The Apple iPad and iPad 2 accessories market is huge as there are hordes of add-on gizmos available for Apple's market-leading tablet. Some of these iPad gadgets deserve lots of attention, because they really are cool.
What makes a product cool? Besides being practical or exotic or fun, the product exhibits a certain style, flair and panache. Here's a sampling of a dozen carefully selected add-ons that iPad owners might love to see under their Christmas trees or Hanukkah menorahs -- or anywhere, at any time of year.
Why hassle with a half dozen different remote controls -- or spend hundreds on a complicated super-remote -- to tame your burgeoning collection of HDTVs, Blu-ray players, and multimedia centers? Your iPad can do it all, with a little assistance from NewKinetix.
Simply plug this small gadget into your iPad’s 30-pin dock connector, download the free app, and turn on all your remote controlled appliances. The Re Universal IR Remote Control will automatically sync with them. From your iPad’s large screen, you'll be able to easily and intuitively customize and micro-manage what you watch and hear, in ways not possible with small-screen or no-screen remotes.
Here'a a riddle for you. What has eight legs, twists any which way, and securely grips your iPad like a hungry spider? Spiderpodium, of course.
You can bend, shape and twist this infinitely flexible, practical and fun black (or white) thingy to hold and position your iPad upright, angled, flat, or even attached to a chair, drawer, shelf or whatever. This product is so cleverly thought out that kids will love playing with it (with or without the iPad). In fact, the Spiderpodium is so versatile that it might also make a great gift for that iPhone or Android device owner on your list.
The choice is yours. You can merely listen to music on your iPad -- or you can experience concert hall-like acoustics by plugging your earphones or speakers into iWOW 3D’s dongle. Quite instantly, audio sounds richer, deeper, and clearer. You can customize the bass or treble, enable wide surround, or tailor the sound to your earphones, speakers, or car stereo system.
To find out just how much the sound has improved, you can toggle between regular audio and iWOW 3D super-sound by pressing on the iWow's single illuminated button. You can snap any of six color faces on to the front of the system.
$29.99, Veyl Products, LLC
It can be frustrating to read, surf or watch films on your iPad when you're sitting or lying in bed or on the sofa. No matter how you plump your pillows, gravity and weight eventually pull the screen out of position. Yet ePillow ‘s ingenious design holds your iPad comfortably, keeping it from dipping or skewing, while still allowing you to easily angle and rotate the tablet for better viewing.
ePillow is also useful for working or playing on a narrow airplane seat table -- and it does strap to your rolling bag for easy carrying.
MXL Tempo USB Microphone
$79.99, Marshall Electronics, Inc
Do you want something way, way better than a hokey karaoke mike for Skyping, podcasting, or recording that local indie band? The MXL Tempo is a well designed, heavy-duty metal condenser microphone with a wide audio spectrum, capable of faithfully capturing and reproducing music, conversation, bird tweets, or whatever.
It even has a jack for real-time monitoring of your recording session. (Note: Because the mike is tethered to your iPad, you’ll also need to buy Apple’s Camera Connector Kit adapter.)
$99.99, iDevices Inc
Roast or grill to perfection using the iGrill Thermometer. Just turn the cigarette pack-sized device on, insert the wire probe into the meat, set the desired cooking temperature or timer on your iPad, and voila!
You can monitor the progress of your meal from your couch, desk or porch swing. With an optional second probe, you can simultaneously follow another roast or bird. (Sorry, but the iGrill can’t turn your oven on or off, or baste the turkey!)
The iPad’s closed ecosystem means you can’t swap out the built-in battery once it runs out of juice. Hence, an extra battery can be a huge help.
The Tablet Bag is an elegant, stylish, multi-pocketed case with a high-capacity rechargeable battery that ensures your iPad will always be ready for action anywhere. What’s more, The Tablet Bag's cables, adapters and USB port can keep your smartphone and other electronic tech toys charged up, too.
$59.99, Discovery Bay Games
Touchscreens and virtual controls don’t guarantee a great gaming experience, but when you slip your iPad into the kid-friendly Atari Arcade, you, your friends, and your family can start retro-gaming and shoot-em-upping right away with a real joystick and four big buttons.
The Arcade dock ships with only one game, Missile Command -- but most fans will gladly spring an extra $9.95 to download the Atari Greatest Hits bundle of 100 games.
$109, Kingston Technology
The sleek and svelte, iPhone-size, shockproof Wi-Drive easily extends your iPad’s memory capacity by 16GB. (There’s also a 32GB model.). The extra memory eases onboard storage of downloaded pictures, documents and videos.
SmarTouch touch sensitive gloves
$31.50, Totes Isotoner Corporation
It’s bitterly cold outside, but you absolutely, positively need your iPad to identify that strange-looking bird hopping across the frozen pond. That’s when you slip on your toasty warm, form-fitting, fleece-lined SmarTouch gloves.
The SmarTouch’s thumb and forefinger are tipped with conductive thread that transfers electrical impulses to your iPad’s touchscreen. So that you can maintain a more secure grip, the palms of the gloves are lined with textured silicon.
Kitchen Cabinet Mount
$49.99, Belkin International Inc
Would you like to be able to follow a recipe on your iPad while cooking or chopping veggies? How about watching a Netflix blockbuster while painting the den wall? Belkin’s easily adjustable Kitchen Cabinet Mount clamps securely on to any shelf in seconds.
Then you can swivel your iPad any way you want for best viewing. The Cabinet Mount also unclamps in seconds. You can fold it away for handy storage.
$79.99, ZAGG, Inc
Some lucky folks are owners of both iPads and Android tablets. With the flick of a switch, FLEX swings either way – iPad or Android.
This wireless, rechargeable keyboard is both lightweight and compact, with great tactility that will be appreciated by touch typists and thumbers alike. Its well-designed foldup case doubles as an iPad/Android tablet stand.
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