What's an Apple iPad Without Special iPad Accessories?

We look at a clutch of accoutrements that could add some zing to your iPad experience.

iPad Accessories Arrive

Almost as soon as Steve Jobs revealed Apple's shiny new iPad (and announced its dimensions) to the world, accessories manufacturers went to town. So far, simple cases and protectors abound, but some early innovators have created accessories that enhance what are expected to be the many potential uses of the iPad.

Anyone eagerly anticipating this weekend's release of the iPad has the option of preordering the device. Unless you must have it on Day 1, April 3, use the time you'd spend waiting in line to accessorize with abandon. Here are some suggestions.

ModulR Accessories, price to be determined

In addition to what appears to be a durable iPad case, ModulR announced a line of iPad accessories that look next-gen and take advantage of the tablet's diverse uses.

The car mount, shown here, stands out because it enhances an everyday application for the tablet (serving as a portable media player easily adaptable to your vehicle). Also of note from this company are the wall mount and shoulder-strap accessories, which allow you to show off the iPad in unusual ways.

iLuv Screen Protectors, $20 to $25

iLuv offers two scratch-resistant films, antiglare ($20) and mirror ($25), in iPad size. They're similar to the screen protectors that have been popular for use with cell phones and MP3 players (but were also recently banned from Apple stores).

Alternatives include BodyGuardz ($20 to 30) and Griffin Technology's Screen Care Kit (price to be announced), which includes a matte-finish screen protector as well as a cleaning cloth.

Griffin Technology FlexGrip, price to be determined

Looking for another large but iPhone-like accessory? Griffin Technology offers the FlexGrip, a close-fitting, silicone wrap that should protect the iPad from dings and scratches.

Apple Keyboard Dock, $69

Despite the snafu involving the late shipment of some official iPad accessories, one of the presumably most useful is the Keyboard Dock (scheduled to ship in late April). The dock is designed to display the screen at an appropriate angle for long typing or viewing sessions. It can also connect your iPad to speakers, a TV, or a video projector.

If you don't need the keyboard, Apple sells the dock separately for $29 (scheduled to ship by April 3). Conversely, you can purchase Apple's slender Wireless Keyboard ($69) without the dock.

Cocoon Gramercy Messenger Sling, $30

Cocoon takes nerd-chic organization to new heights with the Gramercy Messenger Sling. Some serious thought went into an iPad bag that also features an easy-access, dedicated pocket for your iPhone or iPod. In addition, the bag comes with the company's Grid-It system, a thin panel with woven elastic bands that offers endless configurations for gadget organization (it even moonlights as a mouse pad if you turn it over).

The Sling will be available on April 15, in black, gray, or red.

Happy Owl Clutch and Wallet, price to be determined

Happy Owl Studio offers three varieties of this professional, stylish iPad protective case. The Clutch resembles a woman's favorite going-out purse (with a built-in accordion-style file to hold all of your essentials), while the Wallet is a streamlined version without the extra sleeve. The Wallet Deluxe is the same as the Clutch, but in black leather. Shipping and pricing are as yet undetermined.

Uncommon Capsule Case, price to be determined

Uncommon will soon offer the option to customize a two-piece, polycarbonate iPad case with your own design (or images from the company's galleries). Alternatively, Macally's MetroChrome is a mirrored-finish, hard-shell case with a distinctly futuristic look ($30).

Belkin Grip Sleeve, $40

Simple, protective sleeves are cropping up left and right. Belkin offers this Grip Sleeve (made of neoprene and silicone) with a textured exterior.

Hip Handmaids iMaxi, $40

Etsy seller Hip Handmaids brings some levity to the iPad accessories market with the (quirky? funny? outlandish?) iMaxi Cover with Protective Wings. We are not sure exactly what to make of this, but you know somebody had to do it.

Hard Candy Sleek Skin, $40

Hard Candy has announced a series of iPad cases, including an alternative to the traditional silicone grip. The Sleek Skin will be available in April and features a snap-on screen protector (that you can attach to the back for safekeeping while using the tablet). The company also offers a hard-shell version with a polycarbonate exterior and a rubberized interior ($50).

Macally ViewStand, price to be determined

Many early iPad accessories double as a case and stand (see the BookStand and the official iPad case), but Macally will soon ship a dedicated, aluminum ViewStand that users can adjust for various screening angles.

Another option: RadTech's adjustable, rugged OmniStand ($60 to $70) isn't a devoted iPad accessory, but it can be a serious portable-computing companion for any type of mobile device.

SFBags iPad Smart Case, $60

One of a number of luxury iPad accessories, the Smart Case from SFBags promises a slim and stylish design that also provides "hard-core protection." According to the company's site, it will ship within one to three weeks of the iPad's release date.

Vaja's Retro Slim Jacket ($120) is a sleek leather case with a magnetic snap closure (and customizable base/trim colors) that appears to match Apple's streamlined-design ethos.

Meanwhile, leather crafter Orbino ups the ante with the sumptuous Padova Case ($209), a hand-stitched cover and viewing stand.

Pogo Sketch Stylus, $15

Ten One Design recently announced that the Pogo Stylus and Pogo Sketch (shown), originally designed for use with the MacBook touchpad and the iPhone, will be compatible with the iPad. Each aluminum stylus gives users a more controlled experience, which is particularly useful for drawing and handwriting applications.

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