Nice Move: Apple Retail Stores Showcasing Laptop Style iPad Keyboards

Laptop Style iPad Keyboards

Apple Store in San Francisco, via Harry McCracken.

This is a very nice move by Apple Retail – showcasing laptop style keyboards for the iPad. As Apple Insider reports, tech journalist Harry McCracken spotted this display at a San Francisco Apple store recently, and I think it looks great. And it’s an excellent idea to show off what’s available for the iPad in this area.

Also, it’s particularly good to see this now, while we’re bombarded with TV ads for the Microsoft Surface Pro line of ‘tablets that can replace your laptop’. I’m so, so sick of those ads – and their way overblown claims about the Surface and the bashing of either the iPad or MacBooks in most of them. Those ads pitch the Surface’s keyboard as some sort of miraculous new innovation for tablets, when the fact is there’s been a huge range of high quality 3rd party keyboard options for the iPad...

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I Finally Bought The Pencil Stylus for iPad

pencil stylus

After several posts discussing my continued curiousity in the Pencil stylus, I decided to just put my money where my mouth was and buy the darn thing for $50 USD during the Black Friday sale. I bought the Walnut version so that it sticks to my iPad’s Smart Cover, and also because I find it a little smarter looking. I’ll definitely be testing it out over the next week or two, so stay tuned for a review. I’m a really big fan of the Paper app and I can’t wait to combine it with Pencil for a more natural drawing (and erasing) experience. After my recent disappointing experience with Penultimate and the Jot Script, I’m hoping the Pencil has what it takes to make drawing and sketching on my iPad more fun.
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Kingston’s MobileLite Reader Looks Like A Great Way To Effectively Expand iPad Storage

IMG_0284.JPG Here’s a really cool accessory I read about on Tools and Toys: the Kingston MobileLite Wireless Flash Reader. The iPad lacks any sort of expandable storage, but the MobileLite allows you to work around this by pairing with over Wi-Fi. Once paired, you can use the MobileLite’s USB port or card reader to access files on your SD cards, USB sticks, or external USB hard drives. I like the choice of going with Wi-Fi over Bluetooth, since the connection speeds are much faster over Wi-Fi. Not only is this a great way to shunt extra movies or pictures from the iPad to an SD card, but it’s also an interesting way to get local files from a USB drive onto the iPad itself (where you can then open them in an app like Word for iPad). I also really like that this is an accessory that works with the storage devices you likely already own, instead of being a locked-in, proprietary... < p style="clear:left">Read the whole entry... »

Still Sorely Tempted To Purchase A Pencil Stylus For My iPad

Pencil Walnut Stylus I’ve written about the Pencil stylus before, and it still seems really, really cool. Not only is it custom-built for one of my favourite drawing apps, Paper, but it recently expanded its support with a FiftyThree SDK. That means you can now use the Pencil with other awesome apps, like Noteshelf (for notes and diagrams) and Procreate (for sketches and paintings, with layer support), The only thing keeping me from buying a Walnut Pencil (which will stick to my Smart Cover) are tales of the rubber tips breaking within the first weeks of use. There are enough negative Amazon reviews centered around the rubber tips that it does seem like a real product flaw, as opposed to a few outliers who happened to get bad Pencils. I realize that you can purchase more rubber tips for the stylus, but I’d prefer not to have to do that. I’ve tried to reach FiftyThree to get some answers, but I... < p style="clear:left">Read the whole entry... »

Scosche’s Retractable Lightning Cable Looks Perfect For Daily Commuting

Scosche retractable lightning cable I’ve taken to tying my Lightning cable up before putting it in my bag, but what I really should invest in is a retractable Lightning cable like this one from Scosche (which I read about on Tools and Toys). I’ve purchased a few retractable 30-pin cables for myself from various sources over the years, and paying for quality in a cable does seem to make a difference. The cheap $3–5 cables I’ve bought from places like Monoprice or do work, but they just don’t have nearly the same level of click and polish. The default price is $25, but you can get it for as little as $15 on Amazon depending on the sale. I’d also note that I think these retractable cables are plain superior to having a long Lightning cable in your bag. You save space, save any hassle of tangles, and the cables usually extend far enough for me to use wall chargers and laptop USB ports without any... < p style="clear:left">Read the whole entry... »

