Category Archives: Accessories

How to stand your iPad on your desk the ‘stabile’ way

Ever since I’ve had my iPads, I’ve been wanting to have one sitting next to my iMac while working… either as a second monitor or as a way to use apps like Twitter to keep my iMac busy doing other things. But I’ve not found anything that would fit my needs – that is until now!

I found the ‘Stabile’ from Thought Out and ordered one right away. I think you can see why from this image:

Stabile iPad 2 and iPad Stand Holder
Stabile iPad 2 and iPad Stand Holder

Interesting choice of the name by the way… “stabile |ˈstāˌbēl| noun – a freestanding abstract sculpture or structure, typically of wire or sheet metal, in the style of a mobile but rigid and stationary.” Perfect choice!

I’ve only had mine for a couple of weeks, but the ‘stabile’ does just that. Almost like the old weebles – they wobble but don’t fall down… the stand is rock solid and doesn’t move. My iPad 2 is very comfortable and I’m thrilled to have it up off the desk. The stand is stylish (I bought black) and looks great next to my iMac.

I love being able to slide my wireless keyboard underneath as well when not in use. And the thought behind having the cord management is also very good.

Only negative (and they’re customer support group is already sending me a replacement) is that one of the base pads has moved. My office is very warm in the summer and I don’t know if it is a glue issue due to the heat or something else. So far it hasn’t fallen off. But that’s a pretty minor issue.

There is one other thing that might be a negative – but I can’t prove that it is the fault of the Stabile… I’ve just found a small nick in my cable… which may have come from me getting aggrevated the other day when the cable seemed stuck and I pulled kind of hard on it. So, blame the operator, but you should be aware that you might cause a problem if you’re impatient like me.

Pros and Cons!

Pros:

  • beautiful and solidly built – all one piece
  • extremely stable… this thing just won’t tip unless you give it a good whack
  • easily place your iPad on the stand and quickly take it off
  • wireless keyboard fits perfectly under the iPad conveniently accessible when you need it
  • holds the iPad firmly even with the HandStand case on my iPad
  • comes in several ‘color’ choices – $59 for the black, others are higher
  • won’t tip or even move when you tap on the screen

Cons:

  • I had one of the pads come unglued – but they’re replacing it under warranty
  • I developed a nick in my USB cable due to being impatient and yanking on the cord
  • Not portable – won’t be taking it on a trip – but it wasn’t designed for that 🙂

For feedburner daily email readers: watch the video (note: feedburner and other email systems disable the javascript embed tags so the videos won’t display.)

Stabile iPad 2 and iPad Stand Side View
Stabile iPad 2 and iPad Stand Side View

Summary

I haven’t done any extensive looking for others on the market that might be similar, but for me, the search stopped when I found this one. The only thing I’ve been able to think of that I might want to add to this would be the option to buy one that is taller. Tho that might make it less stable. You might think it is a bit on the more expensive side, but the quality and weight and design of this makes the value a bargain.

Blogger’s Disclaimer: I did purchase the Stabile but was told by the Thought Out folks that if I did a review, they’d send a refund. I’d buy one of these regardless and I don’t feel that impacted my review in any way.

planetMitch

Buy one at Amazon

   

The ugliest most comfortable way to hold your iPad – the HandStand

The first time I saw the HandStand for the iPad, I said “oh my, that’s ugly” and promptly deleted the email – but you know what? After about 15 seconds, I dove into my deleted emails to have a second look. As much as I disliked the look (and the email had the photo of the pink version as well – don’t get me started on that), the idea actually is brilliant and after using one for over a month, I confess that it hasn’t left my iPad 2 since the day it arrived! It isn’t really ugly, it is sleek and well built, but if you’re looking for style, you’re probably going to skip over this just like I did the first time. But looking for functionality and comfort, you can’t get much better than this.

First, have a look at the video Hub International (makers of the HandStand) has put together showing off the HandStand.

For feedburner daily email readers: watch the video (note: feedburner and other email systems disable the javascript embed tags so the videos won’t display.)

The different colors:

Handstand Colors
Handstand Colors

Pink? Really?

My feedback

One of the things I’ve always had trouble with (and you probably have too) is sitting for a long period while trying to read or surf or play a game… the iPad 2 is better than the first iPad due to weight, but it still is hard to find the right position to hold the thing. The HandStand is much better than any other case I’ve tried. When you have it on your hand, it is so nice to be able to turn your iPad to the best position without twisting your hands around.

