There's no denial that iPads are like “Neighbor's envy Owners pride”.
And they are costly too. Apple has released both ipad 2 and the new iPad (iPad 3) with a price tag starting at $499. Although iPads pack an excellent build with toughened glass screen and strong aluminium rear shell casing, have you ever wondered what actually will happen if you drop your iPad accidentally?
Well, the results are not that encouraging. Here's a video with a real-life experiment on dropping an iPad to the ground-
The glass screen pretty much covers the entire front portion. So if its a nose dive, there's bound to be some real damage depending on where it fell and from what height. The toughened glass can take a lot of impact and won't just shatter away, but its not enough to absorb all the impact if your iPad falls off the table. The rear portion has a good chance of survival though because of its metallic/porcelain build.
So the verdict - iPad is not fall-proof.
Its always a good idea to buy a protective cover, especially if you have naughty little hands on the lookout for adventures in your house. Even better, you could go for the smart cover from Apple which gives extra features like auto sleep/wakeup and convenient magnetic locking.
While choosing a cover, the most important thing is that it should be able to protect the front screen and the sides. In both drop tests, the iPads survived a blow in the back without any issues. Its the front that is more fragile, easy to break and costlier to fix.
Finally, here are some iPad cover designs to look at before you go shopping -