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Apple debuts front-and-back iPad Smart Case

The new $49 iPad Smart Case is similar to the iPad Smart Cover but it also offers protection for the back of your iPad.

The Apple iPad Smart Case retails for $49 (click to enlarge).

As anyone who bought an iPad Smart Cover knows it doesn't protect the back of your iPad. But now Apple is giving iPad owners an official Apple case that offers both front and back protection: the iPad Smart Case.

The Smart Case retails for $49, comes in six colors, and is compatible with the iPad 2 and the new iPad. At launch, there's no deluxe leather option; this one's made from polyurethane.

Here's what Apple has to say about it:

The iPad Smart Case covers your iPad -- both front and back -- yet still retains the thin, light design of iPad. Like the Smart Cover, it folds easily into a stand for reading, typing, and watching video. And it automatically wakes and sleeps iPad on open and close. Made from polyurethane, it's available in six bright colors. And you can personalize it with free laser engraving on the Apple Online Store.
There's nothing terribly exciting about it -- and the price is about what you'd expect to pay for a premium iPad case -- but Apple should nevertheless sell thousands of these. I'm not sure why it didn't have the case ready for the launch of the new iPad, but no one was complaining too much with all the other case options out there. You can view many of the best ones below.