For those anxiously awaiting, today’s the day the new Astropad 2.0 is being released. Some improvements:
The Liquid engine, developed by Astropad, is now 3x faster and the company has managed to lower the pixelation by a while lot. The polling rate is much faster to correct issues with latency and improve images. It’s also now using way less memory so you can work longer and not run down your power so quickly. The pressure curve has been improved. Gestures are now available on more programs., including ArtRage, Clip Studio Paint, Mischief, Affinity Designer and Photo, Lightroom, and Sketcbook. You can now auto-hide the cursor. And, the UI has been given an overhaul.
Astropad turns your iPad or iPad Pro into a Cintiq-like input device and allows you to use any programs that are on your Mac. It’s available at the iTunes store. For OSX only.
As if I didn’t feel old enough already, the iPad Pro 2 is already in the rumor mill. Those in the know say it may be announced or even launched in Fall 2016–remember, the 9.7-inch iPad Pro just came out in March 2016. It’s more likely that said iPad Pro 2 will come out in the spring of 2017.
(This concept video was NOT made by Apple, but by someone just guessing that the new device will have stuff like up to 1TB memory and different colors of Apple Pencil. Nice thought. But we really don’t know.)
True Tone display
Likely, the iPad Pro 2 (if it follows Apple’s naming traditions, that’s what it would be called) will have the True Tone display that’s already in the 9.7″ version. True Tone is an adaptive display that adjusts white balance, making it easier to read text in different lighting as well as easier to see the screen in sunlight.
The iPad Pro 9.7″ has a wide color gamut with extreme color accuracy. The 12.9″ iPad Pro display is nearly as good, but not quite, and doesn’t now have, nor support, True Tone. (I still favor the larger size for drawing in spite of this, but am hoping the iPad Pro 2 will let us have our True Tone and eat it too).
Drawing on iPad Pro with Apple Pencil, Sketchbook Pro app
The iPad Pro does not have 3D touch, though iPhone 6S and 6S Plus already have it. So there’s a good chance Apple will add it to the iPad Pro 2, just to give us something to look forward to.
3D touch is a sensor in the touch screen that will cause different things to happen depending how hard you press on the screen. This works differently in different apps–for instance, you might tap lightly to see a photo but harder to open the photo app.
It would be nice if instead of 32GB, 128G was the base model, or at least 64GB. 32GB is not enough for most consumers; maybe it’s aimed at workplaces where employees don’t add a lot of apps or files.
If you’re interested, here’s a writeup on Ars Technica on the beta version of iOS 10.
Somehow I doubt Apple will add an SD card slot, but a girl can dream.
A smaller, 9.7″ iPad Pro with Apple Pencil is has been announced. Apple gave the word in a March, 21 2016 presser, along with its new iPhone 5se and some new Apple Watch bands. This smaller sibling sports nearly the same specs, such as the fast A9X processor and as much storage as the original 12.9″ iPad Pro, and supports the Apple Pencil (yay!) It also gets a Smart Keyboard accessory. The smaller iPad Pro is less expensive than the larger one, and easier to carry. This looks to be replacing the iPad Air line and we’re grateful it’s getting the whole Pro treatment.
Duet Display turns iPad into a “Cintiq” for Mac or Windows
Like the Astropad app, Duet Display is an app, created by former Apple engineers, that turns your iPad or iPhone into an input device or second monitor, and it’s now made for both Mac and PC. It works without lag because uses a USB connection rather than Wi-fi. (you can use your Lightning Connector to USB).
First, you download it to your Mac or Windows PC from the Duet Display site, then go to the iTunes store to download the app for iPad. It works with all iPads running iOS7 and up, and all Mac and Windows computers (laptops and desktops) running OS X 10.9 or Windows 7 and later (though I have written them to get clarification on whether it’s OK for Windows 10 as their site says 8.1, so I will update this post after I hear back). Apparently, using a Retina MacBook with it can spike CPU usage.
You can still use graphics tablets and Cintiqs attached to the computer at the same time.