ZAGG Announces New Rugged Keyboard Case for iPad Air & iPad mini

ZAGG Rugged Folio iPad Keyboard Case This week ZAGG has announced the new ZAGG Rugged Folio – a rugged and durable iPad keyboard case. ZAGG are a leading maker of iPad keyboard cases and a number of other popular iOS and mobile accessories. Their iPad keyboard cases are among the best I’ve ever used and the keyboards on those cases are always especially good. The new Rugged Folio looks and sounds quite promising for those who need this sort of durable keyboard case in their work environment. Here’s a little of ZAGG’s intro for the Rugged Folio:
The ZAGG Rugged Folio wireless Bluetooth® keyboard features a tough polycarbonate shell and soft silicone interior that deliver unmatched protection. A unique, magnetic hinge secures the iPad at virtually any angle and converts into multi-function modes, while a lithium polymer battery provides up to two years of typing between charges.

Rugged Air_Breakout The case offers four multi-function... < p style="clear:left">Read the whole entry... »

Logitech’s Refreshed Ultrathin Keyboard Cover for iPad Air Gets Two Slick New Features

Logitech Ultrathin update I wouldn’t have heard about this latest update to the Logitech Ultrathin Magnetic Clip-on Keyboard Cover for iPad Air if it weren’t for Tools and Toys. The premise is still the same: it’s an aluminum cover that matches the iPad, with a nearly full-sized Bluetooth keyboard on the interior. It’s not a case you’ll take around for protection, but rather a sleek all-in-one typing package for writers on the go. The new hotness comes in the form of a new tilting iPad dock that enables flexible viewing angles, and a terribly clever hidden magnetic latch. Previous versions of the cover had the magnetic latch hang loose while not in use, as it does on the iPad’s Smart Cover, but this latest version feels like something pulled out of a Tesla Model S. The latch is there when you need it as a cover, but tucks back into the body of the keyboard while you type (check out the... < p style="clear:left">Read the whole entry... »

We Wear Wood: Natural Wood Covers for iPad, iPhone, Mac

We Wear Wood iPad Covers It’s been a while since I’ve seen any back cover for the iPad (other than a Gelaskin) that really caught my eye. We Wear Wood has definitely got my attention with their striking, slim natural wood covers though. This is a Kickstarter project for these wood covers for the iPad, iPhone, and Macs. I really like the combination of handsome woods and simple, elegant artwork on them. There are currently two designs available for the iPad Air and iPad mini (and Retina mini) – the tree branch cutout shown above and the iPad Tree: iPad Tree You can back this project and get one of these covers for as low as $25. I pledged this morning and look forward to seeing this cover on my iPad mini. Another thing to like about these covers is that they’re the work of a 20 year old college student from Utah, Jaron Hall – who does a hell of a good presentation video for the We Wear Wood lineup. Check out the... < p style="clear:left">Read the whole entry... »

Gelaskins New Art for iPad Skins

The_Fresh_Crop_Art_Collection___GelaSkins Gelaskins have got some eye-catching new art for their range of iPad skins. The latest ‘fresh crop’ includes work from a number of new artists and plenty of striking images to add some flavor to your iPad. I’ve reviewed and written about Gelaskins many times here, as they’ve been a long-time favorite of mine. They live up to their ‘ultra-thin’ billing, add just about zero bulk or weight to the iPad and of course they look great. If you fancy some unique art to accompany your iPad and provide a little scratch protection to its back cover, you should take a look at the latest offerings at Gelaskins when you have a chance.
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HoverBar 3 for iPad: For The Perfect “Look Ma, No Hands!” Tablet Experience

