Mobile devices like the iPad, the iPhone, and the iPod touch have one unfortunate trait in common -- they're very easy for someone to steal. With the great demand for the iPad 2, you will want to keep it locked away somewhere or take it with you everywhere just to keep thieving hands off of the device. Now Griffin Technology has announced the TechSafe Locking Case + Cable Lock for the iPad 2 (US$79.99), a way of locking your iPad to a desk or table to make it much more difficult for it to be stolen.
Compared to some of the beautiful cases I've had the pleasure to review, the TechSafe Locking Case is very plain. But it looks and feels sturdy, and that's what you want when you're using the case and the included cable lock to keep your iPad 2 from walking away.
The case slides apart for easy installation of the iPad 2, with the top frame sliding off of the bottom frame. You drop the iPad 2 into the bottom piece, then slide the top frame back on. The result is a very solid case. On the back of the bottom piece are two rectangular bumps. These not only add an area to help you grip the iPad 2, but each has a small indentation that can be used to expose a fold-out stand. One of the stands props the iPad 2 up vertically in landscape orientation for watching movies, while the other is useful when typing on the iPad.
The lock is the niftiest part of the setup. Griffin's TechSafe Cable Lock design makes it possible to secure laptops like the MacBook Air that don't have a Kensington lock port. To do this, Griffin created a hardened steel "LockBlade" that slides into the small opening in the hinge area between the screen and keyboard of the MacBook Air. The included cable lock has a hook on it that fits into a hole in the steel LockBlade, securing the laptop to the cable and to a large, immovable piece of furniture.
On the Locking Case, the LockBlade slides into a slot on the case. That keeps the case from sliding open and connects it to the cable lock. It's a smart way to reuse the Cable Lock technology on a different type of equipment, and it wouldn't be out of the question for Griffin to even extend this to a Locking Case for iPhone 4/4S and iPod touch. In situations where you want to keep those items from walking away, a case like that could come in very handy.
The TechSafe case is very well made. All of the pieces in this puzzle need to fit together perfectly, and the case slides onto and off of the iPad 2 easily. If you have another case that you love to use with your iPad 2, but you'd like to secure your iPad in a hotel or conference room while you're eating dinner or partying with friends, just slip off the other case, slide the iPad 2 into the TechSafe, slide in the LockBlade, and clip on the combination lock.
The stands are very usable and well placed on the case, and I found the "bumps" on the back of the case to be perfect for getting a good grip while carrying the iPad 2 around.
Now, my one concern. Although this is a security case and it's a pretty good one, it would take a determined thief with the right tools only a few seconds to get the iPad out. What tools? A small pocket tool like a Leatherman with a built-in saw would rip right through the plastic, making it a cinch to pull out the LockBlade and walk off with the iPad. However, in most situations a thief may overlook anything that has a lock attached to it simply because it takes time to work on it. This deterrence factor will probably help you more than the plastic than the case is made out of.
I do recommend that buyers look at one more piece of equipment that Griffin has developed to work with the cable lock and case -- the $19.99 Locking Security Clamp can help you in those situations where you can't find a suitable piece of furniture to lock your iPad to.
Griffin's TechSafe case and the cable lock are the right product at the right time. For those who need a way to secure an iPad to a table or other piece of furniture, it's a reasonably-priced solution and a heck of a lot less expensive than replacing an iPad.