The iPad is not even 6 months old yet and it has already become the tablet of choice. Once again Apple has revolutionized how we interact with our digital world. In honour of the iPad’s 5 month we have put together a gallery showcasing the very best iPad accessories we’ve reviewed this year. From iPad cases, covers and slips, to bags, stands, chargers and skins. It’s great to see so much innovation in the market and such a fine stable of accessories already available. Click the arrow on an image above to flip it over for more information and a link to the review.
UPDATE: Otterbox Defender is now available for iPad 2 as well.
You can choose the Otterbox Defender for your iPad here.
Otterbox Defender is one of the best iPad cases in terms of protection and functionality. Its innovative, award-winning design and its high-quality materials recommend Otterbox Defender as a heavy-duty, rugged iPad case for high-risk environments. We liked it very much that the solid protection didn’t obstruct the normal use of the iPad, everything being easily accessible. Even the dock connector can be accessed with the case on, thanks to a removable dock door. This enables docking the iPad without having to remove it from the case. This dock door and the silicone plugs covering the other iPad ports provide excellent protection against dust.
Otterbox Defender iPad case features and specs:
- Three layers of protection: a two-piece, hi-impact polycarbonate hard shell, a durable silicone skin and a self-adhering clear protective film. Thanks to the two-parts construction, the hard shell fits really tight, preventing the iPad from moving inside the case. As an additional caution, the hard shell is coated with a soft material, thus ensuring the iPad won’t get scratched by the case itself.
- Clip on polycarbonate shield for the iPad screen, which snaps easily on the back of the case when not needed and which doubles as a fold-out stand. This creative solution allows two possible viewing angles. Unfortunately it works only in landscape orientation, but this is not a major drawback, all movies fitting the landscape format anyway.
- Silicone plugs which enable access to all buttons and ports
- Silicone grip pads on the bottom of the case, keeping the iPad stable and preventing it from slipping off desks or tables.
- Removable tag for the docking port, allowing the iPad to be used with the official dock from Apple.
- Clear membrane over the Apple logo, leaving it visible yet very well protected.
- Case weight (with the screen shield): 20.7 oz
- Case weight without the shield: 13.6 oz
- Case size: 99.99″ x 7.89″ x 0.94″
Otterbox Defender is amongst the few iPad cases that are drop, bump, shock, scratch and dust-proof. Most cases only protect against minor shocks or bumps and scratches. This is why they may be cheaper than the really sturdy ones like the Otterbox Defender. If you don’t need protection against drops for your iPad, you may be fine with an inexpensive case. However, if you want solid, reliable protection whether you’re in the Military, an outdoors fan or you have a naughty toddler in your house, Otterbox Defender is one of the best iPad hard cases money can buy.
The Booq Taipan Shadow S is one of our favorite bags and has rightfully made its way onto our list of best iPad bags. The style and functionality of this bag, combined with its superior manufacturing quality and reasonable price tag have earned this bag a 5 start rating from our team.
The Taipan Shadow S is an iPad messenger bag which can accommodate the iPad, or a small notebook if you wish. Internal dimensions are 12.8” x 9.4” x 1.3”. The bag looks very compact, but you’ll be surprised how much room there is inside for all your iPad accessories.
The Taipan Shadow iPad bag is made from ballistic polyester, which makes it lightweight, yet very protective and durable. All internal compartments are padded and the interior is made of a super soft plush material, so no accidental scratches putting your iPad in or out of the bag. The adjustable shoulder strap is made from seat belt nylon, which is sturdy, comfortable and obviously very, very strong. Comfort is increased by the shoulder pad which is not fixed on the strap, leaving you the choice of setting it in the position that suits you best. Although the bag doesn’t have a classic handle, it features a recessed holder on the back side, which can be used as a handle when needed. Another cool feature is the zipper-opened luggage trolley pass-through which can be used as a pocket when you don’t need to attach your bag to a trolley. The two front pockets are in fact a single one, the separation being done via snaps. This is a very clever idea: the storage space converts from small to big by simply opening the snaps to allow the two pockets to merge into a single, bigger one. The interior of the bag is well-organized, with plenty of pockets, pen slots and other compartments that enable quick access to items such as your charger, phone, documents and pens. There’s even a handy keyfob available, in case you may want to use it to find your keys really fast. All zippers are YKK, the bag is durable and nicely finished.
The Taipan Shadow S from Booq comes in two color options: charcoal with contrasting blue accents and a very nice black with orange accents. It’s a bag that makes you feel ninja-like when wearing it, while still being incredibly functional.