With the Duet, the iPad still won’t give you pressure sensitivity or palm rejection unless you use certain drawing styluses and apps; these use Bluetooth.
iPad Pro review: the Pencil is mightier than the stylus
by Tablets for Artists
12.9″ (diagonal) Retina display, LED backlit, multitouch
4GB RAM, 32 GB and 128 GB models (memory not upgradeable)
Wi-fi and cellular models. Wifi superior to regular iPad
Resolution: 2732 x 2048 (5.6 million pixels, 264 ppi)
Colors: silver with white faceplate, gold with white faceplate, Space Gray with black faceplate
Adjustable refresh rate increases speed
A9X chip with 64‑bit architecture, fast enough to edit 4K video
Speakers directly in unibody enclosure; four hi-fi speakers
Magnetic connector connects keyboard and other accessories
Sound adjusts according to tilt
Update: Additional info about the 9.7″ iPad Pro further down the page. The main advance of the smaller one is the display.
The first thing I noticed about the iPad Pro was how much lighter it feels than it looks. It’s rail-thin, but has a sturdy build. The screen real estate is generous, giving 78% more space than the iPad Air 2, and there’s enough bezel to let you hold the tablet by it. I like the subtle silver trim, a bit of tinsel for the holiday-season release. There’s even a matching silver band near the charger end of the Pencil.
You can keep the screen print-free by using the Apple Pencil, whose sleek, white surface brings to mind a pipette. I’ve always found inspiration in the sight and smell of worn graphite nubs with their flaking ochre paint. But this colorless, plastic implement feels just familiar enough, and its blankness begs you to add color and life. Whereas the MacBook had a pressure-sensitive, Touch Force touchpad, the iPad Pro put that into the screen, and integrated it with the Pencil. It brings to mind Steve Jobs’ pronouncement: “Design is not just what it looks like and feels like. Design is how it works.” (I think we can move past his anti-stylus stance at this point). But for all the great design, it isn’t a complete artist’s paradise, as we will see.
The Pro’s size is the main difference from an ordinary iPad tablet. It’s a heck of a lot faster, too, with performance rivaling many desktop computers, both Apple and PC. It has a powerful graphics and adjustable screen refresh rate, which lengthens battery life. The high-res retina display screen has great color and is sharp as can be. You could probably find a needle in a photo of a haystack.
At about a pound and a half, it’s light enough on its own to carry around easily, but not that comfy to hold in one hand, or hold up to read in bed. The size requires a bag big enough to hold a laptop. And after adding a protective hard cover and keyboard, you end up with as much weight as a laptop.
Drawing with the Apple Pencil
Apple Pencil. (Click image to see it at Amazon)
Apple Smart Keyboard keys
The long, elegant Pencil, powered by Bluetooth, has terrific accuracy. There’s no parallax or jagged lines around the edge, no skips or stepped lines. The processor uses Force Touch to provide pressure sensitivity. Tilt and rotation feel natural. You even draw using the Pencil with the tip on its side to do shading. The line is quite soft and natural looking, like a 4B pencil. It’s the best stylus for drawing that there is. Kudos to Apple for continuing to innovate.
Soft, natural-looking pencil lines
Below are lines and shading done with the tip and then, going toward the bottom right corner, with the side of the Apple Pencil.
Palm rejection works well, unless you put several fingers down at the same time, then it gets confused, but that’s to be expected.
In keeping with the minimalist creed, there are no buttons on the Pencil, and no eraser–a cap covers the non-drawing end, and you take off the cap to plug in the Pencil to charge it. There aren’t settings for the Pencil, you just pair it with Bluetooth and that’s it.
The Pencil is comfortable to hold, though I think it could feel heavy after drawing for long periods. One neat thing is that you can grip the pencil near the non-tip end and use some wrist action to draw loosely, as you might with a charcoal pencil. This is made possible by the shape of the tip, and the weight helps. Because a fair amount of the tip can leave marks, the Apple Pencil reminds me a bit of a woodless graphite pencil, which I enjoy using in my non-digital time.
Some of the brushes took time to settle into a shape slightly different from what I’d drawn, as if to impart the effect of liquid ink. There was no such delay or change using the Pencil for pencil lines.
There’s no “tooth”; the glass screen is slick. The Pencil’s tip has a hint of cushioning but is pretty hard. It’s difficult to say if or how much the tips will wear down. So far, Apple is not selling replacement tips. If it shows signs of wear, you can rotate it while drawing to keep it sharp, as artists often do with graphite pencils.
One annoyance is that there’s no way to attach the Pencil to the iPad Pro. There’s no pen loop, USB holder, slot, or magnet, as on the Microsoft’s Surface Pro 4. There’s no ridge to stop it from rolling should the iPad be resting at an angle. You gotta have a plan for that.
