Why won't just any iPad Air case/cover fit the NEW iPad 9.7 (2017)?

Guest Editor | Debra Vogel

We have had a lot of customers inquiring on cases for the new iPad 9.7 (2017) because they have recently been informed by Apple that their backordered iPad Air 2 has been discontinued and the new iPad 9.7 (2017) is the alternative, so we did a comparison of Lifeproof, Otterbox and The Joy Factory rugged cases to see what functionality, if any, is hindered when using an iPad Air case with Apple's new iPad 9.7 (2017). For a detailed iPad comparison visit Apple's Compare iPad models webpage.


The first notable difference is the camera placement. The camera on the new iPad 9.7 (2017) is slightly to the left when compared to the camera on the iPad Air. This small distance can obscure the camera causing undesired results in photographs and videos. Pictured below is a Lifeproof Fre case paired with The Joy Factory's MagConnect Tablet Module (MMX107).  

This Lifeproof case's rear facing camera takes unobstructed photos but is not centered. 


Another area to pay special attention to when selecting a new case is the volume button area. On the new iPad 9.7 (2017) the mute switch has been eliminated and the volume buttons have been moved slightly higher than they were on the iPad Air. From the image below you can see that the volume buttons aren't aligned correctly with the buttons on this Lifeproof case. As an alternative you can adjust the volume by using on-screen controls.

Volume button placement differs on the new iPad 9.7 (2017).

The last area we noticed a major difference in was the Touch ID sensor. The new iPad 9.7 (2017) has Apple's Touch ID capability while the iPad Air did not. Cases that offer button covers tend to cover up the home button which in turn renders the Touch ID useless.

Touch ID compatibility is a problem on this case.

So while it might be difficult to find a form fitted or rugged case available on the market so close to Apple's announcement it is still possible to find a folio case. When shopping for a case for your new iPad 9.7 (2017) look at the openings in consideration with the  following areas:

• Rear facing camera

• Volume control 

• Touch ID


We found that some of our iPad Air cases are compatible with the new iPad 9.7 (2017). Our Folio360 Slim, SmartBlazer, and SmartBlazer Exec all work with the new iPad 9.7 (2017). 

Camera opening lines up with the new camera location. Pictured above is model CFA201.
Volume controls are fully accessible. Pictured above is model CFA206.


Bottom speakers are fully exposed. Pictured above is model CFA201.


 Fully Touch ID compatible. Pictured above is model CFA204.


Here is a list of cases compatible with the new iPad 9.7 (2017). What cases have you seen that will work with the new iPad 9.7 (2017)? We are interested to hear your findings please share in the comments section below. 

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