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iPad Mini Adds New Niche For Case Designers

11/18/2012 07:00:00 PM Eastern

NEW YORK – In the weeks following Apple’s introduction of the iPad Mini, scores of accessories vendors introduced new cases or extended existing lines, to protect the new device.

Marware announced six iPad Mini cases. The CEO Hybrid ($42.99 suggested retail) has a genuine leather finish over a shell case and allows users to stand their Mini at three viewing angles and one typing angle. It also features an automatic sleep/wake lid and includes Marware’s signature interior hand strap for one-handed use.

The DoubleTake ($54.99 suggested retail) is a durable dual-material case with a soft rubber inner layer for shock absorption. The automatic sleep/wake lid folds to stand the device for handsfree viewing or typing and is secured closed with soft magnets. The Axis ($44.99 suggested retail) is a genuine leather portfolio that rotates 90 degrees, includes a hand strap and a sleep/ wake lid.

The MicroShell Folio ($34.99) combines a hard shell with an integrated- stand folio lid for hands-free viewing and typing. It features a metallic back finish and an elastic strap to hold the sleep/ wake lid open or closed.

The Vibe ($29.99) sports a two-toned exterior and a sleep/wake lid.

The CEO Hybrid began shipping Nov. 2. The rest of the models are available for pre-order and will ship by the end of November.

Ballistic is offering two iPad Mini cases that stress extra protection for the new device.

The Tough Jacket is engineered with three layers of protective materials that meet military standards — a compilation of inner silicone to absorb shock, impact-resistant hard plastic, and a shock-absorbent polymer layer. It is also equipped with the company’s proprietary Ballistic corner bumpers, to protect what the company said is “the most sensitive portion of the iPad Mini.”

A raised perimeter lip guarantees the screen will never touch a surface on which the device is laid flat. It also includes an optional screen cover, which doubles as a kickstand to optimize viewing angles. It will retail for $60.

Ballistic’s new Lifestyle is a snug fitting TPU case designed to not add any significant bulk to the Mini’s slim tablet design. The company said the case is still easy to remove given the case’s accordion-like exterior.

Sixteen interchangeable corner bumpers, four of each color, are included so users can mix and match color options. It will retail for $40.

Zagg has extended its flagship InvisibleShield line of film protection to include the iPad Mini. The thin, transparent film, first used to protect U.S. military helicopter blades from high-speed damage, features Zagg’s proprietary Nano- Memory technology that provides self-healing qualities for scratches or abrasions.

A full-body device wrap-around kit retails for $35. A screen-only film is $25.

Incipio has extended its Feather, Lexington, LGND, and NGP iPad case line to fit the Mini.

The LGND line, inspired by origami, is a foldable wrap made of what the company calls “hard-wearing vegan leather” a micro suede lining and plextonium backing. The case folds into horizontal and vertical viewing modes and internal magnets are said to provide security and sturdiness for positioning and closure.

The cases are available for pre-order in black, red, pink and gray, retailing for $30.

The Feather line is a 1mm polycarbonate shell on a plextonium frame that adds only about 3 ounces to the weight of the Mini. It pre orders for $30 and comes in seven colors. Each case includes an Incipio vanity kit with surface protector film, applicator card and a microfiber cleaning cloth.

The NGP (“next generation polymer”) line is made of a semi-rigid dense polymer which is soft and malleable to the touch but said to be provide shock and impact protection equal to silicone. It is available now at a suggested retail of $25 in translucent shades of Mercury, pink and purple, as well as matte black.

The top-of-line Lexington is a two-part folio case with a hard-shell polycarbonate back and a “vegan leather” front cover. The cover folds back for upright viewing in vertical or landscape mode. The case is lined with soft micro suede. It is available for pre order, at a $35 suggested retail, in black, gray, red and blue.

Kensington introduced two Mini models, a protective cover and stand combo as well as a protective back cover case.

The cover/stand combo features a two-position stand, a hard-shell exterior and a velvet interior. It comes in Coffee Snake, Black Marble and Brown Marble and can be pre ordered for $35.

The hard-shell, velvet-lined back cover comes in clear, black, eggplant and teal and can be pre ordered for $20.

Scosche extended its FollO carbon-fiber textured folio case to fit the Mini. It features three different landscape position settings and secures with snaps that adhere to the corners of the iPad for a snug fit. The case is lined with suede. It can be pre ordered in white or black. A black leather version is also available. They retail for $45.

iFrogz is offering its multicolored Breeze cases for the Mini. A two-component case, the Breeze features a polycarbonate shell covered with a ribbed silicone exterior. It has a raised edge for screen protection when the Mini is face-down. It is available now in pink/black, silver/ black and blue/black at a suggested $30 retail.

iFrogz will also offer its higher-end Merge for the Mini. It will feature a TPU frame with a polyurethane cover weighing in at about 3 ounces. It can be pre ordered now with a $60 retail price.

Simplism Japan unveiled 32 different SKUs in the hours after the Mini’s introduction. Included in the collection are polycarbonate hard-back shells, polyurethane leather-like Flip shells featuring magnetic closures, silicone sleeves, a denim and fabric sleeve, and hard shells featuring in-mold labeling design patterns such as Mirror Dots, Raindrops, Sparkling Lines and Mirror Stripes.

Retails range from $23 for the back covers to $40 for the Flip shell. They also offer a number of protective film kits, including anti-glare models.

Booq has resized its flagship Booqpad for the Mini. The folio design includes a 50-page replaceable notepad, and slots for a pen, a stylus, business cards, cash or tickets. The case is designed symmetrically to accommodate right- and lefthanded users. It can be pre ordered with a $40 retail price in gray or gray/black.

Finally, Proporta is extending most of its iPad lines to include the Mini, including its collaboration with Quicksilver on neoprene designs, its faux leather and aluminum-lined folios, and its Swivel 360 stands and polycarbonate hard back shells. Retail prices range for $20 to $40.

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