Worse, the little cap that covers the charger can easily get lost, leaving the charger vulnerable. It would be nice if the cap could fit over the pencil end while the pencil is charging, but it doesn’t.
Is that a charger cap in your hand, or an aspirin for when you lose it?
You can’t use the Apple Pencil on other iPads, only the Pro. Bluetooth styluses and keyboards will still work; the Pencil pairs with the iPad Pro via Bluetooth.
You can draw with the side of the tip of the Pencil. Drawing at a less sideways angle with the Pencil brought better and more realistic results. Drawing directly with the side didn’t look so much like a pencil mark as a soft, spongy brush or big crayon.
This dog is practically drooling over the Lightning Connector.
You can use your finger to make playful marks while also using the Pencil.
My handwriting looked pretty natural, but it felt like a bit more effort to write, and when writing in cursive the letters flattened out a little. That doesn’t happen with Wacom.
You can put your John Hancock onto documents.
In the Notes app, you can pull up a virtual clear plastic ruler and move it around with the Pencil or your fingers, and use it to draw straight edges. Very cool, and useful for drafting. You can use apps that have layers, such as Sketchbook Pro.
You can only use apps, not full desktop programs. There’s no easy way to access your files to open them in different apps, and, annoyingly, no central way of saving them.
Here is a video with Jony Ive, chief Apple designer, showing the Apple Pencil.
Display: 12.9″ iPad Pro vs. 9.7″ iPad Pro
The gorilla glass is pretty slick, and the Pencil slides across it, but it isn’t as slippery as some screens. Colors look great.
Both the larger and smaller iPad Pros cover and slightly exceed the whole sRGB gamut. The 12.9″ iPad Pro has excellent color accuracy, and the 9.7″ very good, with a very bright screen, about 430 nits. The larger Pro is less bright, at about 375 nits. The smaller one, though, has TrueTone color, which adapts itself to your surroundings, and is supposed to emulate paper. Don’t worry, you can disable TrueTone in the settings if you want.)
It also uses a second color gamut, the DCI-P3 Wide Color Gamut. That’s what’s used in 4K UHD TVs as well as digital cinema. It also has Night Shift, which takes out the blue light that keeps you up (similar to fl.ux, a free Windows app). The smaller iPad Pro has virtually perfect color accuracy.
So is the amazing screen a reason to choose the smaller one? Maybe, but I still prefer the larger screen. Hopefully Apple will make the next version of the larger one with an equally great display.
Now instead of just charging your iPad, the Lightning Connector is bidirectional–it can give, and take, power. On the iPad Pro, it serves to not only charge the device, but to connect a keyboard and charge the Apple Pencil.
The Pro has 10 hours of battery life, and the Pencil lastsfor 12 hours on a full charge. And charging the Pencil for just 15 seconds, a deed akin to sharpening a wooden pencil, gives you 30 more minutes of drawing.
The charging port is on the side of the iPad Pro, so that the Pencil point sticks out at a perpendicular angle into the air–so be a little careful in crowded coffee shops.
The iPad Pro pushes pressure-sensitive tablets into the mainstream. Some users are finding that it substitutes for a laptop and a tablet, while some who already have a laptop and tablet can’t find much use for it and think the size is awkward. It wears many hats (caps?)–people are using it as a TV, a newspaper, ebook reader, a way to get work done on planes, trains, and buses, and a not-the-most-efficient laptop once you connect a keyboard. One iPad Pro review by an attorney praised it for saving a lot of paper, as you can pull up and sign PDFs so easily. It is ideal for paperwork. Professional artists doing an iPad Pro review seem to pretty much agree that it’s a sketchbook, not a substitute for a computer with desktop apps. Using the Apple Pencil for drawing is a hit with most people. Many iPad Pro and Apple Pencil reviews rave that the Pencil beats Cintiq pens. I do agree that it gives a new level to the digital drawing experience, and is fun as well.
