iPad For Dummies, 8th Edition (2016)

Part V. The Undiscovered iPad

Chapter 17. Accessorizing Your iPad

In This Chapter

arrow Apple cases, keyboards, and chargers

arrow Apple connection options (camera, TV, and projector)

arrow Earphones, headphones, and headsets

arrow Speakers

arrow Third-party cases

arrow Other protection products

arrow Miscellaneous other accessories

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Anyone who has purchased a new car in recent years is aware that it’s not always a picnic trying to escape the showroom without the salesperson trying to get you to part with a few extra bucks. You can only imagine what the markup is on roof racks, navigation systems, and rear-seat DVD players.

We don’t suppose you’ll get a hard sell when you snap up a new iPad at an Apple Store (or elsewhere). But Apple and several other companies are all too happy to outfit whichever iPad model you choose with extra doodads, from wireless keyboards and stands to battery chargers and carrying cases. So just as your car might benefit from dealer (or third-party) options, so too might your iPad benefit from a variety of spare parts.

The iPads preceding the fourth-generation feature the standard 30-pin dock connector that’s been familiar to iPod and iPhone owners over the past decade. If you own either or both of these products, you also know that a bevy of accessories fit perfectly into that dock connector. Heck, you might even try to plug the battery chargers or other iPod or iPhone accessories you have lying around into the iPad. No guarantee that these will work, but they probably will. And you have nothing to lose by trying.

Note: In 2012, Apple switched to a new connector — the Lightning connector. Accessories compatible with the new connector have become pretty much ubiquitous, and there are dock connector–to–Lightning cables and adapters from Apple and others so you can use most older accessories with new iDevices.

remember One thing is certain: If you see a Made for iPad label on the package, the developer is certifying that an electronic accessory has been designed to connect specifically to the iPad and meets performance standards established by Apple. Just make sure that the connector matches the specific iPad model you have or that you have an available adapter. Note that not all adapters support video.

We start this accessories chapter with the options that carry the Apple logo and conclude with worthwhile extras from other companies.

Accessories from Apple

You’ve come to expect a certain level of excellence from Apple hardware and software, so you should expect no differently when it comes to various Apple-branded accessories. That said, you can find a variety of opinions on some of these products, so we recommend a visit tohttp://store.apple.com, where you can read mini-reviews and pore over ratings from real people just like you. They’re not shy about telling it like it is. And by all means, check out the many price shopping comparison sites on the web to ensure that you're getting the best deal.

Casing the iPad

The thing about accessories is that half the time, you wish they weren’t accessories at all. You wish they came in the box. Among the things we would have liked to see included with the iPad was a protective case.

Alas, it wasn’t to be. No iPad has ever shipped with a case in the box, but you can find cases aplenty just the same. All you need is cash. You read about Apple’s here and other cases later in this chapter.

Apple’s iPad case, shown in Figure 17-1, is more cover than case, which is probably why it’s called a Smart Cover instead of a Smart Case. Made specifically for iPads, it’s ultra-thin and attaches magnetically. Flip the cover open (even just a little), and your iPad wakes instantly; flip it shut, and your iPad goes right to sleep. The case is available in numerous bright colors in polyurethane ($39–$49) or leather ($69). Bob says the aniline-dyed Italian leather on his Product Red Smart Cover is gorgeous and soft as butter.

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Courtesy of Apple

Figure 17-1: Apple’s Smart Cover for iPad.

Finally, there’s the iPad Air 2 Smart Case, which combines a Smart Cover and a case to protect the back of your iPad Air 2. It’s designed for the thinner profile of the Air 2. Like the Smart Cover, it too folds into a stand for reading, typing, or watching video. And because it’s “smart,” it automatically wakes and sleeps your iPad when you open and close it. The aniline-dyed leather case has a microfiber lining and is available in five bright colors for $79. A version for the iPad mini costs $69.

warning Whatever case you choose, make sure it is compatible with your favorite accessories.

Apple wireless keyboard

We think the various virtual keyboards that pop up just as you need them on the iPad are perfectly fine for shorter typing tasks, whether it’s composing emails or tapping a few notes. For most longer assignments, however, we writers are more comfortable pounding away on a real-deal physical keyboard, and we suspect you feel the same way.

