iPad cases are a dime a dozen these days. There’s not much distinguishing one from the other for the most part, which is to say most function just as a cover for your Apple tablet. One entity has turned to crowdfunding to try and bring some variety to the category, however, in the form of OIO's Amp iPad Air case – it does double duty as a portable Bluetooth speaker solution.
The Amp for iPad Air 2 & iPad Air has two panels on the front side, which open to reveal built-in speakers. A third panel in the middle (that’s revealed upon opening) houses the iPad, with the tablet snapping into place via the long edge along the bottom. A built-in kickstand allows the entire setup to be placed in front of you, so you can watch a movie and hear its audio all in one package. Should you need to browse or type on the screen, the panels can be rotated to the rear to provide a low angle for ease of access.
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In order to keep the profile of this combination as thin as possible, the aluminum case utilizes flat electromagnetic technology and a resin fiber honeycomb design in its acoustic panels. OIO feels this approach, alongside its amplifier and digital sound-processing tech, will produce what it terms "rich room-filling audio" with deeper lows and crisper highs. The jury will have to remain out on these claims for now, until there's a chance to test the unit firsthand.
Key technological aspects of the Amp include support for multiple audio codecs (A2DP, DSP), Bluetooth 4.0 integration to connect the system to either the iPad Air or another wireless-enabled device, audio playback of up to seven hours courtesy of the rechargeable lithium-ion battery, and auto off when the panels are closed.
This iPad Air speaker case is currently up on Kickstarter for support, so there’s a possibility the final product may not become a reality. At the time of this post there was an early bird special for US$129, with a potential shipping date of April 2015 (there’s a limited December 2014 shipment option as well, if you pony up $229). OIO says the Amp will normally retail for $249.
You can learn more about the Amp for iPad Air 2 & iPad Air via the fundraising video below.