I am debating what I want in a protective case for my iPad Pro. A luxury problem, to be sure.
There are many choices: sleeves, cases, cases that leave the edges open, wraparound cases that leave only essential ports uncovered, cases that include a keyboard, cases that include a strap, cases to cover only the back of the iPad, expensive leather cases, cheap plastic cases, etc.
And if you only want a strap, then there are multiple hand strap options, believe it or not: velcro, silicon rubber bands, magnets, adhesives, full 360-degree swivel, etc.
When I’m in the welter of too many choices related to a product I want to buy, I use the following method for slicing through some of the noise.
I imagine at least three different scenarios, or use cases, where I would use the product. This gives me an idea of the type of experience I’m after. It helps me define what I want from the product and refine my requirements. I don’t always get to an a-ha decision this way, but it does help me discard options that don’t match the scenarios.
In this case (heh), my top three scenarios are:
- I drop the iPad or it slides out of a backpack: I want the case to help cushion the fall and generally protect it from collisions with the real world.
- The case should make the iPad easy to hold for long periods of time. Although lots of cases boast their covers fold back so that the iPad can stand up, I will hardly ever use it that way. At home and especially when traveling, I will most often be reading on it.
- I don’t have a compelling third scenario, beyond that the case look good.
That I only have 2.5 scenarios may explain why I’m still sorting signal from noise.
Oddly enough, I did not have these mental discussions around my iPhone SE case. I use an Apple leather case and a tempered glass screen protector. That’s it. I even put the phone in my back pocket and sit on it, for heaven’s sake.
But the iPad feels … different. Thinner, more susceptible to damage. I would not dream of sitting on it.
So the search continues. For the time being, I may get a $20 case to protect the back of the iPad while the Smart Cover protects the front.
I continue to search out images and reviews of cases and judge them against my scenarios. I have the feeling, after seeing and pondering so many of these things, that I’ll know it when I see it.
Afterword: I think I got the idea of “3 use cases” from JD Meier’s blogs. He’s a fan of the rule of 3 and has written about scenarios. He has lots of great practical ideas and advice focused on the world of work.