iPad + ice storm + gravity = surprise outcome

In the snows of Seattle, I hit an ice patch. My iPad broke my fall and yet somehow still functions. Amazing.

dented iPad
Insert sad trombone noise here. Matt Hickey/CNET

In some parts of the country, a little snowfall isn't a big deal, but in my part of the country--Seattle--things can get bad fast.

Seattle, if you're not familiar, is built on a series of steep hills. It also has relatively mild winters, though it usually gets cold enough to snow once or twice a year. A winter storm blew in last week that dumped a few inches of snow and brought record-low temperatures. It also coated the entire hilly city in a good half-inch of slick ice under the snow.

And that's where I had a problem. Walking home on Wednesday night, getting ready for Thanksgiving, I was walking down a street in the Capitol Hill neighborhood. I was not wearing snow-sensible shoes. My feet went flying out from under me and I landed on my back. Hard. It hurt.

But before I even realized I was injured (I bruised a couple of ribs, cut open my thumb, and pulled a muscle in my left leg), my mind went to the canvas bag over my shoulder and the unprotected iPad inside.

I pulled the gadget out and surveyed the damage. It was beat up pretty bad and looked like I felt, but it still fared better than me. The back was dented from where it landed between myself and an Altoids tin. The LCD was slightly discolored above the dent, and the case was bent outward. But amazingly enough, the screen didn't shatter. In fact, it only bent. I didn't know that glass under sudden pressure could do that, but it did. I can still use the iPad to read e-books, watch Netflix, and check my e-mail.

Honestly, I'm impressed. I thought my iPad was a goner, but save for a little odd coloring along the landing edge and the cosmetic damage, the thing works fine. I've always loved my iPad (feel free to call me a fanboy), but now I'm an even bigger fan.

That said, I'm buying a case this week. Apple told me it would repair the damage to the exterior and bent screen for 200 to 300 bucks, but I haven't decided yet if I want to spend the extra dough as I might be upgrading early next year if the iPad 2 comes out when many think it will.

Have you had any close calls with your iPads, readers? If so, what happened?

The glass is bent but not broken. Amazing. Matt Hickey/CNET

Update, 2:40 p.m. PT: My trusty Pentax K10D is in the shop, and the original iPhone pics weren't very good. I took some new ones with a K-x and added them.

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