The success of the iPad suggests that it already functions rather well as a device for consuming movies and music, in addition to playing games. That said, even the most enthusiastic Apple fan would be hard-pressed to argue that the tablet’s speakers offer optimum fidelity. This is where ORA steps in, providing a protective case and stand for the iPad, which also contains eight speakers to push out the tablet’s audio.
Taking a look at ORA, it appears to function perfectly adequately as a protective case and stand. However, it’s really the audio system which sets it aside from the countless other options already on the market, and while it would be a stretch to expect any speaker setup to transform an iPad into a high-end sound system, this device certainly appears to give it a good shot.
A Digital Signal Processor (DSP) ensures that the 3D stereo expansion works in both landscape and portrait orientations, and a built-in equalizer is tasked to provide a better overall listening experience. Beyond sound quality, ORA also produces significantly more volume than the iPad’s stock speakers, with a reported five times increase in volume offered. There’s also a standard headphone jack, for good measure. The built-in battery is rated to match the iPad's own battery life, and should last for up to ten hours.
ORA comes in three iterations: the Stealth and Pop, which both weigh in at 12.8 ounces (365 grams), while the ORA Limited is a sizable 13.8 ounces (392 grams). To put this into perspective, the weight of the WiFi-only iPad mini is around 10 ounces (308 grams), so there’ll be a noticeable increase in weight when using the ORA. Size is increased by just over an inch (2.5 cm), in both height and width.
Whether or not this extra heft is a deal breaker will largely depend on how you like to use your iPad – holding may be uncomfortable for some, but this matters less if you like to mostly use the stand.
Compatibility for the device is currently limited to the second and third generations of the full-sized iPad, though fourth generation and iPad mini versions are in the works. Colors available are black, grey, red, green, cyan, and a white/aluminum version, depending on the model chosen.
ORA is the product of a collaboration between product engineering firm Shift and design consultancy Industry, working under the joint name of Objekt. The team is currently running a Kickstarter campaign, and in order to secure a unit, prospective purchasers must make a minimum contribution of US$99 for the Stealth model, which does not include stand and cover.
The video below features the ORA pitch.