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.

 
Well, it turned out that I “absolutely needed” an iPad case! Just as you wouldn't carry your laptop on a business trip without some sort of carrying case to keep it safe and portable, you don't want to be running around with a $800 piece of equipment loose and susceptible to bangs, scratches, drops, and other hazards. Here's why you need a case for your iPad:
 
Protection from scratches
 
Even if you keep really, really good care of your car, parking it in the corner of the lot, putting it in the garage at night, and waxing it once a month, it's still going to show wear and tear over time. Here's the scrape where the neighbor kid ran into you on his skateboard. Here's where a runaway shopping cart slammed into your door. And here's where your daughter decided black marker would be a great addition to your white paint job.
 
Face it; accidents happen, and unless you want to keep your iPad wrapped in tissue paper and locked in your office, you're going to expose it to some less than savory circumstances. That's why you want to invest in a sturdy case to protect it from the computing equivalents of your sedan.
 
Easy Portability
 
Let's say you skip the case. So where are you going to store your wireless keyboard, your power cord, and your notebook? Even a simple neoprene sleeve will allow you to keep everything together, and some portfolio-style cases come with keyboards built right in. And if you're storing your iPad in a larger tote bag or briefcase, the case or cover will make it easier to store and locate.
 
Easy Use
 
I use my iPad with a wireless keyboard, and I love having the case that flips open to create a stand. I can plop down my keyboard, flip open my iPad, and I've got a versatile, light mobile computing workplace. The same would be true if I wanted to watch a movie or read an e-book; the case allows me to use my iPad the way I want to.
 
Now that you know why you need an iPad case, let's look at the types available:
  •  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

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.

  • All-in-one

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

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.

 
Whether you're an on-the-go word processing Knicks fan, or a video-watching Paul Frank lover, you'll find a case to fit your taste and needs. The choices are limitless, so you are almost guaranteed to find a case that won't cramp your personal style.
 
 

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