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Logitech’s ‘Rugged Combo’ iPad keyboard case looks like it can take a beating

Coinciding with Tuesday’s launch of a new iPad, Logitech has unveiled a keyboard and case for Apple’s latest tablet, though it also works with other iPads sporting the same dimensions. Sold as the “Rugged Combo,” the kit is aimed primarily at school kids and educators and has been designed in partnership with Apple.

As its name helpfully suggests, the device features a robust design to help protect it from drops of up to six feet, water splashes, and the kind of general knocks and scrapes it’ll likely experience inside — and outside — of a busy classroom. While some will be quick to give the chunky Rugged Combo low marks for looks, it’s a safe bet that kids won’t give two hoots about the design just so long as they can get their hands on a tablet during school hours.

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Focusing on the case component, we see that it incorporates a handy kick-back stand with mechanical hinges enabling it to be set at a range of angles. Importantly, Logitech promises it can comfortably handle “aggressive tapping” without suddenly collapsing.

The keyboard, meanwhile, physically connects to the 9.7-inch iPad using Logitech’s proprietary connector and draws its power directly from Apple’s tablet so you won’t have to charge the keyboard separately or worry about it losing juice. The company notes that “keyboard power consumption is optimized to use minimal power.”

Logitech says the device, which includes a row of short-cut and function keys for speedier operation, offers a “familiar, laptop-like typing” experience for ease of use.

“The Logitech Rugged Combo for the new 9.7-inch iPad is built from the ground up with personalized learning in mind,” Michele Hermann, Logitech vice president of mobility, said in a release. “We worked with Apple to design the Rugged Combo to be incredibly durable and protect the iPad while bringing a secure keyboard connection that’s approved for testing, so teachers and students can focus on expanding what’s possible inside the classroom and beyond.”

The kit will also be available as two separate components. Pricing hasn’t yet been announced, though all will be revealed later this week when Logitech’s new offering hits Apple’s education site.

While Apple has long been targeting U.S. schools with its computers and tablets, recent research published in a NY Times report this month suggested that in the last four years the Cupertino, California-based company has lost a lot of the market to Chromebooks made by a variety of companies, while Windows devices for school applications have also started to sell in greater numbers.

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