One of my concerns was that it might scratch the back of the iPad with all that turning. They’ve certainly thought about that as there is a very good cloth pad that covers the turnie bits on the inside and from what I can see, there’s not much likelyhood of scratching. I’ve had cases for my iPods and iPhones that have scratched the case and this doesn’t appear to do that.

Another concern that will only be seen after quite a bit of use is the durability and elasticity of the hand strap… will it last a year or more? Or will it become the weak point and stretch with age? Obviously I can’t firmly answer that yet – I’ve only had it a month and a half – but it shows no signs of stress or age.

Pros and Cons!

Pros:

  • indeed, the most flexible and comfortable way to handhold the iPad
  • firmly holds the iPad 2 – won’t slip
  • adjusts the iPad to any position
  • very comfortable when holding the iPad for a long time
  • Does not scratch the back of the iPad from what I can see

Cons:

  • I guess some people like pink? Black or white are the best options IMHO
  • not easy to remove – but that’s also its advantage
  • won’t work with Apple’s magnetic cover
  • Doesn’t have a screen cover
  • The headphone slot is too small for my extension cord – hole could be just a hair bigger – but the standard iPhone headset fits like a charm.

Summary

I apologize to the folks at Hub International for calling the HandStand ugly, it isn’t all that bad (well, there is that pink issue) – but the HandStand is excellent for anyone who wants to be more comfortable when holding the iPad for a while – especially if you shift positions now and then – it is so easy to swivel. The ‘stand’ feature is ok, but I mainly use it for more grippage – not as a stand on a table. It is tight – your iPad is not going to fall out. It does go on and off fairly easily (you have to work at it – and working from the back and pressing around the edges is the best method I’ve found) but it is difficult enough that you’re not going to do it often.

You’re buying it for comfort and flexibility not looks and it provides both.

planetMitch

Blogger’s Disclaimer: The folks did provide me with a HandStand for review but honestly – I wasn’t even interested until I thought about the usability of this thing. After having it for a month, I can honestly say I’d buy one. But it did take the incentive of having one to get me to try it… and they’re not getting it back!

If you’re interested, you can buy the HandStand at Amazon (we’ll get a little commission if you do):

which cable is right for the iPad and iPhone? or how can I charge my iPad?

Those of us with many Apple devices end up with lots of cables and there seems to be a lot of confusion about which cable is the right one to use with the iPad and the iPhone in order to get a battery charged.

The reality is that there’s only one cable that Apple ships out with any of the iPhone/iPad/iPod devices these days. In fact, you can verify that on the Apple store’s page for their one cable. The bigger question is where do you plug the other end in!

You have 4 choices of where to plug in the ‘power’ end of the cable.

  1. the iPad wall adapter (10 watt)
  2. the iPhone wall adapter (5 watt)
  3. your mac’s USB port
  4. your pc’s USB port

And each one has a different impact on your results. The key is in the power rating of each of these devices.

The iPad brick

If you have an iPad and an iPhone, you’ll note that the power ‘bricks’ are different sizes. The iPad’s power brick is bigger because it is a 10 watt whereas the iPhone charger brick is 5 watt. And, each of the devices is tuned for it’s own brick. The best choice (assuming you’re not needing to sync your device) is to plug your iPad into the wall with the iPad brick.

And, you can plug an iPhone into an iPad brick. But it will only charge as fast as it normally would on an iPhone brick. The iPad brick doesn’t speed up charging of iPhones or iPod touches.

The iPhone brick

Interestingly, you can plug the iPad into an iPhone brick, but it won’t charge as fast as the iPad does – there aren’t as many watts flowing down the cord. But it will charge. You will likely find tho that the plugs may get hot – mine does when I plug the iPad into the iPhone brick.

The mac USB options

Where most people have trouble is in picking options 3 and 4 – plugging into a mac or a PC. Tho most people don’t have any trouble with plugging into the USB ports on the back of a mac or iMac because Apple has always put high power USB ports on the back of your mac. There may be some older macs with lower power USB, but I’ve read reports from folks as far back as 2006 macbooks that seem to work, so you’d have to dive into the specs of the machine to know for sure.

But most people won’t have the same success plugging into a keyboard USB port or a USB hub. When I plug my iPad into the keyboard of my iMac, I get a “not charging” message of the iPad and that’s because these are low powered USB ports.

