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The iPad’s not too secret weapon: a virtuous cycle

The iPad’s not too secret weapon: a virtuous cycle
In April, just as the iPad had hit the streets I wrote a post about how accessories set the iPad a world away from the competition.  That was based on the number of accessories that had been announced in the two months that had gone by since the device had been first introduced by Steve Jobs. There was already a large number of companies making myriad models of cases, stands, bags, etc.  All of this was happening even before the device was available for purchasing. All this came back to mind today as I read a post on GottaBeMobile which described how the author had spent some time in an Apple Store checking out iPad accessories and presented his thoughts on how the accessory landscape for iPads differs from other tablet devices. His impressions are now based on three months of iPad availability and on the selection of accessories he could actually purchase in the Apple Store, instead of on press-releases and it only substantiates my original hypothesis.  The number and variety of accessories available for the iPad will set it apart from any other competitors which may be released in the near future. This is one consideration that should be foremost in the minds of the people working on creating tablets to challenge the iPad.  It is very important for these companies to provide some accessories of their own, as Apple does with the dock, keyboard, etc.  Having a base set of accessories available from the manufacturer should help them attract more attention to their offerings. I remember how, back in 2003 when I was considering which Pocket PC handheld to get I ended up choosing Dell’s Axim over HP’s many models exactly because Dell offered a full set of accessories I could get along with the device.  I ended up getting a foldable keyboard and a leather case as well as screen protectors all in the same order. One important aspect of the iPad for accessory manufacturers however, is clearly lost on many of Apple’s potential competitors: a single design.   Apple offers six iPad models but they all look the same and all have essentially the same dimensions.  This means that when you create a case or a stand for the iPad, you are essentially creating a product which will be usable by all of the millions of iPad users. Now compare that to what it would be for manufacturers considering the creation of similar accessories for the products of companies that will be introducing tablets with two or three different screen sizes. These companies would be looking at creating add-on products for a variety of models and form factors, each one with a potential market that is much smaller than that which is already available with the iPad. The large number of accessories already available for the iPad, along with the large number of applications specifically designed for it, help to make it more attractive to potential users.  At the same time the rapidly growing number of users help make the iPad more and more attractive to accessory manufacturers as well as software developers. At this point, just a few months after its initial public release it seems clear that Apple has already managed to start a virtuous cycle for the iPad which will be very hard for competitors to...
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Creative multi-use leather case for the iPad

In rummaging through my daily collection of iPad related information I ran into a story about an inventor that having lost his job just as the iPad was coming out, rolled up his sleeves and designed a case for it.   As it turns out the Zeego case seems pretty interesting as it can also function as a stand in a fashion that is similar to that of the case made by Apple, but uses Velcro to adjust the angle of the display. The Zeego case can also be used as a car mount so that passengers in the back seat of the the car can interact with the iPad or just sit down and watch a movie.  As many have found out this can be a nice way to calm down the kids on longer trips. I’ve embedded  one of the overview videos for the case...
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Great looking leather cases from Fossil

Great looking leather cases from Fossil
Fossil has introduced a great looking portfolio style case for the iPad called Decker.  It is fully made of leather and the design is quite simple, yet gives a distinct impression of sophistication.   This is a case for those that like carry their iPads in hand as I don’t imagine any one would buy one of these just to throw them into a bag or backpack. This folio’s simple design, without external pockets makes it ideal for people that want to make sure that they don’t end up carrying useless stuff around.  This is a very common issue with bags and cases that have lots of small pockets for you to stuff cards, paper slips and other such every day clutter we end picking up and just stuffing in there.  With the Decker you’ll just be carrying the weight of your iPad. The Decker portfolio case is available in three different colors, directly from Fossil and has a price tag of $40. *Images:...
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Turn your iPad into a MacBook