Fortunately, a physical keyboard for the iPad is an easy addition, and because it’s the same keyboard that’s been bundled with iMacs for years, you may even own one already.

The Apple wireless keyboard, shown in Figure 17-2, is a way to use a decent-enough aluminum physical keyboard without tethering it to the iPad. It operates from up to 30 feet away from the iPad via Bluetooth, the wireless technology we discuss in Chapter 15. Which leads us to ask, can you see the iPad screen from 30 feet away?

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Courtesy of Apple

Figure 17-2: The Apple wireless keyboard.

tip If you have an Apple TV connected to your HDTV, you can stream the screen of your iPad to the HDTV by using AirPlay. (See Chapter 8 for the details.) And the Apple wireless keyboard is great for using on the couch.

As with many Bluetooth devices that the iPad makes nice with, you have to pair it to your tablet. Pairing is also discussed in Chapter 15.

The Bluetooth keyboard takes two AA batteries. It’s smart about power management, too; it powers itself down when you stop using it to avoid draining those batteries. It wakes up when you start typing.

The Apple wireless keyboard is small and thin. If you carry a backpack, a briefcase, a messenger bag, or even a large purse, you almost certainly have enough room for a wireless keyboard.

And if your native tongue isn’t English, you’ll be happy to know that Apple sells versions of the wireless keyboard in numerous languages, each still $69.

warning Not all the function keys on the wireless keyboard, will, um, function on your iPad. They’re there, though, because (as we note previously) Apple bundles the same keyboard with the iMac and sells it for other Macs.

tip Although we have tested a few third-party Bluetooth keyboards, the iPad ought to work fine with any keyboard that supports Bluetooth 2.1 + EDR technology. Bob is currently infatuated with his Logitech Ultrathin Keyboard Cover ($99), which includes iPad (and iPhone) specific keys, works like a Smart Cover to wake and sleep your iPad, and comes in an ultra-thin aluminum enclosure that looks great and matches the iPad perfectly. It’s a little more expensive than the Apple wireless keyboard, but he says it’s worth it.

Finally, you can connect many USB keyboards to your iPad with the iPad camera connection kit (for dock connector) or Lightning–to–USB camera adapter discussed in the following section.

Apple Smart Keyboard (for iPad Pro)

Apple built a special keyboard-and-cover combination for its large-display iPad Pro, the aptly named iPad Pro Smart Keyboard. The keyboard, which costs $169, is made from a sheet of durable custom-woven fabric that Apple says is laser ablated to form the shape of each key. At 4mm, it’s really thin too.

The keyboard connects to the iPad Pro via the smart connector on the edge of the Smart Keyboard and on the side of iPad Pro. Making that connection is a tad tricky at first.

And beyond typing, you get the added benefit of using the Smart Keyboard as your Smart Cover.

Connecting a camera

iPads don’t include a USB port or an SD memory card slot, which happen to be the most popular methods for getting pictures (and videos) from a digital camera onto a computer.

All the same, the iPad is a marvelous photo viewer. So, if you take a lot of pictures, Apple’s $29 iPad camera connection kit, which we also discuss in Chapter 9, is worth considering for iPads that sport the 30-pin connector (iPad 2s and third-generation iPads). As a reminder, the kit consists of the two components shown in Figure 17-3, either of which plugs into the 30-pin dock connector at the bottom of older iPads. One sports a USB interface that you can use with the USB cable that came with your camera to download pictures. The other is an SD card reader that lets you insert the memory card that stores your pictures.

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Courtesy of Apple

Figure 17-3: iPad camera connection kit, Lightning–to–USB camera connector, and Lightning–to–SD card connector allow you to import images.

If you seek the same functionality for your iPad with a Lightning connector, the kit has been separated into two $29 items: a Lightning–to–USB camera connector and a Lightning–to–SD card connector.

tip Although the official line from Apple is that this USB adapter is meant to work with the USB cable from your digital camera, we tried connecting other devices. We were able to get an old Dell USB keyboard, readers for non–SD-type memory cards, USB speakers, MIDI keyboards, and more to work with it. But don’t expect all your USB devices to be compatible: Some require more power than the iPad can provide, and others need software drivers that aren’t available on the iPad. However, the adapter does work with many class-compliant USB devices, so if you have an adapter, there’s no harm in giving it a shot.

