who plan frequent use of Apple’s Docks, but less so otherwise. The price is pretty high considering the lack of screen protection, too.
Updated: In late July, 2010, Speck updated CandyShell for iPad with a few small tweaks. The new version (shown below in white) replaces the mesh-styled speaker grille at the bottom with three holes, the biggest change; it also very modestly increases the size of the headphone port hole at the top. Equally all but unnoticeable is a reduction in the size of the screen orientation switch hole on the side with a similarly tiny increase in the length of the volume button cover.