Logitech’s Rugged Combo 2 keyboard case for the iPad is not likely to be something you’ll want to buy. It’s just too big for most. It’s very, very rugged, surrounding the device in a huge plastic block that feels like it could protect the glass inside from nearly anything. (Logitech says it’s good for up to a four-foot drop, but I bet it could handle more.) You won’t really be able to buy it anyway; it’s designed for the education market.
But I am here to tell you that it is fascinating. The spill-proof keyboard doesn’t connect via Bluetooth, but instead via a custom smart connector Logitech developed, which passes through to the Lightning port inside the case. The keyboard is therefore removable (it attaches by a strong magnet) and can be replaced with a simple cover.
The thing stands up via a kickstand on the back. That means, when the keyboard is attached, it basically looks like a big, blocky Surface Pro.
Apple says teachers asked for a non-Bluetooth keyboard option for classrooms, so they wouldn’t have to muck around with pairing them to iPads. That makes sense! It makes so much sense that you sort of wish the iPad itself had a smart keyboard connector.
The case itself is very difficult to take off (we couldn’t manage to do it), which is by design: if kids never take it out of the case, they’ll be less likely to break their iPads. It also has a pass-through Lightning connector. Perhaps the most pragmatic touch is a little clear window underneath the Surface-esque kickstand. That’s there because schools usually put stickers on the back of the iPad to identify them.
Schools will be able to buy the Rugged Combo 2 case this summer.