- Something that the tech giant Apple does very well is reinvent products and then convince users that they can't live without them. The iPhone, for instance, was viewed skeptically before its launch - who needed it? But now you'll find ardent iPhone users who couldn't imagine a day without their sleek smartphones. And Apple hopes to do the same for the tablet computer: Apple's iPad, the super slim tablet, hopes to carve a new niche into the tech market and convince people they can't live without their iPad. Whether you can live without it or not, there's no doubt the iPad is a sleek device and has a host of useful features and unique applications. Part of the Apple allure is the appearance, and iPad accessories can help you enjoy your tablet even more. Just because the iPad is a great-looking device doesn't mean you want yours to look identical to everyone else's. Here is a look at the
Best iPad Accessories:
You can find an insane variety of accessories for your iPad. What do you need? Even if you don't want to pimp up your iPad, you do probably want to protect it from scratches and ever-present fingerprints. You can do this with a skin or cover. One of the best brands, and most popular with consumers, is Hard Candy. According to About.com's iPad Guide, Sam Costello says, "If I were going to drop my iPad - and that's definitely not something I'm planning - I think I'd want Hard Candy Cases' Squish Skin protecting it." The Squish Skin is made of form-fitting silicone. Besides fitting precisely, the Squish Skin offers air-filled chambers to add to the cushioning. If you do drop your iPad, it is protected by the tough silicone and the air. Even with all the protection, the media controls remain accessible. Hard Candy says it is "more protective than bubble wrap and way more fun." The Squish Skins come in black, clear, blue, pink, green, and orange and cost $30 at the Hard Candy site.
Hard Candy has a wide variety of iPad cases, all of which review very well with consumers. Their sticker price of about $30 to $40 is in line with similar cases, and Hard Candy has the advantage of being slick, sleek, and stylish. They also do a great job keeping your iPad safe. Look here for other Hard Candy skins and cases
If you'd like to protect your iPad more unobtrusively, the iLuv Flexi-Clear Case is a top choice of Mashable. One customer said that she was surprised by the Flexi-Clear in the best ways. It is surprising in that the soft, flexible case can provide such incredible protection. The silicone is light, as well as tear and damage resistant. It provides a tight fit for your iPad and outstanding scratch protection. You can charge and sync your tablet in the case, and your purchase includes a folding stand. The price is also quite surprising. You can find it for just over $18.
If you're looking for iPad cases, you can find any style you want, from the savvy professional leather case look to the art-loving GelaSkins
crowd. A word about GelaSkins because they're so fun. These are vinyl stick-on skins that protect your iPad from fingerprints, scratches, and UV rays. They're not a great help for drops, but you can always put your iPad in a hard case for travel. The best part of the GelaSkins is the photo-quality graphics: you can find a wide range of prints from artwork by Alberto Cerriteno to Van Gogh. You can even find superheroes. They cost about $18 to $22. A great choice if you want to personalize your iPad and you plan to have a carrying case anyway.
It's not all fun and games with the iPad. Some accessories are designed to increase the functionality and convenience of your tablet. One of the most important for those who want a little more of the usability of a full-size laptop or computer is the iPad Keyboard Dock. This is made of anodized aluminum with low-profile keys. The compact design provides one-touch access to features like home screen, display brightness, picture frame mode, onscreen keyboard, and screen lock. With the keyboard, you can dock your iPad with the USB cable, sync, and charge the battery; use the iPad 10W USB Power Adapter to plug into an electrical outlet, connect to a TV, projector, stereo, or speakers using the appropriate cables. And you can type. Real, big, long words with all of their vowels. The keyboard is least expensive through the Apple Store for $70 (http://store.apple.com/us/product/MC533LL/B).
Two others to consider, according to TechRadar, are the iPad Stylus and the Camera Connection Kit
. The stylus recommended by TechRadar is the Pogo Sketch. With the stylus, you can type much faster and with fewer typos - especially if you have long nails. The aluminum writing tool is slim and has soft tips to protect you iPad display. Navigate, type, sketch, and play games with ease. In a variety of cool colors, the Sketch is typically priced around $10. The stylus is compatible with other Apple products, such as the iPhone and MacBook.
The Camera Connection allows you to upload pictures right from an SD card to your iPad. You can view, organize, and edit photos without having to bother with the laptop. You can find this for under $40. Photographers, travelers, and students will find it invaluable.
The iPad is a fun, versatile tool that comes in handy for students, professionals, and anyone who loves the most advanced gadgets. But half the fun is dressing it up. You can rationalize this by telling yourself you are protecting your investment. And you are! You're just looking great at the same time. Look here for other great iPad accessories