We only hope that despite this helpful accessory, Apple will get around to adding a USB and an SD slot to iPads, but so far it hasn’t happened, and we’re not holding our breath.

Connecting an iPad to a TV or projector

The iPad has a pretty big screen for what it is, a tablet computer, and when it comes to the Retina display, we can’t help but give it high praise. But that display is still not nearly as large as a living room TV or a monitor that you might see in a conference room or auditorium. To send iPad content to a bigger screen, you can choose from three connectors:

·        Digital AV adapter cable: The most useful member of the Apple adapter family for most users is the Apple digital AV adapter ($39 for dock connector; $49 for Lightning connector). It uses HDMI, which is pretty much a standard on state-of-the-art HDTVs and other modern gear. And it comes with a nice bonus: You can mirror the display on your iPad on a big-screen TV, which is great for demos and presentations. Ed has used this adapter to, among other things, play Angry Birds on the bigger TV screen. Bob uses it to watch HD movies in hotel rooms. Both of us think it rocks. Be sure to get the Lightning–digital AV model for any iPad with a Lightning connector.

tip You can wirelessly mirror the display of your iPad onto a large-screen TV as long as you’re streaming to another Apple accessory called Apple TV. The streaming is accomplished through AirPlay, which we discuss in Chapter 8. Apple TV provides a lot of niceties in its own right, even if you don’t own an iPad. (But if you don’t, why are you reading this book?) For example, you can watch 1080p high-definition TV shows and movies; watch videos on Netflix, Hulu Plus, and Vimeo; listen to music from your iTunes library on a PC or Mac or iTunes Radio; and admire photos through iCloud. And the newest Apple TV models added an App Store, which includes a variety of games. But we digress. Let's move on to the adapters that work with older technology.

·        VGA adapter cable: Projecting what’s on the iPad’s screen to a larger display is the reason behind the Lightning–to–VGA and dock connector–to–VGA adapter cables that Apple is selling for $49 and $29, respectively. You can use them to connect your iPad to TVs, projectors, and VGA displays. What for? We told you: To watch videos, slideshows, and presentations on the big screen.

technicalstuff By today’s standards, VGA (video graphics array) delivers low-resolution video output compared to the more advanced HDMI (high-definition multimedia interface).

Be sure to get the proper VGA adapter for your iPad model — choose the 30-pin dock connector or the Lightning cable as appropriate.

·        Composite AV cable: You need this $39 cable to display iPad, iPhone, or iPod touch content on most standard-definition TVs, which we realize are becoming a disappearing breed. In any case, this cable connects the dock connector on the iPad to the composite video port of your TV via a yellow connector. You’ll also need to hook up the red and white audio connectors to analog audio ports on your TV or AV receiver. Note: This adapter doesn’t work with iPads with Lightning connectors — even with an adapter.

Keeping a spare charger

With roughly ten hours of battery life on the Wi-Fi–only iPad and nine hours on models with cellular access, a single charge can more than get you through a typical workday with your iPad. But why chance it? Having a spare charger at the office can spare you (!) from having to commute with one. The Apple iPad 12W USB power adapter sells for $19. Again, make sure to get the one with a Lightning cord if you have an iPad with that connector.

And if you’re traveling abroad, consider the Apple World Travel Adapter Kit. The $29 kit includes the proper prongs and adapters for numerous countries around the globe, and it lets you juice up not only your iPad but also iPhones, iPod touches, and Macs.

Finally, if you have an old iPhone or iPod USB power adapter, or almost any other power adapter with a USB port, chances are good it’ll work, though it may take longer to charge your iPad.

remember If you try to charge your iPad with an adapter that doesn’t provide enough power, nothing bad will happen. Your iPad will merely charge much more slowly while it displays a Not Charging message instead of the battery-with-a-lightning-bolt icon you see when your iPad is connected to a charger with sufficient juice.

Apple Pencil for iPad Pro

Another iPad Pro–only accessory, the $99 Apple Pencil, is like a souped-up stylus that you can use to draw, doodle, or write on the screen. Press harder on the display to draw a thicker line; press more gently for a lighter line. And yes, the iPad Pro can detect whether you’re using your finger or the Apple Pencil.

Apple says that the Apple Pencil battery can last about 12 hours and that you can get a half-hour of juice after charging the Pencil for just 15 seconds.

