The 9.7-inch iPad Pro looks almost identical to it’s cousin the iPad Air 2. The major difference is the addition of a subtle Smart Connector on the left side of the iPad Pro. The Smart Connector is able to transfer both data and power at the same time. The reason for the Smart Connector is to be compatible with the Smart Keyboard. The Smart Connector provides the necessary power and data connection to the Smart Keyboard so you do not need to worry about charging it. Apple seems to really like the word “smart” in front of its recent products.
Can you use the iPad Air 2 Smart Cover with the iPad Pro?
The addition of the Smart Connector is one of the reasons why the iPad Air 2 Smart Cover will not work with the iPad Pro despite identical dimensions. There are two extra speakers located at the top of the iPad Pro that will be covered with the older Smart Cover. The magnet alignment is also different on the iPad Pro, which is another reason why it is not recommended to use the older Smart Cover. These design additions on the iPad Pro has lead Apple to separate the Smart Cover and the Silicone Case. The previous iPad Air 2 Smart Cover was combined to give you both the Silicone Case and Smart Cover in one package that could not be separated. The reasoning behind separating the Smart Cover and Silicone Case was to let you mismatch colors or have the option of attaching a Smart Keyboard.
The Silicone Case is a shell that wraps around to protect the back of your iPad Pro. The inside features a soft, microfiber lining. The outer silicone shell is a soft silicone texture that does a great job of protecting your iPad Pro. I’ve dropped my iPad several times and the case did a fantastic job making sure there were no dents or scratches on my iPad. The outer edges are slightly raised so that the screen is protected when the iPad is faced down. The majority of the left edge is not covered by the Silicone Case because that is where the Smart Cover is attached. This makes a bit awkard if you only purchase the case because the left side will be exposed. The Silicone Case is a bit heavy, so if you’re looking for a slim, lightweight option, I would look elsewhere.
The Smart Cover has the same silicone outside, with a microfiber lining in the inside to protect your screen.
It attaches where the Smart Connector is located. The Smart Cover has the unique origami-like feature to prop your iPad up in two different viewing styles. The magnetic attachment is sturdy so it take a bit of force to detach the Smart Cover. If you decide to only buy the Smart Cover just know one thing. The Smart Cover is designed to work with the Silicone Case. If you use it by itself, the edge will hang over the iPad.
Pros and cons of official Apple accessories
The best thing about buying official Apple accessories everything fits perfectly. All the cutouts in the Silicone Case line up perfectly. I’ve bought third party products that are slightly misaligned, which affects the sound coming from the iPad. Apple always does a good job of giving their accessories a premium feel and this case and cover are not different.
The biggest gripe of these two accessories is the price. It is not cheap at all. The Silicone Case costs $69, while the Smart Cover costs $49. This give a whopping total of $118 before taxes. The Smart Cover for the iPad Air 2 was much cheaper at $79. This is going to be a major turnoff for many people. I’ve always spent the extra money on Apple accessories because I know what to expect. I like that the products always have a premium feel, fit perfectly, and just looks better than every third party accessory on the market. This is why I don’t mind spending the extra money to protect something that I’ve already spent $600.
I also really like the versatility of being able to separate the Smart Cover while keeping the Silicone Case on. This is personal preference, but I like to do all my reading with the Smart Cover detached. I only really use my Smart Cover to prop my iPad, while typing or cover the screen when I put it in my backpack.
The deciding factor of getting the two combo accessories is ultimately going to boil down to price. You’re going to be paying extra for the Apple brand. There are much cheaper third-party options such as the MoKo case found on Amazon. My friend has this case and it does the job, but feels much flimsier compared to the official Apple accessory. I’ve had my iPad Pro for almost 6 months and the Smart Cover and Silicone Case still look brand new. There is no wear and tear, which for me speaks volumes about the quality of these accessories. I bought this iPad Pro to use for a very long time and I don’t mind spending the extra money to keep it protected.