Combining a case and an external battery is a very popular move by makers of iPhone accessories. The iPad hasn’t seen a whole lot of these types of cases in the past, but that trend seem to be changing. Two of the most interesting solutions for “hiding” the extra battery comes from MiPow.
The Juice Cover (above picture) is the most integrated case, and very similar to many external battery cases for the iPhone. It’s one of those Smart Cover compatible cases, but with some added bulk and a built in battery. It adds about 4mm to the iPad 2 and has a 6000mAh battery, which doesn’t tell us anything about the actual capacity. Seeing as though they claim it will add about 70% battery life to the iPad though, it’s likely to be a 3.7V battery putting the capacity to 22Wh (iPad battery is 25Wh, but some loss is expected). That’s not bad for only adding 4mm to the thickness though, and being Smart Cover compatible is always a plus.
The case also has a power indicator and an on/off button, both located on a part of the case that sticks out on the bottom and connects to the iPad 2’s dock connector. This means it does add about 9mm to the length of the iPad, but that’s not bad either. It’s not available to order quite yet, and the price is also unknown. From the other products they offer though I would guess $99-$129.
The Juice Book is a slightly different approach. It takes a leather case that is quite similar to the official case for the iPad 1 and adds a compartment for the company’s Power Tube 6600 external battery. The battery is 6600mAh this time (24.5Wh?) which they say is enough to double the iPad’s battery life (not likely). The case is basically intended to store the battery and keep it out of the way, and you still need a power cable going from the battery to the iPad when you want to use it- in other words it’s not as integrated as the Juice Cover. On the plus side, it can charge other devices as well (a smartphone would get many charges out of the battery, for instance). The Juice Book is available now for $119, which includes the $99 Power Tube 6600, AC adapter (with selectable plug based on location), power cable and 9 additional tips. With the case being real leather, that isn’t a bad deal.
Personally I like the design of the Juice Cover a lot. I’ve been meaning to get an external battery for a while, and haven’t quite decided between waiting for the Crux Loaded, getting a Hypermac Mini or buying something else (like this). I certainly could have used either of them last night when a lightning strike caused a total blackout throughout the municipality.