PU is mainstream, while PU microfiber and genuine leather are favored in upscale versions.
China’s leather cases for the iPad generally depend on updates in the tablet PC. At present, many suppliers are emphasizing variants that suit the iPad 2, but those for the earlier version are still offered. Slim form factors and multifunctionality are the major trends. For the latter, some companies incorporate a Bluetooth keyboard for added value. Varieties with this feature are about $11 more expensive than regular types. Prices are from $18 to $30, with units typically made of genuine or PU leather and having a magnetic clasp or elastic band.
|This PU leather model from Shenzhen Kojer has a magnetic-snap closure and is available in custom designs, sizes and colors.|
The JPL-097 model from Shenzhen Jame's Style Co. Ltd has a Bluetooth keyboard, doubles as a stand and is suitable for the iPad 2. It comes in PU or genuine leather and in various colors.
The selection in China comprises PU, including PU microfiber, and genuine leather. The first accounts for 70 to 80 percent of total output, driven mainly by the category’s comparatively lower prices. Quotes range from $2.30 to $6.
Genuine leather and PU microfiber are preferred for midrange and high-end units as they exhibit better wearability and cold resistance, and have a longer life span. Manufacturers concentrating on upscale models are therefore adopting these materials for the bulk of output. At Shenzhen GG&MM Industrial Co. Ltd, the first version accounts for 60 percent of yield, PU microfiber 20 percent, and PU the rest. Genuine leather also makes up 60 percent of Shenzhen Jame’s Style’s production.
PU microfiber kinds are between $5 and $7, while genuine leather variants list from $6.50 to $15.
Most suppliers in the line provide silicone and fabric cases as well.
Regardless of category, a magnetic clasp is a typical feature. Some releases can be folded or shaped into a triangle to function as a stand, making reading, watching videos and typing easier. Several have an elastic band for use in a car.
Many enterprises are optimistic about the industry, having seen a more than 20 percent increase in output in 1H11 compared with the same period last year. Shenzhen Jame's Style, for instance, reported yield has already risen by up to 30 percent. Shenzhen GG&MM said its current output of 36,000 cases a month is 50 percent higher than the previous year. This is in response to the projected jump in iPad shipments from 14 million units in 2010 to 36 million this year. It is also for this reason that manufacturers of cases for mobile phones and other portable electronic devices are including models for the popular tablet PC.
|Shenzhen GG&MM’s model G5806 genuine leather case doubles as a stand and suits the iPad 2.|
Amid the rosy outlook, prices are expected to increase by 10 to 15 percent in coming months should production costs continue to climb. Last year, many companies implemented markups of more than 10 percent due to higher labor and material outlay and the appreciating yuan. Expenses on manpower, for instance, rose by about 30 percent especially in coastal areas such as Guangdong province, where the majority of makers are based. Rates for PU and genuine leather, meanwhile, soared by 20 percent.
Suppliers are therefore adopting several strategies to control spending better and in turn offer competitive quotes, which are their main advantage over foreign rivals. Shenzhen Jame's Style will strengthen internal management and boost sales to buffer elevated expenditure. Its R&D initiatives will revolve around models with value additions and higher margins. Shenzhen GG&MM, meanwhile, is planning to build recognition worldwide after successfully launching its own brand in the domestic market. It will also increase automation.
Other manufacturers will purchase leather skiving and laser cutting machines to improve efficiency. Currently, only a few large companies own these equipment due to high costs.
|This PU leather case from H&Y is suitable for iPad 1 and 2 and comes in various colors.|
Hong Kong suppliers of leather cases for the iPad are directing R&D efforts toward models with value enhancements to attract buyers. Among the practical innovations are solar-charging versions, which incorporate a solar panel on the front cover to power up the embedded Li-polymer battery with up to 4.4Ah capacity. Another add-on is an integrated mini keyboard, usually a Bluetooth-enabled variant. Units for the iPad 2 also support magnetic auto-wake/sleep function.
Some makers bundle other accessories such as screen protectors and cleaning cloths with their products. Several include business card pockets and penholders as well.
Leather cases are among the best-selling accessories for the iPad from the territory. Most come in folio or folder design. They allow the device to stand upright or horizontally through an attached base or a folding front cover. Various colors are offered, with a number of companies having more than 10 choices per model. In many instances, the designs are available in modified versions to suit other popular devices such as Samsung’s Galaxy Tab.
The material used is either genuine or imitation leather. The first includes cowhide, and sheep- and goatskin, and the latter is typically PU. Some variants come with a velvet interior or microfiber lining to help keep the iPad screen clean.
Products have an elastic strip, belt with a metallic snap, Velcro flap, magnet or zipper closure. The first may double as a car headrest mount in several releases.
Other styles such as pouch and woven leather are likewise provided. For sturdier protection, various iPad cases have hard PC shells with a leather cover.
Fashionable embellishments include decorative metal studs, glossy finish and logo embossment. Stitching not only keeps the leather sheets together but also adds to the overall appeal of the products.
Hong Kong has at least 30 suppliers in the line. H&Y Industrial Ltd is among those that offer models for both the iPad 1 and 2. Its team of 30 engineers and designers works with clients on the desired trim, color and material. Mobo HK Ltd’s various cases for the iPad 1 and 2 are made of PU leather. It also releases accessories for other mobile digital devices and consumer electronics. OGM (Asia) Ltd provides one-stop service for OEM design and manufacturing of cases for the iPad and iPhone. Its selection includes leather, TPU, silicone and PC variants.
H&Y Industrial Ltd
Model: Flip Leather Case For iPad
Mobo HK Ltd
Model: Leather Full Case For iPad 2
OGM (Asia) Ltd
Model: Leather Case For iPad
Shenzhen GG&MM Industrial Co. Ltd
Shenzhen Jame's Style Co. Ltd
Note: This article "Leather cases for iPad 2 dominate production" was originally published by Global Sources, a leading business-to-business media company and a primary facilitator of trade with China manufacturers and India suppliers, providing essential sourcing information to volume buyers through our e-magazines, trade shows and industry research.
All price quotes in this report are in US dollars unless otherwise specified. FOB prices were provided by the companies interviewed only as reference prices at the time of interview and may have changed.
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