The iPad 3 is finally here. Whether the new retina screen is the killer feature that's persuaded you to buy, or you're upgrading from an older iPad, you'll want some protection for it. That's why you're here, of course.
So, without any further chit-chat, let's get to the point: which case, cover or sleeve should you buy? The new iPad is virtually identical to the iPad 2 (see our detailed comparison of the two), but it's fractionally thicker.
We've spoken to all of the case manufacturers featured here and some say their existing iPad 2 cases will fit, while others say they most definitely won't. Our advice is to be cautious of specific-fitting cases as there's no guarantee that it will fit properly, nor have a compatible camera cutout (the new iPad's camera lens is larger than the old one).
Rest assured that all the cases here DO fit the new iPad and we'll be adding more cases as they become available. Quite a few manufacturers haven't been able to get new iPads early enough to release new cases for the launch date and, with plenty of great new designs, be sure to bookmark this page and check back.
Brunswick England, £120
This all-leather folio should appeal to executives. It's well padded and adds plenty of protection. A fold in the rear allows it to function as a stand in two positions: one raised up for presentations, and a lower one that's still a little too high for typing. Folded back flat gives a shallow angle that's better for typing, but still not ideal.
Magnets in the cover turn your iPad on when you open it, but there's nothing to keep the cover shut. Magnets are meant to do the job, but they're simply not strong enough. All ports are accessible without removing the iPad from the case, though. The camera cutout is a touch too low, and left photos with a dark vignette at the top.
Also available in brown and cranberry.
Buy from: www.proporta.com
Griffin Elan Folio, £35
Folio cases are perhaps the most common choice for an iPad, and Griffin's Elan Folio is a stylish choice. It's available in a variety of designs, from colourful notebook-esque styles (the Cabana range) to those with a more demure, business look.
Built-in magnets wake the iPad when you open it, and put it to sleep when you close it. Inside is a soft lining to protect the screen, and there's an elastic loop for a stylus. The cover can be flipped back to turn it into a stand, either for watching videos in landscape mode, or typing with the rear raised slightly from the desk.
Buy from: www.johnlewis.com
Proporta Smart Recycled Leather, £40
If you want a real leather case, but don't want to pay a fortune, this recycled version could be ideal. The leather has a matt finish and looks slightly grey rather than black, but looks good. It's similar to Proporta's Leather Style range, which is the same price. However, this one doesn't covert into a stand. It's held shut by a popper and has a hessian lining with a pocket for A5 documents.
Although the camera cutout isn't quite in the right place, there was no vignetting. At the top right corner, a small tie keeps the front and back of the case together while still allowing access to the power and volume controls.
Buy from: www.proporta.com
Maroo Awanui Nylon Cover, £50
Attention-grabbing cases don't come much brighter than this: the Awanui's garish graffiti pattern is sure to get you, and your new iPad, noticed. The back is made from faux black leather, and it's a convincing look. We like the matching graffiti tab on the rear which the front slots into in order to turn the Awanui into a stand.
The blue suede lining provides a nice contrast, and there's a rubber insert which clamps the four corners of your iPad in place, providing protection at the same time. Inside the front cover are elastic corner straps to keep the Awanui closed, plus a couple of slots for business cards. As ever, there's a range of other designs to choose from. It isn't the cheapest, but we still like the Maroo.
Buy from: www.coversandcases.com
STM Skinny 3 for iPad 3rd generation
STM’s skinny range has been expanded to include the third-generation iPad. The Skinny 3 has a hard shell back, which the iPad clips securely into. The front is protected by flap, which can automatically wake your iPad. It also allows users to position the iPad in a typing position and a position ideal for FaceTime.
The micro-suede lining left us feeling confident that our iPad’s Retina display won’t be scratched, and there are cut-outs that allow access to all of the ports, buttons and functions including the camera. A minor quibble is that slotting the strap into position can be fiddly, but it’s designed to keep your iPad secure.
The Skinny 3 is available in Royal Blue, Black Pink, Mushroom or Berry.
Buy from: www.amazon.co.uk
iLuv Neoprene Sleeve, £5
Usually, this sleeve costs around £15, but it's currently on sale at Currys for the bargain price of £4.99. It's available in black and pink, but you'll need sunglasses if you opt for the latter as it borders on fluorescent: think Barbie, and you'll be on the right lines. There's a zip opening along the top and side and the inside is lined with a soft, fleecy material to keep your iPad snug. Foam triangles provide front and back protection.
Buy from: www.currys.co.uk
Orbyx Union Jack Sleeve, £25
This is one for the patriots - a tri-tone leather-look sleeve. It's large enough to accommodate the new iPad with a Smart Cover attached, so is a good choice if you'd rather not pair your Smart Cover with a specific-fit rear cover.
The iPad slides in from the right-hand side and is held in place by the slot-in tab. The interior is made from a beige faux-suede material. Our only concern is that the edge of your iPad could be vulnerable if you were to drop it in the Orbyx. At £25, it's not bad value, though.
Buy from: www.mobilefun.co.uk
Be.ez LA robe Moorea, £25
Named after the French Polynesian island of Moorea, this sleeve is big enough for your new iPad with a Smart Cover attached. Each side is padded with 5mm low-resilience polyurethane (that's hard foam to you and I) and is lined with a soft material. An inner lip protects the iPad on every edge, including from the zip along the top.
It's also available in green and pink, but there are other designs in the 10-inch LA robe range (Allure and Club) if the Moorea is too flowery for you.
Buy from: www.amazon.co.uk
Proporta Maya II Sleeve, £15
This thin, lightweight sleeve is designed to fit snugly around your new iPad. It's available in black, white and pink and is made from faux leather. As you'd expect, the inside is lined with a soft felt to prevent scratches, but there's no strap or zip on the top edge where the tablet slides in. There's precious little padding, either, so this is a sleeve best carried in another bag with more protection.
Buy from: www.amazon.co.uk
Smart Cover and compatible rear covers
Apple Smart Cover, £35 (£59 for leather)
The Smart Cover is compatible with the new iPad as well as the iPad 2. It's there to protect the screen from scratches in your bag, but provides little to no protection against drops. It's best used in conjunction with a sleeve or rear cover rather than on its own. Our advice is to avoid the leather versions as they're not very hard-wearing, showing every mark and scratch.
Apple chose not to make a companion rear cover to go with the Smart Cover, so plenty of companies have stepped up to the plate to fill the void. Here are a few that fit the new iPad.
Marware MicroShell, £20 from www.mobilefun.co.uk. Also available in Black and Pink. This is a basic polycarbonate cover with a rubberised inside.
Belkin Snap Shield, £10 from www.amazon.co.uk. Thin and clear so you barely notice it's there. Also available in smoked version, shown here.
Incipio Smart Feather, £29.99 - on sale soon. Incipio has modified its original Smart Feather to fit the new iPad. It comes in the same colours as Apple's Polyurethane Smart Covers, so looks like an original Apple cover. There's also a screen protector in the box. Look for part code IPAD-255, as it's easy to confuse with the iPad 2 version IPAD-235.