About a few months ago, I was looking around for a nice leather iPad cover. I thought I'd share some of the findings from my research for anyone else thinking of getting the same.
I was prepared to pay a bit more for a genuine leather product which would last for a long time (although not necessarily just paying for a "brand name"), rather than a faux-leather mass-made product. Reading the product description is important: unless they actually say "genuine leather", descriptions like "leather-look" or "feels like leather" can hide the fact that the product is, in fact, synthetic leather. For genuine leathers, sometimes they will also include details like what kind of leather was used or how it was prepared or dyed, which is useful to know (e.g. for product care.)
The one I eventually ordered was from Oberon Design (Leather covers and cases for the iPad, Kindle, Nook and our famous journals) - they offer about 15 different designs for iPad cases, each in three colours. As all their items are made-to-order, it took three days to manufacture my cover, and another two weeks for it to arrive by transpacific parcel mail. Oberon's covers aren't cheap, but they are comparable with other leather covers in the same price range. Their designs are absolutely gorgeous and made from unsealed aniline leather, which mean it's more rugged for daily wear-and-tear - I can attest to that having used it for a few weeks already.
I looked at well over a dozen other vendors and their products, and some of the more notable ones included:
1. Piel Frama -- iPhone 4 cases iPad cases Leather cases for PDA Smartphone Laptop Manufacturer
Spanish company. I liked their cover with the tabbed enclosure. I found a local vendor which was selling the cover design I wanted for 25% less than their website, and this was going to be my first choice until I found the Oberon.
2. Sena Cases -- Sena Cases - Designer Leather Cases : BlackBerry case, iPhone case, Treo case, iPod Touch case, and other PDA cases
Their flat-$10 worldwide UPS shipping plus engraving service made them quite price-attractive compared with Piel Frama. I had the chance to see and hold one (the Folio design) in the Sydney Apple shop - and realized that while it was really nice, ultimately it was just a bit too minimalist - i.e. another "expensive-looking-but-oh-so-boring-executive" folio.
3. Vaja -- Vaja - Leather Products
These are the absolute Rolls-Royce of leather cases, but the exceptionally high price, long waiting times (45-60 days!) and a whole slew of negative customer reviews online made it easy to say not take the risk. But it's great website just to look and drool, though.
4. DodoCase "Moleskine" -- iPad Cases by DODOcase
This is the most popular "Moleskine-lookalike" case which has been getting lots of good word-of-mouth. However, the three-week waiting period and high shipping cost made it quite pricey, nudging into the lower end of the genuine leather price ballpark. I did find the similar-looking M-Edge Trip Journal (M-Edge | Products | Trip Jacket for Apple iPad) as well as other Moleskine-cover clones like Caveman Cases (Caveman Case Co — Welcome). I did seriously consider going Moleskine for a while, before realizing I really wanted a leather folio after all.
5. More -- More-Thing.com
Not too many designs, but they do offer a range of alternatives like neoprene and faux leather in addition to full grain cowhide covers and slipcases. This was more of having another vendor for product and price comparison.
Not quite "leather", but I thought I'd mention this in passing. Based on their original product for Macbooks, TwelfthSouth offers a cover called a BookBook(sic) for iPad. Interesting approach and not quite what I was looking for - but I can see how it'd appeal to hardcore bibliophiles.
I also found any number of Asian-based vendors on eBay offering unbranded genuine leather covers for "too-good-to-be-true" prices. However, without really knowing if the descriptions are indeed accurate or quality of the workmanship, plus the hassle of having go through with a dispute if something went wrong, it was a risk I decided not to take.
Final word of advice - if you're buying online, before checking out always always always Google "(brand name) coupon code". Sometimes you will find a coupon code that gives you a discount on your order - I found discount codes for some of the above vendors which would give free shipping, 25% discounts, etc.