The iPad is beautiful with its aluminum back, and the new iPad 2 is even nicer. However, it's sometimes hard to get a grip on the iPad—literally. The iPad needs a strap or handle to carry it safely and comfortably. I looked at several cases that fit the bill and report on them below. I’ve even included a comparison chart for your convenience. These gadgets were built for the original iPad, so check the vendor's websites for information on compatibility with the iPad 2.
Hand-e-holder is a rotating handgrip that attaches to the back of your iPad and mates with a wearable hand grip using industrial-grade Velcro (see photo). The developer offers an extension to the handgrip that lets pilots and other users attach the iPad to their thigh. Hand-e-holder lets you rotate your device 360 degrees, so you can keep the iPad in the desired orientation. I was concerned about the force required to attach it to the iPad. Because of this, I would recommend applying the gadget to a hard-shell iPad case and then putting your iPad in that case. This way you can use the iPad with or without Hand-e-holder. Since the Hand-e-holder attaches to just about any tablet, it should work fine with the new iPad 2.
This one is a combination iPad case with 360-degree swivel handgrip built onto the back of the case (no Velcro or adhesive to worry about). HandStand is well built and designed, with smooth molded edges. As the name implies, you can use the HandStand as a stand without any extra hardware (a nice plus!). The HandStand is molded to meet the exacting dimensions of the original iPad, so a new version would have to be made to support the iPad 2 and its rear-mounted camera. Indeed, the white version of the HandStand would look ideal with the white iPad 2, creating a Star Wars Stormtrooper effect!
ELEMENTS AXIS Stand
$59.99 (sale price), RevenaProducts.com
The Axis Stand ships with a neoprene case that protects your iPad while you carry it. The product includes a 360-degree swivel mount that lets you stand your iPad on a table or mount it on the wall. The case provides unobstructed access to ports and controls. It was designed for the original iPad and does not have openings for the iPad 2’s rear-mounted camera. The developer will introduce an iPad 2 version of the case soon.
TabGrip protects the edges and back of your iPad, providing more to grip when you carry the device or are playing games and using apps that take advantage of the accelerometer. In addition, it has foldout legs that let you use the case as a table stand in both landscape and portrait modes. The TabGrip is designed to cover part of the sides of your iPad, but not the corners. This means the camera in the iPad 2 would not be obstructed, but it remains to be seen if the thinner iPad would be held securely without some minor modifications. Check their website to see their iPad 2 plans.
The versatile case includes a built-in stand, handle, and an attachable neoprene strap to make carrying the iPad more secure. I liked the comfort level of the strap, especially since I wore it around my neck all day! And when you get where you’re going, the foldout stand is very nice. The hard shell of the Coffee Clutch means the current version will only support the original iPad, but check out their website for any news regarding the iPad 2.
Case + cover: $49, Hand strap, Shoulder Strap: $14.99 each, Quick Stand: $19, modulRcase.com
ModulR's rubberized case protects your iPad; the four nubs on the back allow you to attach optional straps, desk stand, and wall mount. The only downside of this arrangement is that you have to carry around the extra straps and mounts. I preferred the Coffee Clutch neoprene neck strap because it was more comfortable to wear. However, the modulR folks tell me they may have a better solution available soon. The hard rubber modulR case feels better in your hands than the Coffee Clutch's hard plastic case. But the Clutch's built-in handle is really nice to have. You can be sure modulR will have an iPad 2 version soon as their entire business is focused on the iPad, for now. The nice thing is that because of the modular nature of their case, all of the case’s accessories (wall mount, straps, stands, etc.) should work with an iPad 2 version of the case.
The OtterBox Latch resembles a small backpack for your iPad. It attaches to the corners of iPad with four elastic straps, adding an optional pouch for cables, chargers, and other small items. Because the Latch attaches via straps, you can slip your iPad into another case and then attach the Latch to the whole thing. The pouch attaches via S-biner clips, and can be removed if you don't need it. In addition, the Latch includes straps for your hand, thigh or neck. You can even use the straps to mount your iPad on your car's headrest. The unstructured nature of the Latch means you can use it with a variety of 10" tablets and therefore the iPad 2 should work fine.
As you can see, there are a lot of ways to carry your iPad. What is exciting is that many of these vendors are new to the scene. Apple has not only created a new business model for app developers, but a lot of opportunities for accessory makers as well. As tablet devices become more commonplace, expect to see manufacturers continue to create new and useful gadgets to transport and use those tablets.