Get the most out of your iPad with these useful accessories

Get the most out of your iPad with these useful accessories

It can be said, that while the iPad is a fantastic business tool, a tablet is only as good as its accessories.

To make your iPad really sing, we have compiled a list of a few accessories to bring out the best in your trusty tablet.

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Transform your iPad into a MacBook

It’s quite clear that Apple won’t be creating keyboards to turn your iPad into a MacBook in the near future, with Apple CEO Tim Cook stating Apple will not be developing “Tablet-Laptops” using two kitchen appliances to illustrate why.

A refrigerator-toaster hybrid was theoretically possible, he said, but it wouldn’t work as well as either product individually.

However, if a tablet-laptop hybrid appeals to you, there is hope.

A new iPad case, called Brydge, transforms your iPad into a more laptop-like device with its built-in keyboard. The case is made out of aerospace-grade aluminium, which mimics the looks and feel of the iPad. The hinge on the case holds the iPad in place, while offering 180 degrees of rotation similar to a traditional laptop screen. The keyboard then turns into a sleek case when your done and puts the iPad to sleep. Brydge uses Bluetooth to connect to the iPad and is charged via USB connection. You can also opt to get built-in stereo speakers (at an additional cost of course), to enhance audio when watching videos or listening to music.

Brydge is currently trying to raise money for its first manufacturing run on Kickstarter. The company estimated it needs $90,000 for a first run of the case, and has 39 days to go before it reaches that goal.

There are other options out there, which offer a very similar solution such as the Aluminum Keyboard Buddy Case for iPad 2 by M.I.C Gadget and ClamCase. Both of these keyboards connect to the iPad via Wi-Fi and can be flipped to use as a cover. The ClamCase can flip 360 degrees, while the Aluminum KeyBoard Buddy Case has limited movement. A lithium-polymer battery and USB port for recharging are present on both keyboards and both are available through their respective company websites.

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There is also the sleeker Logitech Ultrathin Keyboard Cover, which acts as a stand, cover and keyboard for your iPad. This keyboard solution also connects via Bluetooth and puts the iPad to sleep when the cover is closed. While it is not yet available through the Australian site it is retailing for around US$99.99 on the US site.

No USB port? No problem!

While iCloud has made it significantly easier to transfer documents, images, music etc to other devices, for those who prefer the humble flash drive, HyperDrive‘s iFlashDrive for iOS devices has the answer.

The Apple-friendly drive has a USB connector on the one side and a 30 pin connector on the other. The flash drive connects to your iOS device through a free companion app, in which you can view and open the contents of the drive. It also acts as a normal USB when not connected to an iOS device.

While certainly not cheap at US$99.95 for 8GB, US$149.95 for 16GB and US$199.95 for 32GB, if you find yourself without an internet connection or you’re simply not a fan of using the iCloud, it could be a very handy tool.

Lantronix xPrintServer

If you’ve ever wanted to print something straight from your iPad or iPhone (which, let’s face it is nearly everyone who owns either device), boy have we got something for you!

The Latronix xPrintServer allows you to wirelessly print to nearly any printer attached to your network, whether at home or at work. The xPrinterServer is about as big an iPhone and connects to your chosen network (via an ethernet cable). It automatically detects and provisions the printers on the network, allowing you to print straight from your iOS device.

While the xPrintServer is only available to the US, Canada, Mexico and Europe, Lantronix’s site says it will be available in more regions soon, however if you are interested you can contact them here.

Duracell 5 hour USB charger

This USB charger from Duracell is particularly handy for those on the go who find themselves well removed from a source of power for their iPad.

While, of course, you need to first charge the lithium ion battery using a wall socket, the pocket sized back up charger is a great way to ensure your iPad is always juiced up and ready to go. The charger works with just about any mobile device or other USB devices, by connecting  the device via the supplied cable to a USB port located on the charger. To use the charger for the iPad, you will have to use the standard USB cable that comes with the iPad.

The charger features a charge indicator which shows the progress, while it also sports an automatic shut-off feature that stops the charger when the device is fully charged. Duracell claims it will give you an extra 5 hours, however this of course depends on how the iPad is being used.

The USB charger is available to buy at Bunnings, Office Max, Officeworks and JB HiFi at roughly AU$40.

Kensington PowerBack Battery Case

Another alternative power source, is the Kensington PowerBack Battery Case. The case’s built-in 4400mAh battery provides up to 5 extra hours of power and acts as a stand in both portrait and landscape mode. You can charge and sync your iPad without removing the PowerBack case, through the Micro USB charge and sync port. As an added bonus it protects your iPad from scratches, bumps and bruises. 

iCade Core Game Controller

While this would not be perceived as an accessory that promotes productivity (unless achieving High Scores is your KPI), the iCade Core Game Controller for the iPad is just really cool. After all, all work and no play can become counter productive, it’s all about balance right?

For those of you who reminisce about the humble arcade and classics such as PAC-MAN, Asteroids, Centipede, and Battlezone, this iPad accessory is for you. The full-sized joystick and arcade buttons will really take you back, especially when you can play the aforementioned classics (which can be purchased separately in the App Store). However, you aren’t just limited to the classics, you can bring old school gaming to about 200 modern games.  It connects through Bluetooth, and also sports a custom-designed pass-thru slot which allows you charge the iPad with your 30-pin cable. The cradle supports either portrait or landscape and houses the iPad securely.

Before you get too excited, it isn’t available just yet but certainly something to put on your wishlist if you are a gaming enthusiast.

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