Apple's Smart Cover was first introduced along side the iPad 2. According to Apple, they were designed together. So unique was the implementation, Apple put out commercials featuring the Smart Cover. Three iPads later, and the Smart Cover gets its first refresh. Let's take a quick look to see what has changed.
At first glance, you will be hard pressed to see the differences. Perhaps you will notice that the covers come in a few new, fruity colors. Look closer, and you will spot the first, substantive difference. The new covers only have three sections compared to the four sections of the old one. That makes a huge difference. Here's why:
The four folds made for a smaller base. That meant that, upright, the iPad was less stable. Geometry is not my strong suit, so I will leave it to someone else to explain the details. The net result is that with the new cover, the iPad Air can stand on its own without risk of tipping over when poked and prodded.
If you are familiar with the Smart Cover for the mini, this one is exactly the same as that one. That means that it has a fabric-covered fitting instead of the metal. It will not scratch the iPad. Furthermore, it fits much more snugly than the last one. It is easily strong enough to turn the iPad Air into a large, refrigerator magnet. It takes effort to remove it from the iPad. It will not be coming off by accident.
Like previous Smart Covers, the magnets are still not strong enough to stay in place when folded over on the back side of the iPad. That is a minor annoyance that Apple stubbornly, refuses to fix. That is the only con I can think of for an! otherwise! excellent accessory. If you don't mind walking a little on the wild side, the Smart Cover may be the only case you need.