This is one article in a series of Quick Tips dedicated to deployment. It will highlight some of the things we learned with the 2011-12 deployment of about 1,400 devices.
Article under construction...
We used some of the lessons learned about the cases we chose last year, and the case choices we had to make with iPad 2.
We tested a serious amount of iPad 2 cases, each with their own strengths and weaknesses. Don't underestimate this process. You will need to discern your use model (take home or not, charging/syncing cart or not, small deployment vs. large deployment). With iPad 1, we really liked Apple's own case. It had the perfect angle for keyboarding, was sturdy, easy to clean and its build quality was second to none.
We realized that during our search for iPad 2 cases, that what we really wanted was that Apple case, updated for iPad 2. We don't know of any school districts in the universe who don't use cases on their devices, so we were a little surprised at how hard it was to settle on one. In the photo at the right, you can see some of the cases we test drove. Some, like the grip case (purple, lower right) were the most different in design, and were specific to use cases that might make sense (theirs is specific to younger children). While we liked features of just about all of the cases pictured, we decided to go with one that most-closely replicated the Apple case for the first iPad. We chose to use Hard Candy Cases (seen in red and black in the upper left) for this year's deployment. That's not to say that other case manufacturers don't have cases that you'll like better. We recommend that you test several (there were many manufacturers who sent us a sample when we asked), and choose the one that's right for you. If Apple had made another one similar to their first one, we might have chosen that one- but only after testing it head-to-head with the menagerie of cases and colors that you can see in our photo.