13 great iPad accessories

If you ordered your iPad online you’ve still got a few days to get accessories to match it; if you got it at an Apple Store congratulations: now it’s time to look after it. Several of these must-haves are straight from Cupertino but a growing array of third-party accessories will guarantee many new ways to suck money straight out of your wallet – and make your iPad work better than ever.

Here are a baker’s dozen of the best iPad accessories to hit the streets so far:

iPad Keyboard Dock. Apple’s $89 iPad Keyboard Dock turns your iPad into something resembling a strange library access terminal. We say ‘strange’ because the Dock only allows your iPad to sit in portrait orientation not landscape like basically every computer monitor in existence. But if that’s how Steve wants it that’s how Steve gets it. Also available without keyboard (you can BYO Bluetooth keyboard if the urge takes you) for $39.

iPad Case. Apple’s $48 default black case with blatantly obvious apple logo for the requisite brand enhancement is a worthwhile purchase to keep your iPad snug and happy. As a nice bonus the stand is designed to let you sit your iPad upright in landscape or portrait orientation – so you can watch movies or get all kinds of productive with it depending on how the mood takes you.

Apple iPad Camera Connection Kit. Oh the markup. Apple’s $39 iPad Camera Connection Kit does the same for the iPad as the Apple Remote does for the iMac: cost money for something that really should be included in the original package. But if you want to be able to download photos from camera or SD card (or as we discovered recently to connect USB keyboards hard drives headsets speakers and other kit) you’ll need to groan and bear it.

iPad Dock Connector to VGA Adapter. Keep one of these $39 wonders handy if you give presentations often: plug one end into your iPad and the other into any VGA-capable source – projectors TVs monitors and more – and you can play slideshows and movies for the world to see.

Cygnett iPad cases. If matte black isn’t your thing look into one of Cygnett’s broader range of iPad cases. These include the glossy-red $69.95 Glam $69.95 “book-style” Lavish $39.95 black silicon SecondSkin and $54.95 neoprene-lined Agenda sleeve.

Dress up your iPad. If red and black aren’t quite exciting enough for you check out the new skins from SmirkAbout an Australian manufacturer of stick-on skins. SmirkAbout’s $29.95 easy-on easy-off decals come in a range of patterns that might very well get your artistic juices flowing – and also include a matching iPad background to complete the effect. Check out (clockwise from top left) Golden Summer Robots Take Manhattan Caramel Phlapk PowerPout and Pirates at www.smirkabout.com.

Protect your screen. Sure the iPad has Apple’s famous oleophobic coating to keep it relatively smudgefree but early reports suggest that coating is about as useful on the iPad as ti- well let’s just say it’s not very useful. And it can definitely be scratched which is why it’s a good idea to slap down $29.95 for a screen protector like to put at least a thin layer of plastic between your iPad and all the sharp pointy things in the world. Cygnett’s OpticClear and Power Support’s anti-glare and crystal films all cost $29.95 and are well worth it.

Twelve South BookArc. If you like your iPad in different positions you may want to consider the BookArc a $79.95 steel-and-silicone contraption that lets you rotate your iPad north south east and west – and keep it that way. Buy it from Try & Buy.

XGear Shadow Snap-on Case for iPad. Billed as “leather feel with a carbon fiber look” this one covers the back and corners of your iPad for that hard protective look. It’s $89 from buymac.com.au.

Sena Folio and ZipBook Cases
. They’re not cheap but if you’re into leather these cases are worth a look. The ZipBook is a clamshell-styled case with zipper outside made from fine leather and available in red and black for $129.95. Sena’s Folio has a built-in stand and comes in black only.

Hardy Candy Bubble Sleeve for iPad. We’re not sure whether the nubs have any functional purpose but they do give a distinctive look to these $79.95 zipper-up cases which have “fitted rubber bumpers” to hold the iPad in place while you use it. Comes in black (with orange interior) green and pink.

Incipio Feather for Apple iPad. If your tastes tend towards neon or you want a hard form-fitting case for your new iPad check out this one. The “ultra strong polymer” lends a hard protective coat to your iPad without the bulk of a complete case and has a matte finish so it still feels soft and supple. $44.95 from Streetwise.

Kensington PowerBolt Micro Car Charger for iPad. If you’re planning on using your iPad extensively outside of the house you’ll need a car charger. Kensington’s $29.95 PowerBolt Micro Car Charger provides 2.1A of power and the description tells us has an “ultra low-profile design” that “blends nicely into your vehicle’s interior”. It’s a cable; what else can we say? Oh yeah: it also charges your iPhone and iPod.