Apple has devised a cool way to pair the Pencil to your iPad. Just pull off the Pencil’s cap to reveal a Lightning connector, which you plug into your iPad. Couldn’t be any easier than that.

Listening and Talking with Earphones, Headphones, and Headsets

You’ve surely noticed that your iPad didn’t include earphones or a headset. That’s probably a blessing because the earphones and headsets Apple has included with iPods and iPhones since time immemorial aren’t that good. In fact, Bob referred to them as “mediocre and somewhat uncomfortable” in almost every article he’s written about the iPod or iPhone. Ed agrees. For what it’s worth, iPhones and iPod touches now include Apple’s redesigned — and much improved — EarPods.

remember Apple acquired a genuine headphone company, Beats, so Apple may leverage this purchase in some way and supply or at least make available top-notch Beats headphones. But as of this writing, the iPad still ships without headphones, so you get to select a pair of headphones, earphones, or a headset that suits your needs and your budget. That’s good, right?

Wired headphones, earphones, and headsets

Search Amazon for headphones, earphones, or headsets, and you’ll find thousands of each available at prices ranging from around $10 to more than $1,000. Or if you prefer to shop in a bricks-and-mortar store, Target, Best Buy, and the Apple Store all have decent selections, with prices starting at less than $20.

Earphones? Headphones? Headsets?

We refer to headphones and headsets several times and thought you might be wondering whether a difference exists and, if so, what it is. When we talk about headphones or earphones, we’re talking about the things you use to listen to music. A headset adds a microphone so that you can use it for voice chatting, schmoozing with Siri, FaceTime video chatting, and (in the case of the iPhone or Internet VOIP services such as Skype) for phone calls. So headphones and earphones are for listening, and headsets are for both talking and listening.

Now you may be wondering whether earphones and headphones are the same. To some people, they may be, but to us, headphones have a band across the top (or back) of your head, and the listening apparatus is big and covers the outside of your ears. Think of the big fat things you see covering a radio disk jockey’s ears. Earphones (sometimes referred to as earbuds), on the other hand, are smaller, fit entirely in your ear, and have no band across the top or back of your head.

Headsets can be earphone style or, less commonly, headphone style. The distinguishing factor is that headsets always include a microphone. And some headsets are designed specifically for use with Apple i-products (iPhone, iPod, iPad) and have integrated play/pause and volume control buttons.

One last thing: Some companies refer to their earbud products as headphones, but we think that’s confusing and wrong. So in this book, headphones are those bulky, outside-the-ear things, and earphones are teeny-tiny things that fit entirely in your ear.

tip Much as we love the shopping experience at Apple Stores, you won’t find any bargains there because Apple-branded products are rarely discounted. However, you can almost always find compatible non-Apple items such as headphones, earphones, and headsets cheaper somewhere else.

With so many brands and models of earphones, headphones, and headsets available from so many manufacturers at so many price points, we can’t possibly test even a fraction of the ones available today. That said, we’ve probably tested more of them than most people, and we have our favorites.

When it comes to headphones, Bob is partial to his SR60i from Grado, which is legendary for offering astonishingly accurate audio at an affordable price (around $80). He’s tried headphones that cost twice, thrice, or even more times as much that he didn’t think sounded nearly as good. Find out more at www.gradolabs.com.

Ed goes with sweet-sounding, albeit pricey (about $350) Bose QuietComfort 3 acoustic noise-canceling headphones and Monster Inspiration over-the-ear noise-canceling headphones (about $300).

For earphones and earphone-style headsets, Bob likes the Klipsch Image S4 headphones and S4i in-ear headset with mic and three-button remote. At around $79 and $99, respectively, they sound better than many similarly priced products, and better than many more-expensive offerings.

Bluetooth stereo headphones, earphones, and headsets

Neither of us has much experience with Bluetooth (wireless) stereo headphones and headsets, but we thought we’d at least plant the seed. The idea is that with Bluetooth stereo headphones, earphones, and headsets, you can listen to music wirelessly up to 33 feet away from your iPad. If this sounds good to you, we suggest that you look for reviews of such products on the web before you decide which one to buy. A search of Amazon for stereo Bluetooth headset brought up thousands of items, with prices starting as low as $11.99.

