iPad 2 gets stylish wooden Smart Cover, but no keyboard dock on the way

Dutch firm Miniot has released a beautiful-looking wooden Smart Cover for the iPad 2, but Apple has confirmed the new tablet won't be getting a dedicated keyboard dock.

The iPad 2's new Smart Covers are great, but if everyone gets one, how will your tablet stand out from the crowd? Dutch company Miniot has just the thing: its own version of the Smart Cover made of wood. Its release came as Apple separately announced that there will not be a dedicated keyboard dock for the iPad 2, unlike the first model.

It's the Miniot cover we're excited about, though. "It's a cover. It's a three-way stand. It's real wood! It's the natural match for your iPad 2," claims the company's blurb, and we'd concur.

Like Apple's official Smart Covers, Miniot's version wakes your iPad up from sleeping when peeled off, uses magnets to attach to the device, and has a microfibre lining to keep your screen clean. It rolls up to act as a stand, and you can have any message, logo or image engraved on it for free -- for now at least, as it's flagged as a limited offer.

Miniot is currently flogging the cover on eBay in a choice of cherry, oak, padouk or walnut, for $70.72 plus $21.22 shipping to the UK (in total, around £57).

A more traditional way to stand your iPad 2 up would be a keyboard dock, like that released for the first model. Bad news, though: it seems Apple is not planning to release an updated version of the dock. This comes direct from SVP of marketing Phil Schiller himself, in an email to a reader of the 9 to 5 Mac website in response to an enquiry about a new version of the dock.

"People prefer to use the iPad's built in soft keyboard most all of the time, it works very well," he writes. "Those that do choose to use an external keyboard most often choose to use Apple's Bluetooth wireless keyboard for the convenience it provides."

We know many people who like to have their iPad charging in a keyboard dock on their desk who might disagree, but it's possible a third-party accessories firm will step in to fill the gap.

Talking of the iPad 2, it seems UK delivery dates for models ordered online are slipping backwards, as Apple sells out of its initial stock. All six models in both colours are listed on Apple's online store with 3-4 week estimated dispatch times. That said, operators are also selling the 3G models, so it's worth checking in with them to see if their shipping dates are sooner.

 

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