The best price we found was at eBags for $79.99, with free shipping and a 5 year warranty you can’t go wrong. You can also find the Taipan Shadow S on BooqBags.com.
The Stabile iPad Stand is a beautiful and elegant way to use your iPad when your hands are busy doing other things. It’s also a stylish way to display your iPad as a designer object around the home or office. You could set it up with a slideshow of images for example and seat it on your dresser. And it is also complimented very nicely by the Apple iPad wireless keyboard, as seen in the image to the right.
If you want to grab a Stabile iPad stand right now then the lowest price we could find was on Amazon, If you’re not convinced yet then read on for our review of the Stabile.
One of the things that is so cool about the Apple iPad is that browsing the web on the touch screen really feels like you hold the internet in your hand. However, if you could only ask your hand what it thinks about that, you might get a not so positive answer. Again, if you want to use the virtual keyboard, you may find it rather difficult to type while holding your iPad. There are lots of other situations in which an accessory like a stand or a holder is required to get the most out of your iPad. Think how nice it would be if you could have those cool recipes websites just under your nose while you cook.
While there are iPad cases that can also be used as a stand, we found some of them being quite unstable and wobbly, thus exposing the iPad to the risk of falling when you less expect it. Even the Apple iPad dock feels a bit insecure, because it’s lightweight and small, therefore the center of gravity of the iPad-dock assembly is too high to be safe. Such small accessories are excellent for travels or business meetings, but when using the iPad at home there are much better solutions. One of these solutions is the Stabile iPad stand. Made from a single sheet of solid American steel, this stand weighs 2.5 times the weight of an iPad. Its center of gravity is low enough to secure a very good stability, very hard to find in common docks, stands or holders.
Although solid, the Stabile iPad stand has an artistic shape, featuring elegant rounded edges and curves. If you don’t know it, you won’t guess the stand weighs almost 4 lbs. The functional aspect has also been thoroughly considered. The stand features anti slip and non-skid polyurethane feet, high-quality protective Santoprene padding for all areas where it gets in contact with the iPad. All these features, as well as the split back cable management solution are usual characteristics of all such products from Thought Out, a reputable manufacturer of innovative stand holders for various personal electronics products such as iPhone, iPod or GPS.
The Stabile iPad stand allows using the iPad in either landscape or portrait view, with or without a protection case. It provides free access to all ports, so you can use your iPad with any other accessories you need, without any problem. The viewing angle is preset at 55 degrees. This could be perceived as a small drawback, however that particular angle has been proven to be optimal in combination with the stand height of 3.6” from desk to bottom of the iPad. The stand is available in two finish variants, silver and low texture black. Both of them look awesome, so you can choose the one that suits best your personal preference or your interior decoration style.
You can buy this iPad stand from Amazon. The black model is $49.99 and the silver one is $69.99, an elegant and functional addition to your home or office.
I found an indispensable gadget last week that I’m now using every day – not just with my iPad, but for books too. I carry it everywhere with me as it folds away to almost nothing – it’s called the BookGem and it’s a beautifully designed stand for your iPad, book, or anything else you may be reading.
If you are like me, you enjoy taking advantage of highly specialized gadgets like the Kindle or iPad that other people regard as almost useless.
“Why use the Amazon Kindle when you can read e-books on your good old laptop? Why get an iPad, when it lacks basic functions you’ve been used to since so long ago? A netbook is only a bit bigger and it’s a complete computer, isn’t it?”
Yet, Kindle is one of Amazon’s best sellers, as well as Apple iPod Touch, with more than 230 days in the top 100 Electronics products. The demand for the recently launched Apple iPad exceeded all expectations, market analysts estimating a production rate of more than 2.5 million units per month by the end of this year. These figures show that I’m not the only one who enjoys specialization when it comes to such gadgets.
The only minor inconvenience I see in surrounding yourself with so many hi-tech devices is that you end up by having a lot of additional accessories such as chargers, cables, adapters, docks, cases and so on. This is why I’m happy each and every time I discover an accessory that can be shared by multiple gadgets. BookGem is one of these. Initially designed as book holder, the BookGem works perfectly as a stand for iPad, Kindle or Nook. It’s very simple and easy to use, it folds up amazingly small but it’s very effective and versatile. The spring loaded clips on the front side hold the iPad securely. The clips have nice, soft rubber tips, so the iPad is 100% protected against accidental scratches. The rear support legs flip open and snap into position, thus creating a solid support base for the iPad. Being made from indestructible ABS plastic, the BookGem is strong enough to hold the weight of an iPad without problems. If we only think that it was designed to hold much heavier books, we understand there’s no reason to worry.
