Down to cases

The new iPad Pro design caught third party case makers flat-footed. Too many have started by following the old formula of offering new cases that match the 2018 iPad Pro geometry. Too few have adapted their cases to handle the key 2018 iPad Pro features: the many magnets and the new way to charge the Pencil.

In the past, it was common for leather cases to cover the edges of the iPad, with small cutouts for the Lightning and earbud ports, holes that aligned with the speaker grills, and flexible areas over the buttons. And when the new iPad Pros were announced, the first instinct of many case makers was to pop out new cases of that same general style.

Sena, who make the Vettra case I use (and love) with my 2016 9.7″ Pro is offering a couple of cases for the 2018 Pros, but neither of them put the Pencil where it belongs, snapped to the long edge of the iPad. The photos of the new Vettra case aren’t clear on this, but I wrote Sena, and they told me their new cases don’t have a cutout along the side to allow the Pencil to attach to the iPad, nor can they charge through the material.

New Sena iPad Pro cases

This is absurd. Sena cases are meant to be kept on the iPad all the time; how can they in good conscience offer a product that prevents the Pencil from charging?

Speck, at least, is up front about it. It says clearly of its Presidio case that it “Does not allow for charging of Apple Pencil (Generation 2)—update coming in early 2019.”

Speck Presidio case for iPad Pro

In the Overview section of the page it says

Currently, the design of Speck Balance FOLIO, Balance FOLIO Clear, and Presidio Pro Folio does not allow for the full use and housing of the latest Apple Pencil® (Generation 2). In some cases, it’s unable to charge the newly designed pencil. This is not unique to Speck cases as most leading protective cases on the market were designed to house the older version of the pencil.

However, Speck is committed to quality and will be releasing updated versions of the Balance FOLIO, Balance FOLIO Clear, and Presidio Pro Folio designs in early 2019. These updated versions will accommodate all the latest Apple iPad functionality. Also, in our continued commitment to customer satisfaction, Speck will provide all customers who purchased the current design with a FREE UPGRADE as soon as they are available.

This is good—better than Sena—but based on the complaints in some of the Presidio reviews, I suspect Speck wasn’t as explicit about the lack of Pencil support when they started selling cases for the new Pros.

Pad and Quill, to their credit, are not preventing the Pencil from attaching, but they stick their case to the back of the iPad with adhesive instead of magnets. No thanks.

Pad and Quill iPad Pro case

I was resigning myself to buying the Apple Smart Folio1 as a temporary solution until the other case makers get their act together with regard to the Pencil and the magnets. Given that the Smart Folio isn’t leather, this is an expensive stopgap. But I’ve noticed more recently that cheaper versions of it, in leather, are starting to appear on Amazon. One of these will probably be my case until Speck or Sena or someone else comes up with a premium case that really works.

  1. This is the regular Smart Folio, not the Smart Keyboard Folio, which I don’t like as a keyboard or as a case.