Extra-long dock-connector cables: Speaking of cables, I often want to use my iPad or iPhone while I’m charging it, but the relatively short length of Apple’s USB-to-dock-connector cable means I can’t stray very far from an outlet, let alone sit comfortably on the couch a few feet away. Several companies make extra-long cables for charging and syncing; I tested three this year that are worth considering. CableJive’s xlSync ($13), available in black or white, is about the same thickness as Apple’s cable but 2 meters (6.6 feet) long. Woodford Design’s PowerLine (£10) is similar in thickness but gives you 3 meters (9.8 feet) of cable. Griffin Technology’s 3 Meter USB to Dock Cable ($30) is also 3 meters long, but it’s quite a bit chunkier than the other two—it should hold up to some abuse. The downside is that it’s thick enough to be unwieldy at times, and its larger dock-connector plug doesn’t fit the dock-connector opening in every iPhone, iPad, or iPhone case.
Griffin Technology USB Mini Cable Kit ($25): On the other hand, I’ve long been a proponent of cutting down on cable clutter when traveling. Griffin’s USB Mini Cable Kit includes a trio of under-4-inches-long USB cables, each with a standard USB Type A plug on one end and a different connector on the other: mini-USB, micro-USB, and 30-pin dock connector. Between the three cables, you should be able to connect, charge, and sync your iOS devices, Bluetooth headsets and headphones, hard drives, and more.
SoundJaw LLC SoundJaw ($20; $35 for two): Nearly three years ago, I reviewed Ten One Design’s SoundClip, a clever accessory for the iPhone 3G and 3GS that clipped onto the bottom of the phone, covering its bottom-mounted speaker to redirect audio towards you. The SoundJaw is a similar product, but for the iPad. This accessory clips onto the lower-right corner of the iPad and redirects audio from the tablet's rear-mounted speaker towards the front. I’ve found that audio is considerably easier to hear with a SoundJaw on my iPad, and, as with the SoundClip, it’s even louder if the iPad is in landscape orientation and you’re holding the tablet with a hand in each corner—instead of blocking the speaker, your hand acts as an extension of the SoundJaw. The SoundJaw won’t fit an iPad with an all-over case, but it works great with Apple’s Smart Cover.
[Dan Frakes is a Macworld senior editor.]
Updated 12/19/2012, 9:40am, to note the discontinuation of the MonoPrice Power Bank battery.
This story, "Twenty-one overlooked iOS accessories" was originally published by Macworld.