Pencil has excellent accuracy
Tilt and rotation sensitivity, including using the side of the tip
Excellent palm rejection
Good for note-taking
4:3 aspect ratio
Good for tasks such as signing documents, dealing with PDFs–can replace a lot of paper
Not that many apps that take advantage of the Pencil (this will undoubtedly change)
Cost of device and of Apple Pencil
No way to tether Pencil to the iPad, or the end cap to the Pencil
Lack of eraser tip
OS doesn’t allow for convenient file management
Cannot use full programs such as Photoshop
no USB port
No SD card slot; storage not upgradeable
Can’t use mouse or touchpad
Apple Pencil. Click image to see at Best Buy
Apple Smart Keyboard. Click image to see at Best Buy
Is the iPad Pro a substitute for a laptop? Not really. Even using the iPad Pro with a keyboard is limiting. The keyboards for it can’t provide touchpads, you can’t use a mouse, and you can’t adjust the angle of the screen.
Is it a substitute for a Cintiq? Not really. You can only use apps with the iPad Pro, pressure sensitivity is app-dependent. The Pencil is not the issue here, nor is the screen. It does supply more of an “experience,” and solves the small, irritating issues with lines that affect Wacom, N-trig and other digitizers. But the OS is limiting. You can’t use full Photoshop or Illustrator or do efficient file management.
On the positive side, I think anyone could pick this up and intuitively go with the flow, just draw, without any learning curve, and that’s motivating. Drawing could get pretty addictive, especially with the ability to share the drawings so easily. Even the Wacom Cintiq 6D art pen doesn’t perform the side-shading feat. Beginning or hobby artists would love this, and professional artists would enjoy it as a very cool-looking digital sketchbook. I have no doubt it will be popular.
Apple hasn’t deigned to tell us how many levels of pressure sensitivity there are. Guess we shouldn’t worry our pretty little heads about it.
If you’re looking for a less expensive digital sketchbook, we recommend the Samsung Galaxy Tab A 9.7″ with S Pen, an Android tablet with a Wacom digitizer. While it’s not high-resolution, it offers a lot for the price. The Toshiba dynaPad, a mobile Windows 10 tablet, is also one to consider if you’re seeking a portable sketchbook.
The Surface Pro 4 is probably the main competition to the iPad Pro as far as non-art issues; the Pro 4 will let you use Photoshop.
If you’re looking for a handmade iPad Pro case that with an amazing set of positions, read our post about the FlipSteady.
Well, the big day is here. Apple is releasing the iPad Pro, with a larger screen and features like multitasking is here! It will have more speed as well as features like multitasking and a split screen, similar to Android tablets such as the Galaxy Note. The iPad Pro will have a 12.9-inch diagonal screen with 5.6 million pixels. Now that’s resolution! It will start at $799.
Here’s a look at the new, $99 Apple Pencil Stylus.
Besides regular iPads, it works with the iPad Pro with the Apple Pencil.
If you use an iPad Pro, you’re getting a lot of the functionality of a Cintiq, though it doesn’t do all the same things.
It would be nice if Apple itself made more iPad and Mac compatibility, but it took the Astropad developers, who run an independent studio, to do it. Perhaps next comes a way of hooking up Android tablets.
You can download a 7-day trial from the Apple store.
Duet Display is an iPad app that’s similar but works with both Windows and Mac.
The best rugged iPad case should be something you only need to buy once. These types of cases are the most protective. Some are military grade. Some are waterproof. Some have keyboards. Some seal the tablet in a hard, tank-like shell, while others buffer it with bouncy material. Most are drop-proof to a certain height. Some come with screen protectors that keep liquids from seeping in. A durable iPad case is a good choice for families with kids, or any active adult.
These are five of the top rugged iPad cases out there, selected for their high quality, features, and user praise.
For pointers on what to look for in a rugged case, please read our article.
Griffin GB35108 Survivor Extreme-duty Military Case for iPad 2, 3, 4 (4 is also called 3S)
This military-grade Griffin Survivor iPad 1,2, and 3 case might be the best rugged iPad case for you if you work out in the field, on a dusty construction or sports site, take photos out out in the elements, or have kiddies who spill milk onto the screen. It’s waterproof and dustproof.
The Griffin’s hard polycarbonate frame is surrounded by robust, soft silicone, protecting it from shocks and vibrations. The silicone’s inside has a relief waffle pattern that adds air cushioning, and the back has a tread design that provides additional padding against drops. A built-in screen protector protects the screen from dust, wind, and rain.
Raised silicone edges provide a buffer if you drop the tablet directly onto its screen, but the screen could still be damaged depending on the fall. A sleeve would provide additional protection.