For what it’s worth, Bob has been quite happy with his BlueAnt Pump HD Stereo Sportsbuds, a Bluetooth stereo headset he occasionally uses with his iPhone and iPad. He says they sound better and stay put in his ears better than other Bluetooth stereo headsets he’s tried. They’re also waterproof and sweat-proof. Last time he checked, they were going for around $40 at Amazon.com.

Listening with Speakers

You can connect just about any speakers to your iPad, but if you want decent sound, we suggest you look only at powered speakers, not passive (unpowered) ones. Powered speakers contain their own amplification circuitry and can deliver much better (and louder) sound than unpowered speakers.

Prices range from well under $100 to hundreds (or even thousands) of dollars. Most speaker systems designed for use with your computer, iPod, or iPhone work well as long as they have an auxiliary input or a dock connector that can accommodate your iPad.

Desktop speakers

Logitech (www.logitech.com) makes a range of desktop speaker systems priced from less than $25 to more than $300. But that $300 system is the Z5500 THX-certified 505-watt 5.1 digital surround system — surely overkill for listening to music or video on your iPad, which doesn’t support surround sound anyway. The point is that Logitech makes a variety of decent systems at a wide range of price points. If you’re looking for something inexpensive, you can’t go wrong with a Logitech-powered speaker system.

Bob is a big fan of Audioengine (www.audioengineusa.com) desktop speakers. They deliver superior audio at prices that are reasonable for speakers that sound this good. Audioengine 5 is the premium product priced at $349 per pair; Audioengine 2 is its smaller but still excellent sibling priced at $199 per pair. They’re available only direct from the manufacturer, but the company is so confident that you’ll love them that it offers a free audition for the speaker systems. If you order a pair and don’t love them, return them within 30 days for a full refund. Bob knows a lot of people who have ordered them, and so far no one has sent them back.

Bluetooth speakers

Like Bluetooth headsets, Bluetooth speakers let you listen to music up to 33 feet away from your iPad. They’re great for listening by the pool or hot tub or anywhere else you might not want to take your iPad.

Both of us have written favorable reviews of the $149.99 wireless Jambox by Jawbone, a rechargeable speaker that offers very good sound despite being able to fit into the palm of your hand. You can connect via Bluetooth or its auxiliary stereo jack. A bonus: Jambox doubles as a decent-enough speakerphone.

Jawbone has also introduced the Big Jambox. Quick quiz: What do you think that means? Right, a bigger version of the Jambox with bigger sound. Of course, at $299.99, it also carries a bigger price, and it’s a bit less portable than its diminutive sibling. And because this isn’t a one-size-fits-all society, Jawbone more recently introduced the Mini Jambox, which comes in multiple colors, and commands $129.99.

Ed also likes a big rival to the Big Jambox, the Bose SoundLink wireless mobile speaker, which fetches a similar price.

After reading Ed’s review, Bob traveled with a Jawbone Jambox for years and liked it. Then he got the Ultimate Ears Boom wireless speaker/speakerphone ($199.99), of which he says, “blows the doors off the Jambox,” and is the best-sounding $200 Bluetooth speaker he ever tested. And not wanting to be bested by Big Jambox, Ultimate Ears recently introduced Mega Boom ($299.99), which is (all together now) a bigger version of the Boom with bigger sound and Bob’s current best-sounding pick at that price point.

AirPlay speakers

The newest type of speakers you might choose for your iPad support Apple’s proprietary AirPlay protocol, which takes advantage of your existing Wi-Fi network to stream audio and/or video from your iPad (or other compatible iDevice) to a single AirPlay-enabled speaker or audio/video receiver.

The biggest differences between AirPlay and Bluetooth speakers are

·        Bluetooth can stream music only in a compressed form; AirPlay can stream music (and video) uncompressed. So, a speaker with AirPlay should sound better than a similar speaker with Bluetooth.

·        Bluetooth’s range is roughly 30 feet; AirPlay’s range is up to 300 feet. You can’t extend Bluetooth’s range; Wi-Fi range can easily be extended with inexpensive routers such as Apple’s AirPort Express ($99).

·        iTunes (on your computer) can use AirPlay to stream audio or video to multiple speakers or audio/video receivers, with individual volume controls for each device; Bluetooth streams to only one device at a time.

