Wood is the perfect complement to tech. As mere consumers, wood calms us whilst surrounding more complicated hardware. It provides warmth. It is accessible. And it looks brilliant.
I was an early adopter. The television I grew up with was a wood-blocked behemoth that took both parents to move across our jungle of shag carpet; a task embarked upon only once a year, when we needed to make room for a Christmas tree. Wood has received a wonderful resurgence in the design community of late, with some covet-worthy examples in this desk set and the Monolith iPhone back, lovingly reviewed in April on this very site.
You can imagine my delight, then, when Charlie Sorrel posted about the Miniot Cover Mark Two, or Mk2, this spring. Dissatisfied with most covers I’ve tried for the new iPad, I had to get my hands on the Mk2. And what a dapper little devil it turned out to be.
If only I had an Eames lounge chair to review this in. The Mk2 just exudes design chic. To perfectly match your own style, it is available in a stunning array of woods, from a juicy padouk to an elegant mahogany. I chose the walnut, because it was the clear winner in the What Would Don Draper Do? game. (A fine way to pick out home furnishings and whiskey-based cocktails; perhaps not so much for personal relationships.) It was clear the moment my Mk2 arrived that I had made the right decision. It is an exceptionally handsome product.
The walnut is rich and smooth. A tasteful Miniot stamp at the bottom left adds an immediate aura of Mid-Century sophistication. The tactile pleasure of holding this thing is almost overwhelming. I can’t stop touching it. And the attention it receives, from friends and random strangers? Through the roof. The general population has now grown used to the sight of the iPad, but do you know what still drives them to wonder? Wood. And magnets. Combining the two as an alternative to the Smart Cover was a genius move. Every time I roll the ten little panels back, I feel a bit of a thrill. It just looks so damn good.
Unfortunately, Miniot’s mission to create the aesthete’s Smart Cover is not entirely without flaw. When rolled back, as for typing or watching a video, the structural weakness of the hinge invites a lot of flopping over. Additionally, the wood meets the Ultrasuede backing rather abruptly near the hinge, which can — and will — dig into your hand. After reading with the Mk2 on the iPad for an hour, I had an angry red mark on the palm on my hand.
There is one more detraction, and this one is a bugger. Do you cook? Don’t do it near the Mk2. My iPad gets more use in the kitchen than almost anywhere else. I needed to bake a pie the other day, so I rolled back the cover, opened the recipe I needed, and started measuring the flour. It was only after that I realized what a mistake I had made. Anything crumbly will get into the grooves of the Mk2. Anything. And it looks atrocious when it does. I used a small brush to clean out the gunk, but I can say this to you with absolute certainty: If you’re the kind of person who values good design, the gunk problem will turn into a point of neurotic obsession. Unlike leather, which can age well with wear, wood keeps you in a constant concern of maintaining perfection.
Despite hurting my hand and unhinging my neuroses, I still love the thing. It’s just too handsome to be denied. If you’re like me and don’t mind occasionally having to suffer for fashion, you can order one directly from the Miniot site. The Standard sits at €69, or $89. Customization options start at €89, or $114, and include personal engraving, mixing wood tones, and six different colors of Ultrasuede. Construction and shipping from the Netherlands takes about three weeks.