When Apple launched the 11" tablet they took their 10.5 Pro model and re-chirstened it the 10.5 iPad Air. If you're looking for a quality case for the new Air model, you're probably wondering which is the best iPad Air 10.5 case available. 

In this piece we'll go "Behind the Design" and speak to MacCase Chief Creative Officer Michael Santoro about the top 8 things to look for when buying a protective cover for your Apple tablet.

Michael invented the Apple-specific case market back in 1998. If you're looking for insight into what to look for in the best iPad Air case, he's someone you'd want to ask. 

leather stacks

Best iPad Air 10.5 Case - What to Look For

JKD: Can you go into the process a bit? You see the new 10.5 Air and what happens?

MS: The first thing we do is go over to Apple's site and get the specs. Once we have them, we compare their new design to previous design and against our current line up. From there on out it's sort of top secret and I'd rather keep it that way.

JKD: So you have the specs and sit down to begin. Can you give us a sense of what you consider when designing what you hope will become the best leather iPad Air 10.5 case? 

MS: Here's a list:

• Materials

• Protection

• Aesthetic Design

• Functionality

* The company behind the case

• Quality

• Value

All of these factors plus the "X" factor should go into any case you're looking to purchase. 

Our iPad Pro Folios have become regarded as the professional choice in Pad protection. That did not happen by accident. We've been designing Folios for Apple tablets since 2010 when Steve Jobs introduced the original one. 

For anyone looking for a quality leather iPad Air case, the first thing you want consider is the materials. If you're going to pay for leather as opposed to "genuine imitation leather" or PVC, plastic, vinyl or vegan, make sure the hides are of quality. 

Look for full or top grain. You don't want a case made from bonded leather at a full grain price. There are plenty of them out there. All leathers are not created equal. They may all start out wrapped around a cow, but a lot can happen to them before they end up wrapped around your iPad. 

Educate yourself. 

The Best iPad Air 10.5 Case Needs to Protect

JKD: After materials, what else should someone shopping for a case look for?

MS: There are several things that can be put in the order that is most important to you. Let's start with the most basic. You're buying a case to protect your Apple tablet. Ask yourself, how much protection do I need?

Do you work in a law office or on a construction site? Those environments will have different needs regarding protection. Choose a case that will meet the protection needs of the environment you'll be moving through and spending time in. 

How does the case you're looking at provide said protection? It is through the materials, the design itself or a combination of the two? What are some of the details that are specially about providing protection? These are all good questions to ask. 

If design is important an important factor to you, how the case looks, than choose a design that is most appealing to you. If you're going for a leather case, you'll be paying a bit more so the design should be at a certain level. 

What I mean by that is a relatively expensive leather model shod not look like a child's toy or look like a child designed it. It should look professional and have an air of luxury about it. 

If functionality is important, find the case that does the most to meet your needs. If features are important, find the case that has the features your looking for. Ask yourself if the case will meet your needs on a functional level. If you need a place for the pencil, is there a place for the Apple pencil? 

Is there a place to store papers, some business cards or even the AC adapter? Maybe you care about those things, maybe you don't. The best leather iPad Air case will be the one that checks all the boxes that are important to you.

Who Makes Your iPad 10.5 Case?

JKD: Are there other things that someone should have on their list? 

MS: Yes, the company who's making the case is important. If you're buying a serious leather case, it will not be cheap. The world is full of cheap cases for Apple tablets that no one stands behind because they won' last long. 

If you've been down that road, buying case after case, you know what I am talking about. If you're ready to move up, purchase a case from a company that's been around a while.

How long have they been around? Have they designed products for Apple portables before? Or did they start last week? Is there a number to call to ask questions? Is there a number to call if I have a problem? If I call, does a human answer? If I send an email, do I get a quick response, or any response. All these things matter. 

Lastly, it's important to think about quality. Most people making leather goods try to do a good job. Again, you have products flooding in from China, made on speed lines claiming to be leather (they're not) and are absolute crap. These people are not trying to do a good job at all. 

A quality leather product will not be going for cheap on Amazon or eBay. People need to think about the value of their time. How much time do you spend buying one cheap case after another because the quality is very low and they fall apart after a short time. 

Buying one excellent quality (and more relatively expensive) case once is actually a better use of your time and a much better value in the long term. If you keep an Apple tablet for 3 years and are buying a new case every 3 months, that's 9 cases. Plus the time it took to find them. You'll never get that time back. How much is that worth to you? 

JKD: How does the leather iPad Air 10.5 cases fit into the legacy of what MacCase has built over the last 10 years with the Premium Leather Collection?