The included small workstand clips cleverly onto the case. You can take off the stand and unfold it so that it will hold the iPad in different positions (only in landscape mode).
The silicone surroundings have hinged plugs that cover the iPad’s ports, connector, and lens. A clever indentation in the silicone lets you keep the rear-facing camera port open as long as you wish by “buttoning” it down.
This durable, rugged, waterproof case adds almost a pound to your iPad.
A popular choice for the best rugged iPad mini case is the Lifeproof Fre. It protects against dirt, snow, water, and drops. It’s waterproof for an hour up to 6.6 feet (2 meters) and drop-proof for up to 4 feet, by military standards.
The Fre’s transparent back shows off the Apple logo. The rubber around the case makes it grippable and provides padding for the edges and a little buffer in case the iPad falls on its screen. It it does not provide thorough screen protection, so as with any case that leaves the screen exposed or with just a thin screen protector, you might want to get a sleeve as well. The Fre comes with a super thin, clear screen protector as well as a removable shoulder strap.
All the ports, controls, and buttons are accessible. Its sound-enhancing features make the iPad even more enjoyable for listening to music. The case has an anti-reflective optical glass lens for the camera, so it won’t distort or blur your photos and videos.
The description on Amazon is vague about which models this case is for, so we checked with Lifeproof and it is for the iPad 1, 2, and 3. It plays well with retina and the iPad mini 3 touch ID.
Lifeproof’s customer service is prompt and replaces cases if anything goes wrong.
Weightwise, the case is barely there–just 130 grams. If you want something non-bulky, this might be the best rugged iPad case for the way you roll.
The Fintie Casebot Tuatera Series Uni-body Hybrid Case for iPad Air 2 (iPad6)
Made of hard polycarbonate plastic, the affordable Tuatara protects the iPad3 on all sides, encasing it in a reptile-like hard shell. It has a built-in screen protector with good sensitivity. Under the polycarbonate is a layer of TPU, thermoplastic polyurethane. TPU is like a soft plastic. It’s far less flexible than silicone, but it doesn’t pick up dirt, lint, and oils the way silicone can, and it’s easy to clean.
This case is easy to put the iPad into. It is shock-resistant (but not military-grade), and its internal grooves and “air padding” help regulate heat and moisture. It is light and not bulky. It will not interfere with the iPad Air 2’s ambient light sensor or Touch ID. The camera and port cutouts line up well. The screen protector will protect somewhat from liquids and dusts, but not from drops
This is inexpensive, so we’ve picked it as an best rugged iPad case that’s competitive with more expensive cases, and a good choice for families with kids.
Gumdrop Drop Series – Military Edition, for iPad5 (iPad Air)
Gumdrop Drop Series Military Edition iPad 5has more protection for the iPad5 (also known as iPad Air, the first model) than the regular Gumdrop cases, which are also rugged, but this one is even more so. This one is made of silicone and hard polycarbonate, with the soft silicone on the outside. The corner bumpers are reinforced. There is a protective ring around the iPad camera. The screen protector is removable in this military edition.
The case is not waterproof. It does not come with a stand, making it lighter than the Griffin models that have stands. All ports and buttons are covered. This case has had oil hand-applied to the silicone outer layer to make it repel dust.
Gumdrop cases command loyal fans. Some just love the look and feel of them. Gumdrop’s siliconized rubber bumper surrounds the whole iPad and raises a bit more cushion for direct screen drops than some other rugged cases (still, try not to drop the iPad onto its screen).
The rubber covers the whole back and protects all the ports, but they are still easily accessible. A hard internal plate protects the iPad from drops up to 6 feet. The attractive, sporty, tire-like tread texture makes the case fun to hold and gives it a no-slip grip. The rubber does produce a bit of static that picks up dust.
The Gumdrop is pretty easy to install–you have to push down on the rubber all around the iPad, rather than just snapping the Ipad into the case, but it’s simple. A Gumdrop may be one of the best rugged iPad cases if you have kids.
If you want a durable, but not military-grade, iPad with a stand, try the Gumdrop Custom Hideaway with Stand. This is a good case for kids and has a “fun” look and feel. It’s not quite as protected as the military one, but it’s still very durable and has most of the features.
Unfortunately, the iPad Air2’s light sensor is covered by this case, so auto-dimming will not work.
