Your iPad is on order. It is on order right? Phew! OK then. Assuming you’ve bought one that is going to be available on the 3rd of April, you might want to consider what house warming gifts to buy for it in a hurry. So we’ve compiled a little shopping list of things you may want to consider.
First it is worth noting that Apple are running a little behind with some of their own accessories.
If your iPad is coming later, because it’s 3G, you might find yourself with a bit more choice. See, there is always an upside to every situation!
Slated for availability at launch are the “iPad Dock” & “iPad Dock Connector to VGA adapter”. The “iPad Keyboard Dock”, as well as the USB power adapter have been pushed back to May. Whilst the iPad Case is available around mid-April.
So let’s get started and perhaps check out some alternatives.
Getting your content on and off the iPad
All of Apple’s iPods, iPhones, and of course now the iPad come with USB, and a cable to connect to your desktop machine. So getting content on and off the iPad is not going to be an issue at home, or when you have your laptop with you. But if you want to be able to plug your digital camera into the iPad on the road, or show a presentation on your friends 50″ Plazma, then some of Apple’s dongles might be worth considering!
All of these devices connect via the iPad’s dock connector on the bottom. And until Apple grace us with an iPad with it’s own camera, that and syncing with your desktop machine is the only way to get your photos onto the device.
The “iPad Camera Connection Kit” gives you two ways to import photos and videos from a digital camera: using your camera’s USB cable or directly from an SD card. iPad supports standard photo formats, including JPEG and RAW. But there is no ship date on this yet, or any further details in the Apple Stores.
Next up, the “iPad Dock Connector to VGA Adapter” which allows you to connect to any VGA enabled display. So, say a projector, monitor, or VGA input equipped TV. This could be good for presentations, or to show off photos to family and friends. Or even just showing off your iPad to a room full of jealous people!
Other options, which are a slightly more pricey at around $50, are Apple’s Composite AV Cable and Component AV Cable which allow you to connect to those style of connections on your home cinema system.
I don’t know about you, but the first thing I’ve always bought for any of my ‘iDevices’ is a case or sleeve. Or some kind of carry protector. Apple’s own offering looks jolly nice, and is not actually set at too bad a price. It also doubles as a make shift stand, allowing you to hold the iPad “at an angle for viewing video or typing on the onscreen keyboard.” I might hold out for one of those to be honest as the price and functionality is pretty full featured. Shame it’s not available at launch as if you don’t mind typing on the screen it handles pretty much everything from being a keyboard stand, to dock, to picture frame to carry case – all in one!
If you can’t wait, then WaterField have quite a diverse range available in a multitude of colours.
I’d certainly consider the “Ultimate SleeveCase” from them. Although it’s not a stand it has some other advantages.
iPad Ultimate SleeveCase :
Ultimate iPad Sleeve Protection. Safeguard your iPad with a properly fitted SleeveCase. Cushioned with high-grade neoprene and wrapped in a nearly indestructible ballistic nylon shell, the iPad SleeveCase functions as a stylish stand-alone case or can be inserted into another bag. And no need to take your iPad out of its snug compartment when going through airport securityÑit’s TSA Checkpoint Friendly. With its impact-resistant screen protecting insert and its scratch-free, screen cleaning Ultrasuede¨ lining, you’re good to go. It’s a slam dunk.
One nice feature of the “iPad Ultimate SleeveCase” is that it’s “TSA Checkpoint Friendly”. If you’re from the US, or travel there, you’ll know what that means!
CLOAK Undercover : Another rather funky looking case, which is similar to Apple’s offering is the “CLOAK Undercover“.
Certainly some nicer colour options there. Unfortunately this too seems to be coming in some time after the iPad’s launch as it’s been over-ordered at the moment. I guess they have Apple to thank for al the orders they’ve got!
Griffin, as always, have a very nice line of cases. Ranging from sleek neoprene sleeves, right up to full one piece folio style cases which open like a book and have business card sized pockets inside. These range from $29.99 to $49.99. Their website was having problems when I tried to check it though.
Likewise with Belkin who were boasting a range of cases and accessories ready for launch back in February, but have nothing on their website that I can find today… Strange.
iPad Docks and Keyboards
Some of you may want to have your iPad on your desk during the day, or perhaps set it up as a mini computer in your shack in the mountains, or even your villa by the beach at weekends! By far the simplest way to do this is one of the cases we’ve already covered. But another option is to either buy Apple’s “iPad Keyboard Dock” at $69, or a BlueTooth keyboard at $69 along with the “iPad Dock” for another $29. If you already have one of Apple’s Bluetooth keyboards it seems a bit of a no brander to me to just buy the “iPad Dock”.
In times gone past Apple used to give us docks with our first purchase. But this has unfortunately gone the way of the Ark. Still, I think if I had neither a bluetooth keyboard or a dock, I’d probably still buy them as separates and swallow the extra $29′s so that I had a bluetooth keyboard that didn’t have an iPad dock on the back that I could use with any of my other computers also. Yes, I know it will still work, but unless that dock is removable, which I am pretty sure it’s not, it would irritate me. But hey, that’s just me. It would also mean I could dock my iPad without a keyboard stuck on the front of it, if I so wished.
More unusual accessories: A Stylus!
Of course, you could go with the iPhone Sausage, like our Korean friends…
Word was going around that the folks over in South Korea have been using snack sausages, which apparently are electrostatically compatible with the iPhone’s touchscreen, as a stylus for their iPhones, making them especially useful in the winter when you can’t use the iPhone’s touch screen through your gloves. Now CaseCrown, a company that busies itself selling iPhone cases has picked up a large shipment of said sausages, and is currently offering them for a limited time at $0.99 each. Of course, carrying a snack sausage around with you to operate your iPhone doesn’t exactly scream ‘cool’, but at least you won’t get hungry, right?
There have been a few options available in the stylus category for iPhones and iPods. To be honest unless you are Korean and feeling the cold I can’t really see the point in using them on smaller devices. But now that we have the iPad I could see myself using one for a bit of doodling.
Pogo have been making an iPod and iPhone stylus for a while. It seems a bit “spludgy” to me for for phones, but it might just be the right fit for the iPad, and they’ve updated their product line to include an iPad one. Well, basically the existing iPhone one will work with the iPad, but they say they have more coming soon. If you buy a stylus make sure it works with the style of touch screen in the iPhone, iPod or iPad. i.e It works with Capacitive screens. Not all styluses do, and not all screens are made the same. Hence the Koreans resorting to sausages!
iPad Screen Care Kit
Never one to miss an opportunity Griffin have a $24.99 Screen Care Kit, which has both a static peel screen protector and a cleaning cloth. I’d like a screen protector, but not sure if I want to pay $24.99 for it.
That’s really about all there is out there at the moment.
Of course it could be worth spending some time with Calibre or Stanza, which are both E-Book conversion programs, and work on both OS X and Windows. Both offer ways to manage and convert documents into the EPUB format, as well as Calibre offering the ability to convert daily newspapers, websites and RSS feeds. The EPUB format is the format for E-Books that the iPad supports, by the way.
If you get those apps then you will have culled a bunch of stuff all ready to read on your iPad when you get it. Who knows you might even realise that you should have ordered the one with slightly more storage.
Have you seen any nice accessories we’ve missed? Please let us know in the comments.