USB-C Hubs often feel like a dime a dozen commodity accessory. There are plenty of cheap ones (in more ways than one) to be found at places like Amazon and eBay. I’ve used a few such accessories over the last few years, and you can usually tell how poor the quality is within a few hours. Whether it runs blazing hot or works inconsistently, they tend to be worth what you paid for them, and not in a good way.
A good laptop backpack that you can feel good about owning
I love a good laptop backpack. In my line of work, where I’m always carrying my laptop, iPad Pro and all their various accessories along with plenty of stuff in my hands like controllers or tools, a backpack is definitely the most efficient way to get it all from A to B. Because of this, I’m all ears whenever there’s an opportunity to review new backpacks.
I recently came across product announcements for a couple of new goodies from the well-known accessory manufacturer Satechi. While I will write more about them in the future, either together or individually, I wanted to go ahead and post some initial impressions of their Slim X1 Keyboard and Aluminum Desktop Stand now.
Quick research will show that Loop Attachment started its life developing a silicone watchband for the sixth generation iPod Nano (I still have one; it’s no iWatch but it’s decent enough for what it is), but it was the release of the Mummy Case for iPhone a while after that brought them better attention. At a slight risk of being sexist, the band of vibrant colours seemed to delight the girls, and the boys got excited that the silicone strips on the back held their plastic and Nando’s loyalty card. The silicone-clad marriage appeared happy enough.
As one would have expected, an iPad Mini companion was later released on the heels of its iPhone Mummy Case sibling. Although they’ve removed the card-carrying function this time, they were kind enough to replace it with another: it’s now a thief-deterrent. Who’d want to steal a kitsch tablet?
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“Magic Cloth” – MacMagazine Brazil
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Plinth is an interesting looking little pocketable stand for the iPad and just about any other tablet. It’s a Kickstarter project that’s about half way to its funding goal with a little over a month left to meet its target.
It’s notable mainly because of its (very) small size and due to its being touted as a ‘universal’ tablet stand. It looks cleverly designed – folded down it fits in a pocket and is roughly the size of an iPhone; it uses ‘flip out wings’ and rubber feet to provide its stand capability.
I’ve used a few very small iPad stands in the past. Some, like the Twelve South Compass Mobile Stand, have been very impressive. Others have been OK, but lacked a little in terms of stability.
The Plinth looks good in its trailer video. I may try to get a review unit at an appropriate stage of the project – as I’m always on the lookout for good iPad and tablet stands.
Take a look at the Plinth Kickstarter page and see what you think of this versatile little stand.
I’ve tried out a good number of styluses for the iPad over the last few years – and they were good, bad, and mediocre. I’ve yet to find one that I continued using for more than just a brief tryout period and it’s been a long while since I felt excited about a stylus.
The ZEN 3 in 1 looks like it might be worth getting a little excited about. It’s a Kickstarter project that was successfully funded a couple days ago and more than doubled its funding target. It looks to be priced very competitively, starting at around $40 MSRP when it comes to market.
I’m far (far!) from an expert on the design and production of styluses, but the details on the ZEN 3 in 1’s Kickstarter page still strike me as impressive. The makers of it have been kind enough to offer me a review unit – so I’ll soon get a chance to see if it’s as good as it looks.
You can see check out all the technical details and watch a video demo at the ZEN 3 in 1 Kickstarter page.
Pad & Quill make some lovely handcrafted cases for the iPad. Their latest new collection is called the Author Series and allows us to build our own iPad cases with a fair bit of help and some unique patterns to work with.
The series features 5 very handsome new designs from Tamrah Ryan, an artist from the St. Paul area where P&Q are based and where they make these cases.
You can choose your colors for inside, spine, outside, and elastic – and also select to add pocket and monogram options if you like. And of course you then choose which new design to use on the case. I especially like the blue and black patterned one.
The Author Series goes for $79.99. You can see lots more detail, customize your case, and place an order at the P&Q product page for the new line.
I’m not that frequent a user of iPad keyboard cases, but I have to say this one looks great. It’s called the VersaKeyboard and it’s touted as ‘the first disappearing iPad keyboard’.
If it’s even near as good as the promo video then it’s going to be a heck of a good iPad keyboard case. I’m also optimistic about it because it’s from Moshi, makers of one of my all-time favorite and most heavily used iPad cases – the VersaCover.
Here’s a few of the key features of the VersaKeyboard:
- Detachable Bluetooth keyboard with 130 hours of battery life and LED power indicator.
- Folding VersaCover doubles as a stand in portrait and landscape modes.
- Ultra-thin and lightweight design at 13.4 ounces (380 grams).
- Durable polycarbonate shell includes convenient keyboard slot.
- Support for iPad auto-wake and sleep functionality.
It’s compatible with the iPad Air (I hope we’ll see one for the Retina iPad mini soon) and priced at $100.
You can see more detail and place an order at the VersaKeyboard product page at Moshi.
Well here’s a cool idea. Declan Squared is a fashion-conscious line of microfiber pocket square and handkerchief cleaning cloths – so we can keep our iPads and other favorite touch devices clean and have a bit of style while doing so.
Here’s a little bit of their intro on Kickstarter:
Squared is 12×12 inches of incredible microfiber. Depending on the particular design of Squared, you may not even know the difference between it and traditional pocket square materials. Some designs look like silk, others look like cotton. We are even in the process of trying to create some that look like wool. The texture of Squared is soft, with an ever so slight hint of fuzzy.
I think this is a great idea. Cleaning cloths have become an essential accessory for those of us who use touchscreen devices heavily – so why not make them easier on the eyes.
Today is Black Friday and of course that means that in amongst all the general madness and chaos there are an enormous number of sales on iPads and iPad related products. I’m not going to try to reinvent the wheel in terms of comprehensive roundups of all the great iPad related bargains to be had; instead I’ll share a couple of links to good ones and a handful of individual sales that have really caught my eye.
Deals on iPads, iPhones, Macs, and Accessories from 9to5Mac: http://ipadinsight.com/sponsor-posts/sponsor-polaris-office-for-ipad-on-sale-for-80-off-just-99-cents/
Big list of iOS apps and games on sale at 148 Apps: http://www.148apps.com/news/black-friday-app-sale-apps-games-sale-iphone-ipad/
20% off all iPad cases at Pad & Quill: http://www.padandquill.com/black-friday.html
20% off all iPad cases (and everything site-wide) at Portenzo: http://shop.portenzo.com/
20% (apparently the magic number) on iPad cases and everything else at Marblue: http://www.gomarblue.com/#
The Elements in Action iPad / universal app 50% off: https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/the-elements-in-action/id739281034
The Elements a Visual Exploration – down from $13.99 to $8.99: https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/elements-visual-exploration/id364147847
Terminology 3 down from $2.99 to $1.99: https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/terminology-3/id687798859
Many of these may well run through this weekend too.
Of course there are plenty more good deals out there, but hopefully the links above will be a good head start on finding lots of good ones.