Turn your iPad into a MacBook
Clamcase has announced a clam shell type case of the iPad that includes a built-in bluetooth keyboard. This case acts as a case, a stand and a keyboard all in a single accessory and is sure to become a hit with iPad owners that travel a lot. The video seems to show a computer rendition and not an actual product, but it is certainly enough to pick anyone’s curiosity. I’m certainly going to be looking this thing over once it is available. While I don’t really think that the keyboard is essential it will certainly be a nice accessory to have a long on a trip as it protects the iPad and lets you bring along the keyboard in one small package. Weight and size might be an issue though, as if gets to close to that of a notebook, it might be better to carry the notebook. On the other hand, being able to take the iPad out of the case and just use normally for reading on the plane or in your hotel room might justify having the case and the iPad instead of a real notebook. I guess we have to wait for the case to be available and check it out. UPDATE: The interest in this case seems to be too much for Clamcase’s website. Trying to access the website right now just gives us a page with the information that they “are being...
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iPad gets luxury case from Luis Vuitton

iPad gets luxury case from Luis Vuitton
There are iPad cases and then there are iPad cases… Pictures of two new iPad luxury cases from Luis Vuitton have popped up in many fashion and luxury related blogs yesterday.  While I’m sure they are well made and classy looking I can’t say that they look like good carrying cases for the iPad.  Their pocket like design and slim fit would seem to make them good candidates as a protective case for you to insert your iPad into before dropping it inside a business case. For standalone use pocket style cases give me a bad feeling that I might pick them up the wrong way and simply watch as my iPad falls of the open end.  I know that the chances of that happening are small unless the device is pretty loose inside the case and its internal lining is very slippery. The news about the famous brand’s attention on the iPad came out originally on GQ.com (UK) in a small note that assigns the price of 240 pounds to the new cases.  This puts the case at a price point which isn’t that much distant from the US price of the base model of the...
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Great looking work and travel stand for the iPad

Great looking work and travel stand for the iPad
Element Case has released a new stand for the iPad that looks gorgeous.  The Joule stand will look great in any modern decorated environment and I can see it being a stand of choice for living room and office usage.  The stand is machined in Aluminum and seems like a natural accessory for the iPad, though it has a polished finish, which is a contrast with the iPad’s own brushed-like finish. The stand has a removable and adjustable support which when detached would seem to make the case an ideal candidate for just being thrown into a suite case for using with a bluetooth keyboard on a longer trip where you might want to have a physical keyboard along.  The Joule seems to have attracted a lot of interest as the website indicates that they are back ordered. the manufacturer seems to expect to catch with demand next week as the site also states that after April 24th the Joule will be available with other optional  coatings and graphical engravings. Currently this stand comes in a brilliant polished finish or a black anodized...
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Turn your iPad into a fun phone

Turn your iPad into a fun phone
A post on BoingBoing called my attention to this retro style phone handset for the iPhone. As the iPhone and iPad use the same type headset jack you can plug them into the iPad and when used in conjunction with Skype you can effectively use your iPad as a phone.  I’m sure that everyone will agree that even it looks fun or funny, instead of ridiculous which is exactly how anyone holding up an iPad to his head will look like when trying to hold a skype conversation without the benefit of a proper headset. This headset is made by NativeUnion and a visit to their website reveals that there are several models available, as well as different colors.  If you want more mobility from your retro iPad phone you can probably pair one of their bluetooth headset models. Bluetooth headset model. The “wired” red model costs $59.99 and the wireless bluetooth model goes for $129.99.  If you want to see how funny it looks when connected to an iPad just follow the link to the post on...
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A couple of interesting new cases for the iPad