Check out the intro video:
Depending on your needs, there are two ways in which you can use this iPad stand. By positioning the BookGem on the bottom edge of the iPad, you can obtain a more upright viewing angle, suitable for reading. Should you be willing to do some work that requires using the virtual keyboard, all you need to do is to clip the BookGem on the top edge of the iPad in order to obtain the lower angle, optimal for typing. The iPad can be positioned as you wish, in either portrait or landscape view.
If you want to use the BookGem but you already have your iPad in a case, you don’t need to remove it. The spring clips can hold variable thickness items, as they were designed to hold books with variable amounts of pages.
The BookGem is available on Amazon. If you hurry, you can still benefit from the current special promotion: buy three and get the fourth one free.
If the iPad virtual keyboard is not your thing, don’t give your iPad away just yet… There is still hope and its name is Apple Wireless Keyboard.
Beautiful and sleek, like all Apple products, this thin and compact keyboard takes less space on your desk than ordinary keyboards, while ridding you of all those tangled wires which seem to never be the correct length.
Here are a few features that we believe make the Apple wireless keyboard superior to its competitors, and the best choice to complement your iPad:
- Good action range: the keyboard works even at 30 feet distance from your iPad or Mac
- Intelligent power management system: this new keyboard from Apple requires only two AA batteries, compared to the previous model, which needed three. Yes, the battery life is amazingly long, because the keyboard powers down automatically when not in use and gets activated again as soon as you start typing.
- One-Touch access keys: the top row on the keyboard is dedicated to special keys which enable instant access to various Mac functions. It is possible that not all of them work with the iPad though.
- Freedom and uncluttered desk space: thanks to the Bluetooth technology, you don’t have to deal with sitting in less comfortable positions at your desk, as in the case of a wired keyboard or a keyboard dock. With the wireless keyboard, you can lay back in your armchair, take the keyboard on your lap and still type, and all while maintaining a relaxed posture.
The low-profile keys are very responsive and have a soft rubbery texture that feels very good on fingers. It’s true that if you’re used to a full-size keyboard, you might find this compact one a little strange at the beginning, but taking into consideration the advantages it’s packed with, it’s an excellent iPad accessory for people who need to do any intensive typing, well… If you like to type with more than one finger (which is all I can manage on the iPad screen) then this is for you.
UPDATE: The Scout Extra Small fits both iPad and iPad 2.
A small bag with padded interior compartments won’t offer too much room for anything else except for your iPad or netbook, a few pens and a couple more flat items such as a mobile phone and a notebook. However, when this is exactly what you want, there’s no reason to pay more for a bigger bag.
For people who need to have their iPad handy when traveling, the Scout Extra Small iPad shoulder bag is the perfect choice. This casual bag is a perfect fit for the iPad, but it can accommodate 11″ netbooks as well. If you already have a protective case on your iPad, you don’t have to worry, as most of them fit well inside. The protection offered by this shoulder bag is excellent, as the iPad compartment features high density padding all around and cushioned felt lining. The Scout Extra Small bag has one main compartment, one full sized document pocket, one mobile phone pocket and two utility pockets for a few pens and accessories such as cables, charger or ear buds. Additionally, there’s a slim pocket on the back side of the bag, perfect for keeping the travel documents and the airplane tickets.
Neither of the the pockets, nor the main compartment are zippered, but this is not a problem, thanks to the Velcro bands closure over the iPad section and to the secure buckle on the front flap. Unlike other buckles which are awkward to handle, this one is easy to open yet secure, thanks to its special design. What we found a bit odd were the two padded side flaps which seem useless. Anyway, they don’t do any harm either, so you can just ignore them if you can’t figure out what they do, the bag still looks very cool.
The bag is made from water resistant canvas with water resistant nylon lining. The material is very nice and also durable. The padded shoulder strap is detachable, so you can remove it if you want to use the small handle.
The Scout Extra Small iPad messenger bag is available for a discounted price on eBags, so if you were still hesitating, maybe this is the best time to take action and get yourself this beauty that can be used either as an iPad bag, or as an all purpose, day-to-day shoulder bag. The only color available at the moment is ochre.
