Apple’s Smart Cover solves a number of interesting issues without killing the third party accessory market. The iPad 2 is a mere third of an inch thick. This is much thinner than the original iPad and thinner than the iPhone 4. The Smart Cover literally only covers the screen. This helps maintain the iPad 2’s thin profile while still providing protection for the screen. It is also available in 10 colors helping people personalize their ownership experience. The original iPad’s case from Apple came in one color: Black (like Ford’s Model T).
The Smart Cover can be rolled into two configurations that turns it into a stand. There’s a low-angle stand configuration that provides a good angle for typing. The second configuration places it in a near vertical orientation for viewing video.
The Smart Cover attaches magnetically to the iPad 2. Again, this design reduces the overall volume increase when carrying the iPad 2. It also, in my opinion, allows third party accessory firms to design around the Smart Cover. Imagine, for example, an armored OtterBox Defender case that would fit with the Smart Cover left on. This would provide maximum flexibility for iPad 2 owners.