HoverBar 3 This the HoverBar 3 is the accessorry that will save your iPad from falling on your face while you read in bed. It’s essentially a clamp for the iPad that’s attached a flexible metal arm that you can grip onto most desk, bed frames, or monitors.
There are a lot of use cases for this, but the ones that immediately come to mind are:
  • using the iPad as a secondary mini monitor with an app like Air Display 2
  • holding the iPad up in bed for Netflix or iBooks usage, so that you can dual wield a thumbs-up to salute how convenient your life has become
  • a flexible, rotateable stand in messy areas where you might still want an iPad around (e.g. the kitchen…or the bathroom?!)
The HoverBar 3 also comes with a desk stand that you can attach to the Fit Clip, so you can use the HoverBar in lieu of a Smart Cover for certain tasks. I’m not sure how practical that would be for... < p style="clear:left">Read the whole entry... »

iStick: World’s First USB Flash Drive with Lightning Connector for iPad and iPhone

iStick USB Flash Drive iStick is an upcoming iPad and iPhone accessory that looks like it may be a big hit. It’s the first USB Flash drive with a lightning connector that works to share documents and data between iPads and iPhones and Mac and Windows PCs. It’s a Kickstarter project that has more than doubled its funding target in one day. The target was $100,000; and it’s already got over $250,000 pledged. This sort of USB storage for iOS devices has been on lots of iOS users’ wish list for years, and this looks like it could be quite a slick implementation of it. Here are some of the notable details and features of the iStick: – You slide a switch on it to change from USB connector to an Apple-approved Lightning connector. – It’s a flash drive that is Apple MFi certified to work with iPhone, iPad and iPod touch. – There’s a free companion iStick app that’s universal –... < p style="clear:left">Read the whole entry... »

Mummy Case for iPad Mini – the Emperor’s Better Off in his New Clothes

mummy head

Quick research will show that Loop Attachment started its life developing a silicone watchband for the sixth generation iPod Nano (I still have one; it’s no iWatch but it’s decent enough for what it is), but it was the release of the Mummy Case for iPhone a while after that brought them better attention. At a slight risk of being sexist, the band of vibrant colours seemed to delight the girls, and the boys got excited that the silicone strips on the back held their plastic and Nando’s loyalty card. The silicone-clad marriage appeared happy enough.

As one would have expected, an iPad Mini companion was later released on the heels of its iPhone Mummy Case sibling. Although they’ve removed the card-carrying function this time, they were kind enough to replace it with another: it’s now a thief-deterrent. Who’d want to steal a kitsch tablet?

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Mummy Case for iPad Mini – the Emperor’s Better Off in his New Clothes

mummy head

Quick research will show that Loop Attachment started its life developing a silicone watchband for the sixth generation iPod Nano (I still have one; it’s no iWatch but it’s decent enough for what it is), but it was the release of the Mummy Case for iPhone a while after that brought them better attention. At a slight risk of being sexist, the band of vibrant colours seemed to delight the girls, and the boys got excited that the silicone strips on the back held their plastic and Nando’s loyalty card. The silicone-clad marriage appeared happy enough.

As one would have expected, an iPad Mini companion was later released on the heels of its iPhone Mummy Case sibling. Although they’ve removed the card-carrying function this time, they were kind enough to replace it with another: it’s now a thief-deterrent. Who’d want to steal a kitsch tablet?


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TwelveSouth’s SurfacePad for iPad Mini — A Slim Leather Cover With Built-In Stands

SurfacePad for iPad mini

TwelveSouth, makes of premium Apple-only accessories, recently announced their SurfacePad for iPad mini. It’s a svelte Napa leather cover that adds very little to the iPad’s dimensions, while offering scratch protection, the texture of actual leather, and the convenience of a few built-in stands. The magnets hidden in the front of the SurfacePad act just like a Smart Cover for sleep/wake action, and the kickstand and magnets hidden along the rear panel help prop the iPad up in two viewing angles, and one typing angle. I also like how TwelveSouth made the cover rigid, allowing you to fold it behind the iPad and hold it easily. That addresses one of my pet peeves with the Apple Smart Cover: the fact that the three (or four) panel design can often hang limply underneath the iPad during use.

I previously reviewed the SurfacePad for iPhone and was quite pleased with it, so I’m...

