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We are back from teaching summer classes and attending conferences with one last summer issue of App'late Review. In an effort to squeeze in a little more summer fun before classes start, we are reviewing iPad accessories. The accessory market looks to be developing as fast, and as cleverly, as the iPad app market. We picked just a few “gotta have it,” and of course, fun, accessories to hi-light in this issue of App’late Review. We'll return to the ever popular "app" reviews in the next issue.
| Keyboards & Cases & Sound
For those of you who love your iPad's light weight, but long for some of the feel and functionality of a laptop, check out Brydge, a highly-acclaimed, anodized aluminium keyboard that turns your iPad into the equivalent of a MacBook Air.
There are other, somewhat less expensive keyboard cases that -- although they lack Brydge's speakers --perform quite well. Top picks include the ClamCase ($150), the Zaggfolio ($100), and the Belkin Keyboard Folio ($100).
If you want a thin, light keyboard without the protection or bulk of a hard case, try the YourType Folio + Keyboard from Belkin ($100). Prefer a full-size keyboard but want mobility? The Matias Folding Keyboard ($100) has received good marks from reviewers. Or, if you're looking for an option that purports to be environmentally sound, check out the iZen bamboo keyboard ($99).
For some nostalgic fun, try the iCADE iPad Arcade Cabinet. Slide your iPad into the cradle of this retro tabletop cabinet and transform your iPad into an arcade complete with a full-size joystick and 8 buttons. This iPad accessory is compatible with one hundred Atari classic games including Asteroids, Centipede, and Battlezone. The cabinet uses Bluetooth to connect to the iPad, elimating the need for wires and connections.
Check out the developer video for additional information or to relive the arcade days of your misspent youth. The iCADE retails for $89 and is compatible with the original iPad, iPad 2, and iPad 3.
For those to whom Atari has no significance, there are many other gaming accessories - everything from video game controllers to Jeopardy-like clickers and interactive board games. The "fun per dollar" value of these may be questionable, but there is no doubt that iPad gaming is taking off. Click here to see more accessories.
A couple new apps (Paper, Draw Something) have increased the demand for iPad styli, and there are many to choose from. At the higher end of the market, we recommend the Wacom Bamboo Stylus ($30) and the Maglus (about $26). Both are beautifully crafted with good rubber tips. The tip on the Maglus is particularly crisp. Also in this price range is the JotPro ($30), which is designed for precision so it is exceptionally good for cursive writing, and the chunky, fun, easy to use Cosmonaut ($25).
A number of styli are somewhat less expensive but still good quality. There's the TruGlide ($16), which has an artistic touch on the screen because of its microfiber tip. The Kensington Virtuoso($15) houses a pen as well as a respectable stylus and is fashioned with the business-type in mind. Finally, there is the AmazonBasics. At $11, the AmazonBasics stylus is a good deal - not too expensive and does the job pretty well.
Written and created by Susan deMaine and Catherine Lemmer with technical support from Hannah Alcasid and Ed Finn.
August 2012, Number 8