With Apple's (News - Alert) press conference kicking off today, and much of the world expecting a new, smaller iPad to emerge from it, the first case for the so-called iPad Mini has arrived from the folks at HardCandy Cases.
This strategy is a risky one for several reasons, but has the potential for some big rewards.
HardCandy Cases' new case, part of its ShockDrop line, is geared specifically to a smaller iPad and offers some very nice protective features, including a silicone outer frame to reduce shock. Although it does cover all ports, so getting full use out of the device will require taking it out of the case.
Additionally, it's got a poly-carbonate structural frame for a note of rigidity, as well as an integrated screen protector to protect against that most common of problems for touchscreen devices – scratches and fingerprints.
The ShockDrop iPad Mini case comes in either red or black, and will be available for $49.95 on October 25. But as mentioned, this strategy is an extraordinarily risky one for HardCandy Cases. They actually did something like this with the iPhone (News - Alert) 5, but then discovered that the case wouldn't fit the iPhone 4S due to differences in dimension. HardCandy Cases chalked that one up to some bad intel –potentially even a few tricks from Apple itself – but that's only part of the risk.
Apple itself is well known for playing its hardware announcements very close to the vest. So when a third-party supplier goes announcing peripherals ahead of a product launch, it not only steals some thunder from Apple; it also provides the more analytical out there with a chance to spoiler the launch.
Worse still – it's a fair bet that Apple itself will introduce a case, and it's kind of a blow to not be the first to introduce a case for a product they actually built. Several other companies have reportedly also built cases for the iPad Mini, but they've embargoed their reports such that no one can touch on that news until after Apple launches its device and any attendant casing.
The case itself, meanwhile, looks like a solidly-built entry. Granted there have been plenty of other Apple product cases with extreme levels of durability, but this one looks like it will combine accessibility and durability fairly well.
So while HardCandy Cases is playing with fire – the iPad Mini name itself really is only a placeholder – it's the kind of strategy that may also pay off in the long run. The only question left, which will be answered fairly soon, is just how close to the mark HardCandy Cases came, and whether its grand strategy will prove worthwhile.
Edited by Braden Becker