Over the past week I've gotten a few inquires about Maya's iPad case, so I thought it would be best to do a review here. (As usual, I am not affiliated with this company. They don't even know that I exist.)
The Basic Info
Maya's iPad is in a case by AMDi called the iAdapter. (She uses an iPad1, and therefore the original iAdapter. They make an iAdapter2 for the iPad2.) It is a hard black rubberized case that I assembled with a screwdriver (you don't just pop the iPad in and out, once it's in there it pretty much stays in there). You can find the full product information and specifications about the iAdapter here.
We bought this case for a few key reasons:
1. External speakers: We anticipated that the iPad would be serving as Maya's voice . . . and she deserves to be LOUD!!! From my (extrememly non-technical) perspective, the iPad speakers just aren't all that. If Maya is in a noisy classroom, restaurant, or grocery store (like we were today) and she says something with the iPad, I want to hear it, loud and clear. These speakers are no joke. They have 3 settings (as seen in the middle of the pic below)--HI, LO and OFF.
2. Button cover: Maya learned very quickly to push the button on the iPad--to turn it off, to exit an app, to pull up the keyboard. Since there's only one button on the entire thing (and most kids are a fan of pushing buttons) she would just push-push-push-push and drive me crazy. I had to hold my thumb over the button when we were using the iPad, which was irritating.
This case addresses that issue with a small plastic sliding piece that can cover the button. It's challenging enough to move that Maya can't do it. Very helpful.
3. Durability/carry-ability: This is a tough case. Toddler tough. I love the carrying handle (although Maya generally picks it up with two hands on the sides) and the fact that it just feels durable. I don't worry about it falling off the couch (hey, it happens) or getting too banged up in her backpack.
4. The stand: The stand comes with the case and props the iPad up at a great angle. It's sturdy and doesn't tip or get pushed over. A long groove in the back of the case lets the stand kind of lock in. (You can see it in the pic above.)
These are the issues that I have with the case. (Remember, though, I'm not a techie type of gal. It's possible that I'll list my grievances and someone will reply "Hey, you're kind of an idiot and just don't know how to use the case" . . . if that happens, I'll come back and edit my list.)
1. I wish there was a way to monitor the power level. Because the iAdapter has a speaker system, it has to be charged. The problem is that I can't tell how much battery life is left. I basically charge it every other night, but that's just a guess. I wish there was a way to see how much juice was left.
2. I initially had issues with charging the iPad. Weirdly, when I screwed the case together tightly the fit was so snug that I couldn't get the iPad charger cord all the way in. I had to loosen two of the screws slightly. That's annoying because I would like to feel that the case is super secure fitting. *post modified: I was wrong about this. At a reader's urging, I retightened the screws, and sure enough, the charger fits in---it does take a bit of wiggling, though. I guess I was being too gentle when I tried to insert it before. Anyway, I take this one back!
*post modified 1/30/12: I orginally had "#3-I can't turn the screen off" here. But, sure enough, someone with the same case wrote on my Facebook wall that there is indeed a (very tiny) awake/asleep button. Big enough for me to use, but too small for Maya to find. Very clever!
4. It would be nice if the screen was covered. Before this case we had an Otterbox, which felt a little more indestructible because of the hard plastic protective piece that would clip on over the screen. It would be nice if the iAdapter had some sort of shell that could attach to the front and protect the screen.
5. It's expensive. But considering that it's a hard core case with great speakers and unique features, it seems fairly priced. (It's also wheelchair mountable)
The bottom line
I liked the ruggedness of the Otterbox Defender slightly better, but we eagerly moved to the iAdapter for the reasons listed above. The speakers in particular are a huge bonus. While the cons are irritating, they are definitely outweighed by the pros (for us, anyway).
*You can see Maya using her iPad, in the iAdapter case, in many videos on the blog. This post has 2 videos, and each one shows the iPad (and case) from a different angle: http://niederfamily.blogspot.com/2012/01/progress-report-on-communicating-with.html