Last July we did a series on heavy-duty protection for the iPad2. One of the cases we looked at was the Otterbox Defender. When the new iPad came out, a few readers asked if the same Defender case would fit the latest Apple tablet. As the dimensions were the same, we thought it should work. When we pinged Otterbox to confirm, we were told that there were some changes and the case for the iPad2 would NOT fit the new iPad. However, Otterbox did say that they have updated the case and that their latest Defender will fit both the iPad2 and the newest iPad.
With each redesign of the Defender case, Otterbox has kept what worked and reworked what did not. The unit for the original iPad was ground-breaking with its multi-layer approach. The three-quarter case and split back were unnecessarily complicated. Also, the lack of a built-in stand was a glaring omission. Otterbox addressed all of those issues when they reworked the case for the iPad2.
When the new iPad came out, Otterbox took the opportunity to further refine their Defender case. The front frame now has a built-in clear screen. The dock connector cover is now just a small flap (instead of a large one). The hard screen cover now has small magnets so that the iPad will automatically go into Sleep Mode when covered.
As with the case for the iPad2, this new case gives the user full access to all of the ports and buttons. Openings such as the dock and headphone jacks have covers. The camera port has a clear window. The speaker and the mic ports (by necessity) are the only ones which are open to the outside. Both are well recessed, but can be affected by dust and moisture. As with all Defender cases, the case will protect the iPad from knocks and tumbles. However, while it will shield the tablet from a light spray or spritz, users should not depend on it for protection against spills and moisture.
We are interested in checking the fit of this Otterbox Defender case with both the iPad2 and the latest iPad. We should have the Installation/FirstUse article completed in a few weeks. Look for it at the end of June.