We have had a lot of customers inquiring on cases for the iPad 9.7 5th Gen because they have recently been informed by Apple that their backordered iPad Air 2 has been discontinued and the iPad 9.7 5th Gen 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 iPad 9.7 5th Gen. For a detailed iPad comparison visit Apple's Compare iPad models webpage.
The first notable difference is the camera placement. The camera on the iPad 9.7 5th Gen 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).
Another area to pay special attention to when selecting a new case is the volume button area. On the iPad 9.7 5th Gen 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.
The last area we noticed a major difference in was the Touch ID sensor. The iPad 9.7 5th Gen 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.
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 iPad 9.7 5th Gen look at the openings in consideration with the following areas:
• Rear facing camera
• Volume control
• Touch ID
Here is a list of cases compatible with the iPad 9.7 5th Gen. What cases have you seen that will work with the iPad 9.7 5th Gen? We are interested to hear your findings please share in the comments section below.