Twelve South BookBook iPhone 13
Twelve South BookBook iPad Pro 12.9
I still own my original iPad. It sits on a shelf carefully encased in a Twelve South BookBook case. The case resembles a fine leather book. While the bookish exterior of the BookBook Series has remained relatively consistent, save the volume number printed on the spine, the interior has undergone extensive renovations that make them ideal for the latest iPhones. The latest iPad Pro case also looks great, but it needs to take a magnetic queue from its iPhone brother to be considered as innovative and up-to-date.
What we like
The premium leather case continues to be a book lover’s dream with a classic raised rib spine with worn, golden embossing. Sit it on a shelf among leather tomes and no one would think iPad or iPhone. Retrieve it from a shelf or desk and discover a very modern interior.
The iPhone BookBook ($69.99) excels in the new MagSafe compatible design. The older BookBooks were one piece. The phone fit inside the case and snapped into a plastic frame on the back of the folio. That is no longer the case. The latest BookBook employs MagSafe to attach the phone to the back of the leather cover.
Twelve South’s MagSafe support is brilliant. It offers a basic case that supports charging while allowing BookBook owners to upgrade their style and phone protection with the snap of magnet-on-magnet. A magnetic tab keeps the case closed when not in use.
MagSafe allows BookBook users to easily remove the phone and place it on MagSafe compatible accessories for charging or display, such as on a car dashboard. The bottom of the interior MagSafe case offers easy access to charging, speakers, and microphones.
Despite the MagSafe re-design, the BookBook still works as a stand. Forcefully at first, and then more giving, the back case bends in half, the upper part of the magnetic back adhering to the top of the folded back panel, leaving the iPhone stilling at a good viewing tilt.
As Apple increases the camera array, it has forced Twelve South to whittle away at the upper left corner of BookBook’s back cover, which equates, like the camera array, to nearly one-sixth of the entire back.
With the BookBook for iPhone, the front part of the case interior includes slots for business cards or credit cards, and a clear ID slot as well.
The iPad Pro BookBook features the same design, save that it retains the earlier design of a permanent interior plastic case for the iPad Pro, and a zipper around the entire case rather than a magnetic tab. It uses magnets to hold down a flip plate that transforms the case into typing-position. The magnets also hold the entire plastic enclosure for the iPad–a missed opportunity to go one step further, as you will read in the “What could be improved” section below.
When enclosed in the case, I feel my iPhone or iPad is as secure as it can be without being sheathed in a Kevlar case with layers of padding. I have dropped my BookBook ensconced iPhone a few times and retrieved it from the floor without a nick, scratch, or crack.
You can’t find a prettier, more protective wallet case on the market.
What could be improved
I find the iPhone BookBook nearly functionally ideal. The iPad Pro version needs to take queues from the iPhone version. While the iPad Pro does not offer MagSafe charging, it does offer powerful magnets for attaching it to accessories. I would like to see Twelve South take those magnets into account by perhaps removing the plastic case and allowing the iPad to attach directly to the backplane of the case, or design a special thin case that would allow the magnetic field or the passthrough to magnets embedded in the back of the case. Same deal as MagSafe, but the iPad Pro isn’t designed for layers, so Twelve South might need to experiment a bit.
If they took this approach, it would improve the overall value of the iPad/iPad Pro cases making them more flexible without eliminating the end state of an iPad in a BookBook–instead of removing the iPad from BookBook’s plastic interior to place it on a stand for video conferencing. As with the MagSafe iPhone, lifting it off the case would allow for reorientation, or less awkward use of the camera, without losing the beauty of the leather exterior. The typing kick-stand, however, challenges this design idea, but I am sure there is a way to incorporate it.
And only Twelve South can engineer this solution. They have already come a long way from inconsistent leather pockets and other approaches. Leveraging the iPad’s rear magnets (as they do with their own magnetic features) would create a unique storage and user experience for iPad users, and I think, sell more BookBooks because some of their inconvenient moments, like holding them steady while the case flops below the iPad while taking a picture, would go away.
Twelve South BookBook: The Bottom Line
Twelve South’s BookBook is a sturdy, beautiful, conversation starter of a case for iPhone 13. The introduction of MagSafe on the case is perfect for even the biggest iPhones. The iPad Pro 12.9 is a solid addition to the BookBook line, but it would benefit from leveraging the iPad Pro’s magnetic back. Classic designs and well-made leather folios enhance the elegance already associated with Apple’s products.
Twelve South provided the BookBook for review. Images courtesy of Twelve South unless otherwise noted.
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