Docking your iPad with an extender cable

Because the iPad is much larger than an iPod or iPhone, you can’t just dock the iPad into a speaker system designed for the smaller devices. All is not lost if you’re partial to those speakers and still want to connect the iPad. CableJive (http://cablejive.com), RadTech (www.radtech.us), and others sell dock extender cables, which allow you to use your iPad with any docking device no matter how small its dock. Apple also sells a 30-pin–to–Lightning adapter cable, allowing you to connect an iPad to one of these speaker systems.

warning This type of cable doesn’t work with S-video output, component video, or audio input jacks for recording.

Wrapping Your iPad in Third-Party Cases

Much as we like the Apple iPad case, other vendors offer some excellent and — as the sidebar “The refrigerator iPad?” points out — some very different options:

·        Abas: Abas (www.abas.net) offers nice leather cases that won’t set you back $689 like the Orbino crocodile-skin case we’ve seen.

·        Targus: Targus (www.targus.com) has a full line of iPad cases in a variety of materials and prices. Most of them, including the leather portfolio, cost no more than $60.

·        Griffin Technology: Griffin Technology (www.griffintechnology.com) also has a pretty good selection of iPad cases at reasonable prices.

·        iLuv: iLuv (www.i-luv.com) is yet another case maker with a range of affordable cases fabricated from leather, fabric, and silicone, none of which costs more than $40.

·        Vario: ZeroChroma (www.zerochroma.com) has Bob’s current favorite Vario iPad (and iPhone) case ($69.95). The big attraction is the 16-angle rotating theater stand on the back that folds flush when not in use. Sweet!

·        BookBook: The BookBook case from Twelve South (www.twelvesouth.com) looks like a fine vintage hardbound book but is actually a handsome iPad case and stand ($79.99).

·        LifeProof nüüd: This case may be bulky and relatively expensive, but it is waterproof, dirtproof, snowproof, and shockproof. Bob says his second-generation iPad, which has been dropped several times and soaked in a spa more than once, would have died long ago without the LifeProof case (www.lifeproof.com). While connecting earphones or docking cables is more of a hassle than with most cases, and it’s not cheap ($129.99), Bob says it’s a lot cheaper than a new iPad. He’s still using it today.

·        The iPad Bubble Sleeve: From Hard Candy Cases (www.hardcandycases.com), the iPad Bubble Sleeve ($49.95) offers significantly better protection against bumps and scratches than any other case we’ve seen. If we expected our iPads to be exposed to moderate impacts, this case’s rigid exterior and additional shock-absorbing rubber bumpers for the screen make it the case we’d choose.

The refrigerator iPad?

It figured that some outfit would produce a refrigerator magnet mount for your iPad, given how many people consult iPads in the kitchen for, among other reasons, recipes, reminders, and the weather. The company in question is Woodford Design (www.woodforddesign.com), and the result of its efforts is the aptly named FridgePad, a mount for the iPad. As long as your fridge door is made of steel or stainless steel, you can mount the iPad on a fridge vertically or horizontally and have full access to ports and buttons. FridgePad costs about $30 and comes in black or silver. We haven’t tried it ourselves, but we watched a video that shows an iPad mounted in FridgePad withstanding repeated slams of a refrigerator door. The company claims the magnet is 25 times stronger than it needs to be.

But Wait … There’s More!

Before we leave the topic of accessories, we think you should know about a few more products, namely, film protection products that guard your iPad’s exterior (or screen) without adding a bit of bulk: the Griffin Technology A-Frame tabletop stand for your iPad, and 2-into-1 stereo adapters.

Protecting the screen with film

Some people prefer not to use a case with their iPads, and that’s okay, too. But if you’re one of those people (or even if you’re not), you might want to consider protective film for the iPad screen or even the entire device. We’ve tried these products on our iPads in the past and have found them to perform as promised. If you apply them properly, they’re nearly invisible, and they protect your iPad from scratches and scrapes without adding any bulk.

Bob recently discovered the joys of iVisor AG Screen Protector for iPad ($30) from Moshi (www.moshimonde.com) and says it’s still the best screen cover he’s tested to date. It’s easy to apply, resists fingerprints better than Apple’s oleophobic screen coating, and features patented technology for a bubble-free installation every time. The best feature, Bob believes, is that if it gets dirty, you just remove it, wash it under a faucet, air-dry it, and reapply it (bubble-free, of course).