A couple of interesting new cases for the iPad
Now that the iPad is out case makers are having a field day.  With 450.000 devices already sold in less than a week of availability everyone is moving fast to enter this promising market.  I can see that it is going to be a really big market as I can already see my self thinking of having more then one type of case, depending on where I’m going and how I will be using the iPad during a particular day.  I can also see every member of the family having their own iPad in the not too distant future.  This line of thought speaks volumes for the potential market for iPad cases. I ran into several models that look quite interesting, from a company called Case-Mate.  I selected two of them for this post as I feel they share a common public. Both models have a bit of  a business feel to them, differentiating from some of the more colorful models offered by Case-Mate, which I’ll probably look into in the future. The black case is simply called a Nylon Flip Case, while the other is called Felt and Lather Folio. As you can see the cases names pretty much describes the materials they are made out of.   While both cases look good, they are clearly designed with different usage in mind.  The Nylon Flip Case is clearly a transport case which protects your device as you are carrying it around, but it is meant for you to remove the device for actual usage.  The Felt and Leather Folio is intended to house the iPad whie you are using it as well. A picture of the Felt and Leather Folio shows that it neatly folds back so that you can continue to use it even if you need to walk around using the device, which is good.  The Nylon Flip Case costs $34.99 and the Felt and Leather Folio is...
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A simple, different and interesting stand for the iPad

A simple, different and interesting stand for the iPad
Last night I stumbled upon a very simple idea for an iPad stand. I can’t say that it was by accident as I picked it up as the maker started following the iPad Watcher on Twitter, but I wasn’t really looking for anything in this area at the time.  The simplicity of the Groovy Stand really drew in my attention. In essence it is a small wooden base which has a groove into which you can fit your iPad, either in landscape or portrait modes.  The stand is available in three different color tones and costs under $7.  In a time were we have technology and advanced materials everywhere this simple stand seems a bit refreshing. *Image: Groovy...
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Accessories set the iPad in a world apart from the competition

Accessories set the iPad in a world apart from the competition
In recent days a lot has been said in several articles on several sites and on TV about the competitors the iPad is going to face. I have to say that so far I’m not impressed at all with any of the proposed competitors on the basis of usability but one thing that has come to my attention is that the accessories that will be available for the iPad set it on a world which is totally different from what the competition can expect. Lets think about this for a second…  How many companies are we expecting to release accessories designed specifically for each of the fifty or so competitors that are expected to debut until the end of the year?  Few? None?  Now, how many accessories companies will be making them for the iPad?  A lot!  The iPad isn’t even out yet and we’ve already got a sizable list accessories that have been announced and released.  You can go to Amazon right now and run a search on iPad and you’ll see that you get several pages worth of items which are intended to complement the product. Let’s face it, the iPad is the product which will define the market and set the bar for tablet devices.  Everyone else will be compared to the iPad and will fail, survive or prosper based on how well it stacks up against an iPad in battery life, weight, functionality and price, though not necessarily in this order.  In this the iPad will probably assume for tablets the same role the iPod assumed for portable media devices as discussed previously in the post titled: “Will the iPad be the next iPod? ” When you go into an electronics store you will see myriad cases, protectors, docks, etc. for the iPad.  You might get to see one or two of these for another device if one of the big names in computers manages to bring out anything which does a reasonable job at creating a competing device.  HP’s Slate computer looked promising in the demo video, but knowing that it will run Windows 7 already makes me doubt that it can compete in usability against an iPhone OS device. The reason for this rampant favoritism by accessory makers should be quite obvious.  Apple has a past history of launching successful devices which sell by the millions and it also has a history of fostering an accessories culture by selling them through its online as well as its impressive brick and mortar (or should we say glass) stores.  If I were a maker of accessories for electronic equipment I would also be designing my best stuff for the iPad and generic versions for every other Joe-device that comes along. *Images ModulR Inc. and Quicky...
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Shipping date for Apple iPad accessories moving towards May

Shipping date for Apple iPad accessories moving towards May
Demand for Apple’s own accessories to the iPad seems to be overstepping their supplies. The dates for actually shipping the items ordered on the Apple online store are shifting towards May.   At the time of this writing only the USB Power Adapter actually was showing May as the shipping forecast, but most accessories where showing either as mid or late April. An article posted earlier on Electronista indicated that the Keyboard Dock was showing a forecast of May as well, but that has changed and it now shows as late-April.  This would suggest that Apple might be having some success in expediting the availability of high demand accessories in greater quantities as it might reflect a change in demand for that particular accessory during the day. It seems clear that accessories are in high demand for the iPad and that could mean limited or no supply of certain accessories in the physical stores when the iPad goes on sale on April...
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Great looking Sleeve for the iPad

