Useful and Cool iPhone and iPad Accessories
Apple's portable devices are sleek, so you need accessories that match them--not strange or ugly ones. If it's cool, useful, or both, it's on this list.
Here are 20 gorgeous and/or practical accessories that can make your computing life with an iPhone or iPad better (and more stylish).
Showcase Your Movies
The iPad is great for watching movies on your own--but if you want to share your entertainment, check out the small but mighty MicroVision ShowWX+ pico projector. Available for $450, the projector displays video up to 100 inches wide with a 5000:1 contrast ratio for 2 hours; it also works with iPhones. Because it's laser-based, the 848-by-480-pixel image looks good on curved surfaces, as well.
Jawbone is already well known for its Bluetooth headsets, but now it has a cool wireless speaker called the Jambox ($199), too. The small, portable Jambox uses a pair of proprietary, sophisticated acoustic drivers that produce loud sound. Made out of rubber, the Jambox connects to your iPhone or iPad via Bluetooth (A2DP stereo). It should be a perfect match for the MicroVision projector.
Hardware Keyboard for iPhone
Former BlackBerry users who have switched to Apple's handset will find comfort with the Boxwave Keyboard Buddy case for the iPhone 4. If you don't mind adding a bit of extra weight to the slender iPhone, this $70 case will come in handy, as it features a slide-out Bluetooth QWERTY keyboard that you can use with any app that calls out the on-screen keyboard. The keyboard sports its own battery, which has an on/off switch for greater longevity (supposedly up to 45 days), as well as a USB port for charging.
iPad Netbook Case
The Crux360 iPad case is like the Swiss Army knife of iPad cases. When closed, it's just a normal iPad protective case--but when opened, this $150 case transforms your iPad into a netbook with a Bluetooth keyboard. You can also use this case in tablet mode (folded right back) or bent back for watching movies.
Floating Sound Dock
Minimal yet fully functional, Bang & Olufsen's BeoSound 8 sound system is a bit overpriced at $1000. However, it does feature two 70-watt active speakers and chrome, touch-sensitive controls. Also included in the pricey package are a USB slot, a standard 3.5mm audio jack, and of course an iPhone/iPad connection (it also has a backrest to counter the weight). And you can't deny that it's gorgeous.
Great Sound Everywhere
Libratone's Beat speakers bring a bit of Scandinavia to your living room. Starting at $866, these wireless speakers receive an audio signal up to 30 feet away from an iPad, iPhone, Mac, or PC through a small accessory that attaches via your device's 30-pin connector (USB on computers). Each speaker puts out 50 watts of audio, and you can connect as many cashmere-draped speakers as you want at the same time.
Origami Case and Stand
Priced at just $35, the Incase Origami iPad case is both a protective case and a stand for typing or watching movies. After you take your iPad out of the case, just make a few folds to turn the case into a practical stand. Available in pink or black.
The Kensington PowerBack is a battery extension, kickstand, and dock. Priced at $130, the PowerBack has a 4400mAh battery that will reportedly give you an extra 5 hours of juice. The stand recharges via MicroUSB and has a sync port so that you don't have to take the iPad out.
Say hello to your new interactive clock and photo frame. The PadTab is a cheap ($30) and simple way to mount your iPad in various places in your house. The basic pack comes with two plastic hooks to mount on the wall, plus a special bracket to stick on the back of the tablet. One you've set it up, you can mount the iPad in portrait or landscape mode.
The Compass Stand
Twelvesouth's Compass mobile stand ($40) combines angular design and portability. You can use it for typing or watching movies, and put it in portrait mode; when you're done, you can fold it away (it comes with a carrying case). The Compass stand is simple and elegant, and it takes only moments to set up in the position you want it.
iPad With iBallz
The iBallz is a novelty "case" for your iPad. Instead of covering the whole tablet with a protective shell, the iBallz ($20) consists of a set of four shock-absorbent balls that cover the corners of your iPad, held in place by a stretchy cord. The iBallz can protect your iPad from spills (by raising the tablet from the surface it stands on) and shock, and it even functions as a stand (just remove two of the balls).
The ZAGGmate iPad case ($70 alone or $100 with a keyboard), a 2011 CES Innovations Award honoree, is another sleek, multifunctional case. Made from aircraft-grade aluminum (to match the iPad), the ZAGGmate also has high-density padding and an innovative kickstand/hinge that supports ten different angles for viewing your tablet.
The Griffin PowerDock Dual not only accommodates your iPhone or iPad but also holds the contents of your pockets--be it coins or keys. The $60 dual dock gives you an unobstructed view of your iDevice and has charging--but not syncing--capabilities. The PowerDock Dual is also useful for travel, and comes with four international plug adapters.
Since an iPad needs more juice to charge than an iPhone does, your old iPhone car charger is useless for the tablet. The $30 PowerJolt Plus from Griffin charges up your iPad quickly from the car's 12-volt outlet, but also allows you to plug in another outlet (such as your old iPhone charger) to use while the iPad is charging.
Folding Wireless Keyboard
The $70 Matias Folding Keyboard is small enough to fit in most bags yet large enough to comfortably type on for hours. This battery-powered Bluetooth keyboard also has a number pad and volume controls for pure iPad-typing bliss.
Sound Beyond Size
iHome's iHM60 rechargeable mini speaker ($26) is small but mighty. The more you extend the speaker--which features vacuum bass expansion--the louder it gets. It connects to your iPhone, iPod, or iPad via a standard 3.5mm connection (and it can charge the battery through the same cable). When you're done listening, you can collapse the speaker (it fits in your hand) and store it in the provided carrying pouch.
Funky Lap Desk
Made out of bamboo, the minimalist, lightweight Cradle ($53) features a circular plate that rotates with the iPad. It has underside foam cushioning for extra comfort, too. It's certainly more practical than a simple cushion, and perfect for light work or entertainment while relaxing on your sofa.
The ToughCase from Magellan ($180) is a rugged, waterproof case for your iPhone. Not only does it protect your phone on wilderness treks or at the beach, but it also extends your phone's battery life and expands the accuracy of GPS reception. It's a little bulky, but it's worth grabbing if you plan on taking your phone adventuring.
Extra iPhone Battery Juice
The Super-Juice Power Case from Dexim ($70) doubles as a battery extension for your iPhone 4 and can give your handset up to 6 hours of extra talk time (or 10 hours of video). It comes with a micro-USB cable so that you can charge the case's battery, your phone's battery, and sync--all in one go.
Keep It Close
What good is your iPhone if you lose it? The $25 My Phone Leash helps you keep your iPhone close. Featuring a locking carabiner clip and a retractable cable, the Leash ensures that your phone will never be more than 30 inches away from you.