Tablets are the hottest gift this holiday season, but what do you do if you already own the world’s most popular tablet? Sure, you can buy some apps, but that’s no fun. You need something new to plug in and try out, and apps don’t always cut it. Thankfully, there are some strange and downright awesome accessories for your iPad that you’ve probably never heard of. Below are a few of our favorites.
A company called Zivix has come up with a way to wirelessly feed your music, from a variety of musical instruments, into your iPad. PUC looks like it belongs on ice, but it has a MIDI port to connect your drum machine, keyboard, or DJ controller to, and it outputs via Wi-Fi to your iPad. You can take advantage of iOS apps and turn your iPad into a full-fledged synthesizer and recording device. It’s not as cool as the JamStik digital six-string guitar, which also wirelessly syncs to your iPad, but it’s definitely more useful.
Were arcades that great, really? We’re not so sure you really want arcades to come back, but if you have a soft spot for nostalgia, there’s nothing like the iCade. This lets you slide your iPad into a crude miniature version of the machines you used to feed quarters and play retro games. Actually the iCade is pretty awesome, with a list of 100 arcade classics that can make full use of its mock wooden greatness and old school joystick and buttons.
This sensor clips onto your iPad and lets you map the world around you in three dimensions. You can capture accurate 3D maps of spaces and use it to model objects and even people. You can scan yourself and your house into a game world. Combine it with a 3D printer and things get really exciting. Imagine being able to scan anything you like while you’re out and about and then print it when you get home? No, you can’t do that yet, but scanners like this may one day make it a reality.
If only there was a way to make your iPad into a 1950s-style jukebox, right? We’ve all thought it, but Hammacher and Schlemmer made it happen. It’s an MDF monstrosity with oak veneer and LED lighting which works like any other iPad dock. Just slot your tablet right in the front there so it’s a little awkward to use, don your leather jacket, slick that hair back with some brylcreem, and rock the cool. There’s even a Fonz feature so you can change track by bumping your fist on the side (not really, but there should be).
At first glance, it looks like any other backpack with a neoprene iPad sleeve and tons of pockets, but the true wonder of the Assero Defender only becomes clear when you put it on backward and unzip. Your iPad flops forwards, held in the perfect operating position, thanks to an astounding flash of genius and two durable straps.
You’ll be cocooned in a circle of sound if you opt for the German designed Sonic Chair. There are various colors and versions available, but the iPad one has a built in amplifier, speakers, and a “sound membrane” with controls. There are versions with docking stations, but this one has an iPad permanently attached in an anodized aluminum case, at least you’ll never lose it. Realistically it’s intended to be used in public spaces where they want to make a statement. What kind of statement you’re making, we don’t know.
There is a lot of clothing designed to accommodate your iPad, but most of it is like Scottevest’s offerings – just a way to conceal your iPad in a big jacket pocket. Alphyn has been touched by the same inspirational thinking that led to the Assero Defender, but it has opted to add a fold out “kangaroo” pouch containing your electronic baby. No one would guess that your extremely unflattering jacket/tracksuit top thing actually contained an iPad … the fools!
You may well like the idea of using your iPad for VoIP calls, but is it really suitable? You can slide your iPad into this accessory to create the height of cutting edge touchscreen office phones. It works like a speaker dock, but it also has a traditional phone handset. Why opt for a decent Bluetooth headset and a good quality iPad dock when you can pay for one of these? It may not sound as good, but it does look retro.
This Bluetooth device projects a keyboard onto any flat service and it can serve as a multi-touch mouse as well. The laser projects a keyboard layout, which is easiest to see in low light, and the central optical sensor tracks your fingers as they type. It also offers audio feedback to give you some indication when you register a key press. It may be slow and a little tricky to get the hang of, but keyboards don’t get more portable than this.
You don’t need to be physically present at that meeting – just send a remote control iPad stuck to a Segway to take your place. Snoop round the office and wheel yourself into conversations; it’s like you’re really there, except not really. We envision a future where the streets will be filled with these things having conversations and getting the shopping while we all languish in bed. It’s certainly less embarrassing than actually riding around in a segway.