Windows USB

The biggest area of problems is those with windows PCs. Many people discover that plugging an iPad into their PC’s USB ports get the ‘not charging’ message because their PC has low powered USB ports. Not all USB powered ports have the same output power ratings! They think that Apple has made a mistake and are upset. The problem tho is with their PC. And what many have discovered is that tho you may get the ‘not charging’ message, there still may be charging going on but it is at a slower rate than you would have gotten if you were using the iPad brick to plug into the wall.

So for these folks with low power USB ports, you’ll need to either plug it in and wait on the very slow charging (assuming you get any charging at all, and you’ll have to do your own experiments to know for sure) or plug into the iPad brick that came with your iPad.

Non-Apple cables

I’ve also read that there are some good generic (non-Apple) cables and some inferior ones. If you buy a generic cable that is really thin, most reports are that the cable is under powered for the iPad (not thick enough wire) and will heat up when trying to charge the iPad. They also won’t be as fast. I really wish Apple wouldn’t charge $29 for all their accessories like the cables… tho I now have a ton of them lying around the house.

The best solution?

Obviously, the two best solutions are the iPad brick or a high powered USB port. And, if you’re going to travel and want to take only one brick – take the iPad brick! You can use it to charge your iPhone as well as the iPad.

planetMitch

Disclaimer: I’m not an engineer – only have read lots of posts about this issue and tried to summarize them for you… please don’t blame me if you try something and your device blows up.

Really cool arcade cabinet for the iPad – the iCade

ThinkGeek has found something really cool for your new iPad – an arcade cabinet and an iPad app that gives you all of the old arcade games that you loved as a kid.

Wouldn’t you love to play with your iPad in this cool little cabinet? What a great party treat – gather all your friends around to play with this.

iCade - iPad Arcade Cabinet

Hint – go ahead and click the buy button on their site to see a special added bonus!

planetMitch

(Photo credit: snap from the thinkGeek page)

And thanks to @5tu for posting this on twitter!

iPad Cases – which is right for you?

Heck, this field is just now opening up and we’re sure this will be a HUGE market… just look at the number of iPod cases you can choose from! Even the malls here in the USA have kiosks where you can pick up a case for your iPhone/iPod etc. This is big business!

Well, the race is on to find the best case (and there may be more than one ‘best’). I’m sure that many of these manufacturers are working 12-24 hour days ramping up to get their case out ‘first’ because everyone knows the first out of the door wins the big business right? Well, ok, that’s not always true, you’ve got to have a good product first!

Of course, there’s always the Apple case – which is going to really be the first available… and here’s iLounge’s first look at the Apple case.

One of the first I’ve stumbled into is the quirky ‘cloak’ (and yes, the name of the company is ‘quirky’ – I didn’t just call it that to be funny haha). It seems they’ve met their initial quota for pre-orders and are in line to have the first ones done around May 1. The cloak has a protective cover that folds over like the Apple case and can show your iPad like a photo on your desk.

I’m not sure I’m a fan yet of the fold over cover… we’ll have to see. One of my first objections is that I also bought the iPad dock when I pre-ordered. I expect to have the iPad plugged in when it is in my office, like I do with my iPhone. Cases tend to mess up that whole plan! So I’m not sure how well anything is gonna match my desires.

Hard Candy seems to be producing 5 cases initially and most of them are listed with availability of now! Both hard and soft cases as well as one that has a flip cover. The hard cover looks interesting in that the iPad seems to just sit inside and you can easily remove it if you’d like. However, I’m not seeing any picture of the cover laying back against the back of the iPad, so I’m not sure I’m too keen on that either.

And for the really classy look, why not hide your iPad inside a book? This unique design lets you put your iPad up on the shelf when not in use hidden amongst your other books. There’s no current estimate on when this will be out.

I know there will also be many ‘skin’ products like iSkin and ifrogz.

Of course, if you’d like to support planetiPad, you could pick one of the cases from our Amazon Store. There are several vendors just re-purposing existing bags/sleeves to fit your needs if you need one asap.

Oh, someone on the yahoo iPad list posted this – these are interesting carry bags made for the iPad.

I’d like to try out several of these! Vendors should be flocking to my inbox LOL!

We’ll be following this entire case issue for a while I’m sure.

planetMitch