There aren’t many accessories on the market that I wait with anticipation to get my hands on. But, when there are, they’re generally made by Twelve South. The company has built a solid reputation for creating well-designed and beautiful accessories for Apple devices, and the Rutledge BookBook series is about the most beautiful collection yet. And they’re available for iPad Air, iPad mini and MacBook.
Like the standard BookBook cases, the Rutledge series is made predominantly from leather and is designed to look like an old, classic book. Apart from looking fantastic, the book design is also a – sort of – security feature. If someone breaks in to your house looking for valuable gadgets and gizmos, the last thing they’ll be wanting to grab is an old leather-bound book. But unlike the original series, the Rutledge cases are each individual and unique because not one case looks like the next.
This is thanks mostly to the way the cow hide reacts to the colors used to create the gorgeous cherry sunburst effect. Not one piece of leather will react the same way to the color, and so you end up with each BookBook in the series being completely unique. Each piece of leather has different creases, and is hand-worn giving it a unique set of wear marks and scuffs. I have the iPad mini, iPad Air and MacBook Air versions of this case, and they’re all slightly different colors with different patterns and marks on all of them. Even the front and back of the same case don’t always match perfectly. I love that.
Apart from some gold embossed lines and icons in the corners, the front is completely unadorned. The rear is similar, except that it has Twelve South’s company logo embossed near the bottom edge. The spine – similar to other BookBooks – has the gold BookBook logo and “Vol XII” gold lettering printed on, as well as a handful of raised ridges. All adding to the classic, leather-bound book feel.
Rutledge BookBook for MacBook Air
Once you open the case, using the leather-tap equipped zip fasteners, you get a peak at the inside. Both front and back are lined with a minimal black microfiber/felt material which looks and feels great. If you go for the MacBook case, that’s pretty much all you get. There are two elasticated strips which slide over the corners of your MacBook’s display. That way you can open your notebook as you open up the case. Very simple. Very useful.
The iPad versions are very different to the MacBook case. Your tablet (Air or mini) is held in its own bespoke black leather sleeve. On the bottom edge is a cutout for your Lightning port and holes over the stereo speakers. You also have cutouts for the volume and mute buttons, as well as the 3.5mm jack, power button and microphones on the top edge. Charging using Apple’s own Lightning cables is easy enough, the cutout is more than big enough. But, I did struggle with a larger third party cable I’m keen on using. What’s more, using any kind of dock is out of the question.
Rutledge BookBook for iPad Air/mini
What I love about the leather sleeve is the attention to detail on the front. It’s taken for granted that any company would leave access to the FaceTime camera and home button. But, leaving small curved indents on the right and left edges just in case you need to access Notification Center or Control Center when in landscape mode is very thorough. A little touch I very much enjoyed.
With the BookBook you do also get a variety of viewing angles to choose from. Underneath the sleeve is a built-in kick-stand which holds it at a comfortable typing angle. But, resting the iPad on the inside of the front cover, I could create an almost infinite number of viewing angles. It fell over once I approached 90-degrees perpendicular to the surface, but I was impressed nonetheless. It didn’t slip out of position once.
Now you won’t get Otterbox-style protection, or waterproofing for your iPad or Mac with these cases. But then again, if you’re looking in to these you already know that. The cases are sturdy and protective enough to keep your iPad from being harmed from bumps and scrapes through the day. They’re portable, but not particularly light. So you can carry them around on their own all day, or just as easily slip them in to a messenger back or backpack.
So what we have in the end is a beautiful, versatile and unique set of cases made by a company that seemingly doesn’t know how to make a bad product. If you’re after an authentic, leather case for your iPad Air, iPad mini or MacBook Air/Pro, don’t even consider anything else. The Rutledge BookBook by Twelve South is virtually perfect in every way.
In the UK, they’re now all available for pre-order, prices range from £69.99-£89.99 depending on model.