The Joule iPad stand from Element Case is a beautiful work of art in itself. Its unique design, its high-quality materials, its exquisite finishes are attributes that make it worthy of any interior design setting, no matter how stylish and expensive it may be.
The base cylinder of the stand, though slim and elegant, is heavy enough to provide solid support for the iPad. It features a soft velvet lining inside, so that it won’t harm your iPad in any way. The base has a nicely rounded cutout in the middle, enabling access to the iPad’s Home button. The Joule is CNC machined from solid aluminum, with three variants of finish: brilliant polished aluminum (available at $129), black anodized coating and anodized silver coating (available at $139). Per customer request, the stand can be engraved with a custom logo, thus making it an excellent present or corporate gift.
The Joule iPad stand uses a very simple support system that allows three preset viewing angles. To change the angle, all you need to do is take the magnetically attached support rod out of its current hole and put it into another one that corresponds to the new angle you want. The stand is designed for either portrait or landscape viewing position and it holds the iPad snugly, so it doesn’t move, even while you type on the screen. This is nice, but it also means that you can’t use the iPad in a case with your Joule stand. An iPad skin would be fine and would add the necessary scratch protection while using your iPad mounted in the Joule stand. Anyway, it’s obvious that the Joule was intended to be used with a naked iPad, because it complements Apple’s traditional finish in a brilliant way.
We absolutely love this iPad stand. You can get yours from Element Case.
Gucci has released 3 beautiful iPad cases, each featuring a unique but distinctly Gucci design. They are in the $200+ price bracket so will probably only interest those with deep pockets and a lust for designer iPad accessories. We have large, detailed images so be sure to click and check out the full size versions.
The pattern used on the center case is called the “GG” and is made up of two interlinked G’s. A detailed explanation of the origins and history of the GG pattern can be found on the Gucci website:
Guccio Gucci’s initials were first used in the early Sixties – as either single or double Gs – as squared-off fastenings for bags which were developed and made in Gucci’s own forge at the Via delle Caldaie in Florence. Transferred soon after into a diamond-shaped pattern woven into the best-selling cotton canvas luggage, the GG monogram transported the company’s fame, quite literally, around the globe in the much-photographed company of movie-stars, aristocrats and socialites.
Reconfigured and deployed in innumerable designs and redesigns, the eternal GG has appeared and reappeared over time, merged into a circle, back-to-back, inverted, abstracted. It’s been done in silver and gold, burned into luxurious velvet, embossed into leather, stamped onto suede, printed on silks, woven into jacquards, patchworked together in luxurious crocodile and lizard. A status symbol that crosses cultures, it has acquired an elasticity of popular meaning that stretches its possibilities to include high glamour – and, when the moment arises, a knowing sense of humour.
There is also a stylish video showing the history of the GG pattern:
[flowplayer id=11 width=640 height=360]
If these Gucci iPad cases tickle your fancy then you can place an order over at Gucci.com
Playing music directly from the audio library on your iPad, laptop or iPod is very convenient, yet most computer speakers don’t deliver a reasonable quality sound. It seems that small, powerful and inexpensive can’t coexist in the same speakers, so you have to decide which of these three features you’re willing to give up.
Most audiophiles will be willing to close their eyes on the price and choose a brand name surround sound system.
However, we’ve just made a great discovery; the Orb Mod1 speakers and amplifier combo. This setup is not cheap either, but it costs significantly less than a similar system from Bose or Infinity. They are also very small – smaller in diameter than a CD as can be seen in the image below (click for large image):
Upon plugging this speaker combo in we were rewarded with home theater quality sound, and all delivered via the Orbs tiny sound system.
All Orb Audio systems are made from premium, quality components and they are manually assembled in the USA by highly skilled technicians. The outcome is so good that Orb Audio will not only give a 5 year limited warranty on all speakers, but they will also allow their customers to enjoy a 30 day home trial of their sound systems, as well as free lifetime technical support.
Back to our iPad audio system, here are the technical details of the amplifier:
- Class: Audiophile Generation 2 Class T by OPI Audio
- Peak output: 15W
- Power supply: both 110V and 220/240V
- Stereo mini input with compatible cable
- Stereo RCA input adapters
Either you opt for Orb Mod1 speakers or you decide to upgrade to Orb Mod2, you’ll enjoy stunning quality sound coming from an audio system that will look great in most home or office interior setups.
The Orb Mod1/Mod2 speakers and amplifier combo falls in the $300 price range and can be found on the Orb website.