As we sat in the audience watching the iPad 2 launch, we were interested in its new features, but we had no strong desire to replace our original iPads with it. Until, that is, the Smart Cover was shown.
For us, this was reason enough to buy an iPad 2. It protected the iPad, stood it vertically for watching movies and lifted it to make it comfortable to type on. Best of all, it was attached gracefully with a clever system of magnets.
So when the new, smaller Smart Cover launched alongside the iPad mini, we assumed it would be as much of a must-buy as its big brother.
But no. The basic schtick is the same - magnetic attachment, rolling up to provide a stand for viewing and for typing - but the much-balyhooed new hinge design is less rigid and so less good. It's wobbly when in movie-viewing mode, especially when you tap at the top of the screen, and there's an irritating amount of jitter when you try to type on it in the flatter orientation.
Ultimately, it's still one of the better cases you can buy since it provides protection that is literally and figuratively flexible, and it attaches and detaches cleanly and elegantly. It's not, however, a worthy addition to the Smart Cover family.