I haven't needed my car's seatbelt for years, but still wear it. My dry application screen protector is invisible, and allows me not to worry. It can be peeled off in seconds, but scratches can't. Zagg protectors are another story, and those are not invisible.....
I've put my iPads (old 2, current 4) through some serious abuse. I have only used smart covers. I tried screen protectors (a zagg and bodyguards) on the iPad 2 and found they made it a miserable user experience. The Zagg was the worst by far.
The only scratch I ever got on the screen was on the iPad 2 when I tried to use the smart cover to clean finger prints off to it. There was a speck of something between the cover and the screen and I gouged it in. fortunately, I couldn't see it when the screen turned on. It was just irritating knowing it was there.
You really don't need a screen protector, in my opinion. iPads are built to withstand a ton of abuse.
Not this time. My Air screen is so easy to clean. A few puffs of breath and a soft cloth and she's like brand new. Screen protectors are so hard to get on right and reduce the image quality of the device from what I see.
I use a case to protect my iPads but never a screen protector and I've never had a scratch. I am the only one who ever uses my iPad however and if children are using it I would want a screen protector in place.
Have used Otterboxes on all iDevices until this last one. I use a Crowne book style case now with no screen protection. I like the feel of less bulk and clearer screen. I spray and micro towel every couple of days.
I never use screen protectors on iPads, but I do on my iPhone. And I've never had any scratches on any of my iPads. That being said, like many here, I DO use a Smart Cover, which protects it enough around the house. And when I go out, I put it ina sleeve.
First generation iPad - no protector, no scratches. Wrap-around case? Absolutely yes.
My philosophy is that damage is most likely to happen in transit. In transit, a screen protector is far less protective than a cover (Smart or otherwise). Impact worries me far more than scratches, and with a case, I'm covered for both.
For what it's worth... Yes, a screen protector preserves the oleophobic coating. In fact, the coating never gets used at all. That sounds good if you're planning to sell your device when you're done with it, but I far prefer the feel of the naked screen to any of the screen protectors I've tried. I'm just not the type to sacrifice my own user experience in order to enhance resale value. If I've used a tool so much that the surface finish wears off, then the tool has more than paid for itself.
IMHO personal electronics should work for YOU not the other way around. That doesn't necessarily mean don't use a screen protector but just keep things in perspective. It is a tablet not a baby. If you don't use a screen protector because you don't want to, Apple services isn't going to come and take your iPad away for negligence. Worst thing that is going to happen is maybe you get a scratch. If that is completely unacceptable to you, use a screen protector. Otherwise live with the (small) risk that this might happen.
In my experience I haven't needed a screen protector but I am also probably not going to get one because I use a stylus with my iPad and don't want a screen protector interfering with that. I did stupidly drop a phone onto my iPad's screen when I was half asleep but thankfully no damage was done.
I stopped using screen protectors with my latest iPad and have been pleased with the experience. The touch screen just feels so much better without a screen protector, not to mention fingerprints are much less of an issue.
i find that with a smart cover on, the screen is adequately protected. I even stopped going with a screen protector on my iPhone, although that one is making me a bit more nervous.
Never believed in using a screen protector for iPads myself, but I'm a huge fan of glass screen protectors for my iPhone. iPhone goes with me everywhere and much more prone to being dropped or put somewhere where objects may come close to it. Having played with iPads that are protected by some kind of protector, something just felt kind of off.