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Plinth: Versatile, Pocketable Stand for iPad & Other Tablets

Plinth iPad Stand

Plinth is an interesting looking little pocketable stand for the iPad and just about any other tablet. It’s a Kickstarter project that’s about half way to its funding goal with a little over a month left to meet its target.

It’s notable mainly because of its (very) small size and due to its being touted as a ‘universal’ tablet stand. It looks cleverly designed – folded down it fits in a pocket and is roughly the size of an iPhone; it uses ‘flip out wings’ and rubber feet to provide its stand capability.

I’ve used a few very small iPad stands in the past. Some, like the Twelve South Compass Mobile Stand, have been very impressive. Others have been OK, but lacked a little in terms of stability.

The Plinth looks good in its trailer video. I may try to get a review unit at an appropriate stage of the project – as I’m always on the lookout for good iPad and tablet...

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Cool Things: ZEN 3-in-1 Stylus / Pen

Zen Three in One

I’ve tried out a good number of styluses for the iPad over the last few years – and they were good, bad, and mediocre. I’ve yet to find one that I continued using for more than just a brief tryout period and it’s been a long while since I felt excited about a stylus.

The ZEN 3 in 1 looks like it might be worth getting a little excited about. It’s a Kickstarter project that was successfully funded a couple days ago and more than doubled its funding target. It looks to be priced very competitively, starting at around $40 MSRP when it comes to market.

I’m far (far!) from an expert on the design and production of styluses, but the details on the ZEN 3 in 1’s Kickstarter page still strike me as impressive. The makers of it have been kind enough to offer me a review unit – so I’ll soon get a chance to see if it’s as good as it looks.

You can see check out all the...

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Pad & Quill Author Series: Build Your Own iPad Case with Some Unique New Designs

Pad and Quill Author Series

Pad & Quill make some lovely handcrafted cases for the iPad. Their latest new collection is called the Author Series and allows us to build our own iPad cases with a fair bit of help and some unique patterns to work with.

The series features 5 very handsome new designs from Tamrah Ryan, an artist from the St. Paul area where P&Q are based and where they make these cases.

You can choose your colors for inside, spine, outside, and elastic – and also select to add pocket and monogram options if you like. And of course you then choose which new design to use on the case. I especially like the blue and black patterned one.

The Author Series goes for $79.99. You can see lots more detail, customize your case, and place an order at the P&Q product page for the new line.

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VersaKeyboard: ‘The First Disappearing iPad Keyboard’

I’m not that frequent a user of iPad keyboard cases, but I have to say this one looks great. It’s called the VersaKeyboard and it’s touted as ‘the first disappearing iPad keyboard’.

If it’s even near as good as the promo video then it’s going to be a heck of a good iPad keyboard case. I’m also optimistic about it because it’s from Moshi, makers of one of my all-time favorite and most heavily used iPad cases – the VersaCover.

Here’s a few of the key features of the VersaKeyboard:

  • Detachable Bluetooth keyboard with 130 hours of battery life and LED power indicator.
  • Folding VersaCover doubles as a stand in portrait and landscape modes.
  • Ultra-thin and lightweight design at 13.4 ounces (380 grams).
  • Durable polycarbonate shell includes convenient keyboard slot.
  • Support for iPad auto-wake and sleep functionality.

It’s compatible with the iPad...

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Declan Squared: Stylish Microfiber Pocket Squares & Handkerchiefs

Declan Squared

Well here’s a cool idea. Declan Squared is a fashion-conscious line of microfiber pocket square and handkerchief cleaning cloths – so we can keep our iPads and other favorite touch devices clean and have a bit of style while doing so.

Here’s a little bit of their intro on Kickstarter:

Squared is 12×12 inches of incredible microfiber. Depending on the particular design of Squared, you may not even know the difference between it and traditional pocket square materials. Some designs look like silk, others look like cotton. We are even in the process of trying to create some that look like wool. The texture of Squared is soft, with an ever so slight hint of fuzzy.

I think this is a great idea. Cleaning cloths have become an essential accessory for those of us who use touchscreen devices heavily – so why not make them easier on the eyes.

The creators of the project have a...

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