7 bright colors. Weight 1 lb.
See more reviews and info
ZAGG Rugged Folio Case: best rugged iPad case with a keyboard
If you’re looking for a really durable iPad case with a keyboard, this might be the ticket.
Like some other rugged cases, the Zagg Rugged Folio is made from layers of polycarbonate and soft silicone that will protect your iPad Air from drops. But the Zagg also features a stainless steel plate under the keyboard for more drop protection as well as a stable surface to type on.
Rubber runs around the edges when the case is closed, to keep out dirt and dust. The island/Chiclet-style keyboard attaches and detaches via strong magnetic hinge. It’s easy to detach the keyboard if you choose.
Some cases require a bit of gymnastics to take the iPad out and put it in, but this case is easy to install. The case is durable and protects from dust and dirt when closed, but if you’re in a windstorm while the case is open, dust could get into the keyboard. For most uses it’s fine.
It’s NOT waterproof; the iPad ports and buttons are not sealed inside the case. The case does not come with a screen protector, but you can add one.
My favorite part is the keyboard with its choice of dimness and lighting colors, making typing relaxing or stimulating as you wish.
The case takes four forms: Keyboard Mode, Case Mode, Video Mode, and Book Mode. In Keyboard Mode, your iPad becomes like a Mac laptop. You can open or close the cover to any angle for comfortable typing and viewing. In Case Mode, you can detach the keyboard and just use the case.
In Book and Video Modes, you can turn the screen on the hinge, so in Book Mode you have a slate, so you can read. You can re-attach the keyboard to the back while in Book Mode. In Video Mode, you look at the screen while the keyboard faces away from you (watch the video below to see all the modes).
The lithium polymer battery keeps the keyboard going for up to two years! There’s a battery monitor that lets you see the power left (1-4 lights go on). The keyboard charges via mini USB, but you can wait two years between charges.
The case is quite heavy at about a pound and a half, so with the iPad Air, about two and a half pounds, heavier than some laptops. It’s also not waterproof. But it’s very solid and makes your Air into a well-functioning laptop-tablet hybrid.
Despite it’s not being waterproof, this is very useful and versatile, and could just be the best rugged iPad case for the mini.
Finding the Best iPad Case, Part 2: What to Look for in a Rugged Case
by Tablets for Artists
“Let’s switch to FaceTime!”
IPads are used in the military for everything from logistics to chatting with family back home. IPads get knocked about in deserts, jungles, and Jeeps, in extreme dust, in freezing and hot temperatures, and they see action like few back home ever see. Many iPad cases for sale are made to military-grade standards.
But civilians have bumpy lives too. They travel. Their kids treat iPads like bouncing balls. And face it, everyone is a klutz at least some of the time. A military-grade case can be the best iPad casefor active people.
Companies have responded to the challenges the active lives of iPad owners by making tank-like containers that seal in the device so it’s snug as a bug. Some of these are waterproof or water-resistant, dust-proof and drop-proof to a certain height, and some have hand or shoulder straps. Not all rugged cases have everything. Try to think of features you can and can’t live without.
Before purchasing a rugged iPad case, consider:
Weight. How much weight does it add?
Screen clarity. Does it come with a screen protector that lets you use the screen? Does the screen protector protect from spills? Is it removable? Is it sensitive to your touch, or do you have to press hard to get it to work? Try pressing the buttons. Try it with a stylus.
Is it waterproof?Water-resistant?
Does it have a wake/sleep mechanism? Most covers have magnets that do this.
Holding it. Does it have handy features such as a belt that you could attach to a hand, arm, or leg? Not everyone would use this, but if you’re out in the field, or a teacher giving a talk who uses the iPad to refer to notes, this feature can be useful. Or maybe it has a shoulder strap?
Grip. Does the grip slip?
Stand. Does it have astand? Does it work in several positions and the two modes, portrait and landccape? Many stands are landscape-only.
If it has a built-in screen protector, can you still use your own, at the same time? Or as a replacement?
Protection. How is the padding, screen protection, corner protection?
Cutouts. all ports, plugs, and cameras accessible? Does the case protect the ports?
Mic. Is the mic blocked?
Appropriateness for your iPad. Is the ambient light sensor and retina functions working with the case, if they are supposed to?
