After purchasing an iPad, the last thing I wanted to do was to spend MORE money on add-ons and accessories. I figured I could do without the bells and whistles, and only purchase what I absolutely needed.
- Hard and soft shells
Shell cases are typically made of plastic, rubber, or metal, and act as a sheath around your iPad. They leave the screen exposed, so you'll want to make sure you apply a screen protector in addition to your shell. The main difference is that the hard shells are hard and slick, and the soft shells are rubbery and provide a bit more “grip.” They come in a huge variety of colors and styles, some with logos and cartoon characters. Which you choose is a matter of how you plan to use it, and personal preference.
Portfolio cases flip open to reveal your iPad. They are popular because they offer an added layer of protection for your screen. People also like portfolios that allow you to set them up as a landscape or portrait easel, so you view the screen in your selected orientation. Portfolios are typically made of real or imitation leather, and range widely in price.
An all-in-one case is great if you are using your iPad for a lot of word processing or email, as I do. The wireless keyboard is already integrated in the case, so it's one less thing to keep track of. These are also typically made from leather, but new styles are emerging all the time.
Sleeves are simply carrying cases that keep your iPad safe while in transit. Usually made of a neoprene or slightly cushiony material, the cases typically zip shut and provide safe transport on their own, or tucked inside a larger bag.