It is believed that Apple’s decision to reduce the iPad 2’s thickness (from 0.8 mm to 0.6 mm) will cause some durability issues, for example, the screen may break more easily.
However, some experts argue that the iPad has anticipated this possibility by introducing a more flexible material. It may be surprising to know that the incidence of broken screen on the original iPad is lower than the iPhone and iPod Touch.
The iPad 2 uses thinner glass layer, which equals to higher flexibility. For example, the thinner screen may actually absorb slower, low elevation collisions better because the higher flexibility allows more time for deceleration. Unfortunately, the thinner glass is more vulnerable to quick collision with smaller point of impact.
Some analysts believe that the glass material used on the iPad 2’s screen is less delicate and tougher compared to the one used on its predecessor. On the original iPad, the glass is thicker and fixed with metal clip to the case. The glass on the iPad 2 is very flexible and behaves almost like a plastic sheet. It is very difficult to shatter it and to break it we need a hard collision with a sharp, hard edge.
The glass on the iPad 2 is probably related to the aluminosilicate material used to cover both sides of the iPhone 4. Analysts connected the aluminosilicate material to “Gorilla Glass” manufactured by Corning. However, because Apple doesn’t call it aluminosilicate there is a possibility that the glass on the iPad 2 is actually “Dragontrail Glass” supplied by Asahi Glass Co. Visually, Dragontrail closely resembles Gorilla Glass. There is no solid proof that the iPad 2’s screen uses Dragontail, however Asahi’s announcement on the January 2011 may hint that it is actually the current supplier for the iPad 2 glass.
There are also some arguments about Smart Cover’s ability to protect the iPad 2 from accidents. It appears that Smart Cover can still offer a decent protection against minor to moderate bumps. So, because the screen is tough enough and it is unlikely that you will run into too many risky situations, using Smart Cover is likely enough. There are two options of Smart Cover, $69 for leather and $39 for polyurethane. It appears that the leather cover can absorb shock slightly better.
However, the Smart Cover may not be enough to protect the iPad 2 from more violent accidents such as hard drop on the corner.