Materials. Most cases are made from materials such as silicone, hard polycarbonate, or TPU (a soft plastic), rubber, or siliconized rubber. Some say silicone, though more flexible, can attract dust because it picks up electrical charges. TPU is harder but easier to clean. Pure rubber is natural. None of these are better in quality than the others, it’s just personal preference. Many durable, rugged cases combine hard and soft materials.
Fit. Is it easy to install and remove the iPad?
Features. Is there something you really need–a keyboard? Would it need to be built-in, or could you use a separate one? If you’re an artist, maybe the best iPad case for you has a notepad and pen loop.
Safety and wear and tear. Does it have little pieces that could break off? This is particularly important if you have children, as it could be a safety issue.
Price. Some are fairly expensive, but there are some affordable ones that work almost as well. The best iPad case for your lifestyle isn’t always the most costly one. A lot goes into these cases and getting the details right. Sometimes some batches will not fit iPads as well as others. In that case, using a company with good customer service will matter, in the event of a problem.
Customer Service: Is the manufacturer reputable and responsive?
Check to make sure which iPad model you have and that your case is right for this model. There can be subtle differences in iPads even if they almost the same.
CLEAN your iPad screen before putting it into a screen protector.
By considering all these points, whether you decide you need a rugged case or not, you can find the perfect iPad case for your life.
Artists take note: an iPad case with notepad and pen holder is a big draw
by Tablets for Artists
Nothing’s worse than forgetting a great idea, and sometimes the iPad isn’t charged. Worse yet, you’re digging in your bag for your stylus. Now there’s reason for hope. There are high-quality and affordable iPad cases with notepads, pen holders, or both.
First of all, make sure the case will fit your iPad.
Here’s how to check your iPad model number: Look at the very small type on the back of your iPad for these numbers.
iPad 1: A1219 or A1337; iPad 2: A1395, A1396, or A1397; iPad 3: A1416, A1430, or A1403; iPad 4: A1458, A1459, or A1460; iPad Mini: A1432, A1454, or A1455; iPad Mini with Retina: A1490; iPad Air: A1474 or A1475
While most pen loops will fit most styluses, some of the thicker styluses may be too large.
iPad cases with notepad and pen holder:
Grifiti Dootle iPad Air Folio Case for Ipad Air
This is an attractive and versatile iPad case with notepad and pen holder being the main draws, so to speak. We also like that the iPad bezel is exposed; it just looks nicer. The corners and sides are protected by an imitation-leather cover. The case is reversible and ambidextrous; you can set it up for right-handed or left-handed use by switching the positions of the iPad and Dootle Pad (as the notepad is called). It’s compatible with the Apple Smart Cover.
It comes with a 6 x 9″ combo ruled and grid Dootle Pad notepad that’s basically graph paper. Your stylus or pen (would be nice to have two loops, huh) will perched in a pen loop on the outside of the case. The sturdy back cover is form-fitting and cutouts allow access to all ports as well as the camera. The case also has a cover pocket for business cards, cash, or notes. The iPad secures to the case via good old Velcro. You can put your Apple Smart Cover inside this case if you wish.
It has a large outer slip pocket on the back into which you can put the doodles you’ve drawn on the Dootle pad, or anything else you want to put there. Since it’s on the outside, it’s not meant for things like cash or credit cards, though.
Cons–a little heavy and bulky, which makes sense as it has a notepad.
Here’s the version for the iPad mini 1, 2, and 3. Like the larger version, it’s also Apple Smart Cover Compatible.
The Booqpad for iPad mini is similar to the iPad Air, but comes with both a stylus holder and notepad, making this a great choice for those who scrawl in multimedia (digital and paper). The cover also has clever pockets for business cards, tickets, cash, what have you–you can hide them away. Like its larger cousin, it’s ambidextrous. The notepad is made with 30% soy ink. The paper notepad is 4-1/8th x 7-1/4th inches. You can find paper refills here on the Booqpad site–the notepad that says mini.
Cons: no wake/sleep; cover does not fold into a stand; no camera hole; pen loop caused problems for some, loosening the back flap when it had the pen in it and some didn’t like the way the pens fit. Seems this case is nice-looking, and most users loved it but some had some issues with it.