MS: Over the years we have remained very committed to our design principles and the protection our cases provide. Our customer base has grown worldwide almost as fast as the list of celebrities and mover and shakers who use MacCase has grown here at home. 

MacCase Premium Leather iPad Air 10.5 Case

The Best Case for iPad Air 10.5

JKD: Any chance I can get you to name drop a few?

MS: Stan Miller who has been in the rock and roll game for many decades and heads up Neil Diamond's world tour road crew is a big fan. Wherever Neil is in the world, if someone on the crew gets a new Apple portable, Stan gives us a call. The Jet Propulsion Lab that is part of NASA just placed an order with us. MacCase's in space! That's awesome. 

JKD: Anyone else. 

MS: There are many others but I believe these customers prefer I don't mention their names. I'd like to respect that. We ship a lot of product up to Hollywood, to both the movie and television studios as well as the music recording and rehearsal studios. We have also shipped quite a few pieces to some of the most famous fashion design houses in New York City. 

Our passion to make the world's best iPad Air 10.5 cases is something that we take very seriously. Of course the term "best" is completely subjective but you have to have a vision. 

You have to call the expression of your passion something. You have to give it a name. Our desire is to be the best, to design the best, to engineer the best, to build the best. 

It's important for any potential customer to know that there are years of experience in designing, engineering and building the product they may purchase from MacCase. This should mean something. This is a legacy of excellence that no other company in the Apple-specific case space can match.

What It Takes to Be the Best: The "X" Factor

JKD: You mentioned the "X" factor as being part of what people should bellowing for. What does that mean? 

The "X" factor is what all the other things add up to: Your Experience. 

If all the things on the list are done to the best of their ability they should add up to something greater than the sum of the parts. If I tried to explain it in mathematical terms, it would be like saying 1+1 = 3. How can this be?

Because it's not math, it's poetry. The two things you are adding together are greater than 2. What the sum represents is your experience. I had a customer call and tell me the Folio he received was the best computer accessory he's ever owned. 

Not the best tablet case, not the best iPad case, not the best case. The best accessory of any kind for anything in tech he's ever owned. This was a guy who was in his 40's so he's been buying tech  and computer accessories for over 2 decades. He's seen some stuff. 

When I asked him why he felt this way he didn't say it was the materials, or the details, or how a certain thing functioned. To be the best means to provide the best user experience. The best leather iPad Air 10.5 case should provide a user experience so great, the user can't even tell you why it's the best. They just know it is. That was his experience. 

That's the "X" factor. 

This is very, very hard to do. 

Apple 10.5 tablets

Apple Introduces the iPad Air 10.5

JKD: Tell us what happens when you're watching the Apple keynote and a new iPad Air is revealed. 

MS: Panic! (Laughing). It's always stressful in the hours after a new product is launched by Apple. You'd think after all these years, I'd be used to it, but I'm not. 

The initial questions are, how does this affect us? Does it fit anything in the current line up? How many potential new designs might we need to, or want to create for this cusotmer? What do we need to do next to get what ever we come up with to market as soon as possible. So it's stressful.

JKD: Do you start with the Folio?

MS. Yes. We look at a iPad Air 10.5 Folio first. Folios are very popular and most of the time when someone is asking for a case, that's what they have in mind. Not always, but most of the time. 

JKD: How long after the announcement does it take for things to calm down?

MS: Ha! You've been here everyday since the keynote. Are things any calmer now than when the new 10.5 was announced? If anything, things are more hectic. 

JKD: Why is that?

MS: The announcement came just days after we went live with our new Custom Case Program. We had an unprecedented response to the outreach we did for the Custom Program. Since it was new and we are just getting the work flow down, each submission took a bit of time to get a response out.

We're sending out mock up images and then flowing that up with a quote. So in the middle of this learning curve, boom, Apple drops a new iPad Air and we have to react. We are offering the new 10.5 Folio as part of our Custom Program. If anyone is interested in doing a one-of-a-kind case for their new Apple tablet, check our Custom cases page.

JKD: So customers looking for the best leather iPad Air 10.5 case should consider materials, protection, aesthetics, functionality, who they're buying from, the overall quality and ultimately what kind of value does the product represent. 

And the "X" factor too. 

MS: Yes, and always remember that price is not an indicator of value. How the product meets your needs in the long term based on the price paid should determine the overall value. 

 "The best leather iPad Air 10.5 case will consist of these 8 things..."

ipad pro 10.5 case button

Jody K. Deane
by Jody K. Deane June 14, 2017

Leave a comment

Please note: comments must be approved before they are published.