Another option is from the aforementioned RadTech (www.radtech.us), which offers two types of Mylar screen protectors — transparent and antiglare. These screen protectors are somewhat stiffer than the film products, and unlike film, they can be cleaned and reapplied multiple times with no reduction in performance. They effectively hide minor scratches, surface defects, and abrasions, and the hard Mylar surface not only resists scratches and abrasions but is also optically correct. Finally, they’re reasonably priced at $19.95 for a pair of protectors of the same type.

Bob has also tested more traditional film products from InvisibleShield by ZAGG (www.zagg.com), BodyGuardz (www.bodyguardz.com), and Best Skins Ever (www.bestskinsever.com) and says, in a nutshell, they’re more similar than they are different. If you want to protect your screen with film, get whichever has the price and warranty that suits your needs.

remember These skins can be tricky to apply (including the iVisor AG, which is the easiest of all to install). Follow the instructions closely, watch videos on the vendors’ websites and YouTube, and take your time. If you do, you’ll be rewarded with clear film protection that’s nearly invisible yet protects your iPad from scratches, nicks, and cuts.

tip The last time we checked, Best Buy will apply these skins for you for less than $10, which may be a bargain compared to messing things up and having to buy another skin. Ask your favorite electronics retailer if it provides a similar service.

Standing up your iPad

The Griffin A-Frame ($39.99) is so unusual that we just had to include it. As you can see in Figure 17-4, it’s a dual-purpose desktop stand made of heavy-duty aluminum. You can open it to hold your iPad in either portrait or landscape mode for video watching, displaying pictures (a great way to exploit picture frame mode, as we describe in Chapter 9), or even reading. In this upright mode, it’s also the perfect companion for the Apple wireless keyboard (or any other Bluetooth keyboard for that matter). Or close the legs and lay it down, and it puts your iPad at the perfect angle for using the on-screen keyboard.

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Courtesy of Griffin Technology

Figure 17-4: The Griffin A-Frame is a unique, dual-purpose tabletop stand for your iPad.

Soft silicone padding keeps your iPad from getting scratched or sliding around, and the bottom lip is designed to accommodate the charging cable in portrait mode. Furthermore, it works with many third-party cases, including Griffin’s flexible and hard-shell cases, among others.

The iKlip (www.ikmultimedia.com; $29.99) stand may not look as cool as Griffin’s, but it’s lightweight and folds flat, as shown in Figure 17-5. Bob says: “I love my iKlip Studio and rarely leave home without it.”

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Courtesy of IK Multimedia

Figure 17-5: iKlip Studio is adjustable, portable, and easy to set up and use.

Sharing your iPad with a 2-into-1 stereo adapter

2-into-1 stereo adapter is a handy little device that lets two people plug their headphones, earphones, or headsets into one iPad (or iPod or iPhone, for that matter). They’re inexpensive (less than $10) and extremely useful if you’re traveling with a friend by air, sea, rail, or bus. They’re also great when you want to watch a movie with your BFF but don’t want to risk waking the neighbors or roommates.

tip We call ’em 2-into-1 stereo adapters, but that’s not the only name they go by. Other names you might see for the same device include

·        3.5mm stereo Y-splitter

·        ⅛-inch stereo 1-plug-to-2-jacks adapter

·        ⅛-inch stereo Y-adapter

·        3.5mm dual stereo headphone jack splitter

You need to know only two things. The first is that ⅛-inch and 3.5mm are used interchangeably in the adapter world (even though they’re not really the same).

technicalstuff Some measurements to keep in mind: ⅛ inch = 0.125 inch, whereas 3.5mm = 0.1378 inch. Not the same, but close enough for rock ’n’ roll.

The second is that you want to make sure that you get a stereo adapter. Some monaural adapters work but pump the same sound into both ears, instead of sending the audio information for the left stereo channel to your left ear and the right stereo channel to your right.

In other words, you need a ⅛-inch or 3.5mm stereo adapter that has a single stereo plug on one end (to plug into your iPad) and two stereo jacks on the other (to accommodate two sets of headphones/earphones/headsets).

tip Test the adapter before you travel. Bob recently discovered that the one he had packed was much louder for one person than the other.