Solo Vintage Collection Colombian Leather Padfolio for iPad 1, 2, 3, 4
This Colombian leather, high-end folio case fits iPads 1-4. It has an unusual ziparound (zipper) closure. It’s sleek and luxurious, but ready for business. Inside it (there’s only a small photo) are a 5 x 8″ paper notepad, and pockets for business cards and other items–a mini-organizer. The gold stitching forms a nice contrast with the case’s warm espresso color. There’s also a pen holder on the inside. This case isn’t form- fitting, so can hold iPads 1-4.
Cons: Lacks a back camera hole.
A little bulky to put in a handbag, but great to carry the iPad around by itself.
iPad case with Bluetooth keyboard and space for notepad and pen
Kensington KeyFolio Executive Zipper Folio Case with Bluetooth Keyboard for iPad 4 Retina, iPad 3, iPad 2
You might not think of yourself as an executive, but artists are the CEO of their own businesses and lives. This case has it all–space for a notepad and stylus (you’ll have to supply your own) as well as a Bluetooth keyboard, all neatly zipped up. Accepts notepads up to 7.5″ x 9″. Cover folds into a stand with viewing angles from 20 to 70 degrees. You can access all ports and cameras with this cool case. I could see Don Draper with one of these, if he’s still in the biz.
The stylish, versatile Booqpad iPad case with notepad combines an inner, hard, magnetically attached polycarbonate shell with an outer, suedelike folio. It works for both left- and right-handed users (you’re going to have to turn the magnetic case upside-down to switch the notepad to the right side). Ports and cameras remain accessible at all times. The 50-page notebook is included, as are a screen film and cleaning cloth. Unlike the mini version, this has no pen loop. When closed, the notepad gives the iPad added protection. The cover folds to offer two viewing angles and a typing angle. The case can take standard 6 x 9″ refill pads, though the notepad it comes with is slightly smaller. You can find notepad refills here on the Booqpad site.
Don’t need a notepad with your iPad case, but want to carry your stylus with you? Here are some top choices:
iPad Air 2 Case Cover by FYY
Constructed with PU synthetic leather and featuring a handy exterior pen loop to hold a stylus, this handsome case folds into a stand with slots that give three viewing angles, all landscape orientation. Most of the iPad’s bezel is covered. Anti-skid interior doesn’t slip. It sports pockets for credit or business cards, a smaller pocket for a storage card, a longer pocket for cash or travelers cheques, and a handy hand strap to hold it sturdy. Features a sleep/wake function. All ports and cameras are accessible via carefully aligned cutouts. Shuts with Velcro. Comes in 8 bright colors.
Cons: a little bulky, weighs more than some cases; PU leather doesn’t always stand up to a lot of wear and tear over long periods.
Lifetime guarantee! This folio-style smart cover from Snugg comes in many colors and two patterns, Blue Denim and Digital Camo. It covers the iPad’s bezel but allows access to all ports and cameras. It’s made of Nubuck, which is real leather that has been buffed to resemble suede, but it’s more costly than suede. The workmanship and materials on this are high end. The cover opens into a kickstand that gives you a couple of viewing angles, both landscape.
The hand strap is ideal for using your iPad while standing, whether reading, writing/drawing, or giving a presentation.
The pen loop will keep that stylus from getting lost. Sleep/wake function keeps your iPad well rested.
Cons: Taking photos requires holding the cover flap up because there’s no cutout for the camera on the back.
This cute folio-style iPad mini case comes in 20 groovy, bright colors and patterns with appeal for teens, tweens, and anyone who would love an iPad case with animal print. It has a neat pen loop for a stylus. The case is vegan (all the non-leather ones are) with a sleep-wake function. The cover folds back into a stand in landscape orientation. The inside has soft microfiber lining that won’t scratch your iPad. The sides get protected and the bezel mostly covered. It’s easy to put the iPad into this Fintie case; simply insert it and close the Velcro flap. Though the back is not a polycarbonate shell, it’s quite sturdy and protective.
Cons: a few people had problems with the sleep/wake, but the vast majority did not.
KAVAJ iPad Air 2 “London” cognac brown leather case cover
This luxurious case of of London Cognac brown leather lined with soft flannel has a sleep/wake feature and a fancy pen holder. The cover folds out into a stand that offers two landscape viewing positions, one of them quite upright. Best of all, it comes with a Kavaj ink pen that doubles as a stylus. There is a hidden Velcro strap that secures the iPad. A wide interior pocket allows you to stash things made of paper. The case allows some of the iPad bezel to be exposed, which is a nice design feature.