Great looking Sleeve for the iPad
Wakefield design has a great looking protection sleeve for the iPad coming out, the iPad Ultimate Sleeve.  There are a lot of options and you can pretty much tailor the sleeve your tastes by choosing different colors, materials and even the iPad orientation of your preference. It hadn’t really ever occurred to me that  in larger device, some people might actually prefer stowing it away in landscape of portrait as it might be easier one way or the other depending on how snug your case is.  It seems that it didn’t escape the folks at Wakefield however as you can see in the picture above. The version you can see above does away with the leather finish on the bottom in favor a different gray colored fabric.  This was the version that first called my attention to this sleeve. As a device which won’t simply go into your pocket, the iPad almost bags for a carrying case, sleeve and other protection options such as a screen...
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In the car, on the wall – an accessories system for the iPad

In the car, on the wall – an accessories system for the iPad
We have been seeing iPad accessories jumping front and center everyday, since I wrote my first post about them starting to appear.  Today, however, I’ve run into one company that seems determined to out do everyone else.  ModulR is bringing out an entire system of accessories that work together to make your iPad your most constant companion ever.  (Might even beat your dog.) The ModulR system is composed of: a case, a screen protector, a stand, a car mount, a wall mount and shoulder strap.  All the other accessories combine with the case in order to let you use and carry your iPad in pretty much every conceivable situation.  (And probably a few we can’t conceive of yet, too.)  While I find the idea of a shoulder strap to carry a device with a such a large exposed screen unlikely to be a hit, the other accessories seem to form a rather interesting set. I have to say that this is the first wall mount for the iPad  that I’ve stumbled upon, but the idea might really have some merit and might actually finally be a step bringing to reality all those computer in the kitchen and refrigerators we keep hearing about year after year.  You could, for example, do the dishes while watching the latest episode of your favorite show, and without really running the risk of getting your iPad wet. The car mount may actually lead you to dispense with a portable DVD player to entertain the children when you’re travelling or driving over longer distances.  As you can see in the picture above, it mounts on the back of the forward seats and with a 9.7 inch screen capable of playing for say 8 hours it makes for a pretty good distraction for the kids. *Images: ModulR...
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Case, stand, book cover all-in-one for the iPad

Case, stand, book cover all-in-one for the iPad
As the flurry of accessories and cases continues (emphasis on cases), I’ve run across another interesting one.  This one is from Quirky and is called Cloak Undercover.  What I found particularly interesting was that this case can be used as a stand and a book cover, not unlike what Apple has shown us, but with a bit more of color and style. The case can be used as a stand both in landscape and portrait mode and comes in several different colors.  When closed it has the familiar “book cover” look that many of us have come to expect for a device with such a large screen which would seem to present a greater risk of damage than the smallish iPhones and iPods. The option of having the case work as a stand in both orientation modes seems very interesting as I’ve noticed in comments and posts on the Web that I don’t seem to be the only one thinking  of using the  iPad as an auxiliary computer for using Twitter and casual browsing while working on my primary computer.  In this role, the iPad could be used in both orientations, depending on your preferences and it seems interesting to have a case the makes it easy to use it so. *Images:...
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Several new cases available for the iPad

Several new cases available for the iPad
Four new cases, in several different colors, are available for the iPad from Waterfield.  Most of the cases look pretty good, though how good they’ll prove to be once actual iPads are available for you insert into them is another question. The case in this picture is one I might choose to pick up, once I can manage to pick up an iPad. Belkin, a traditional computer and iPod accessory vendor is also coming  out with its first iPad case as well, as you can see in the following picture. As the iPad’s release date gets nearer we should be seeing more and more accessories such as these coming out. Let’s hope that in the end there will several models which are not only good looking but dunctional...
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