I’ve been using the Compass 2 in lieu of a Smart Cover for a few weeks now, and I’m impressed with how versatile this metal stand has turned out to be. TwelveSouth’s take on an iPad stand offers the usual bag of tricks — portrait and landscape viewing, and a flatter angle for typing — but the difference is how this little stand stays so compact.
I imagine the term easel was likely thrown around during the marketing phase of this product. When the iPad sits back in this stand with the Paper app loaded up, it’s reminiscent of canvas on an easel. However, “Compass” is still a great name for this product, given the way it folds out like the mathematical instruments I used in high school: two legs swing out horizontally, and an extra leg folds backwards to help form a stable platform. Each leg on the Compass has a sort of foot, which folds out to help hold the iPad up.
This the HoverBar 3 is the accessorry that will save your iPad from falling on your face while you read in bed. It’s essentially a clamp for the iPad that’s attached a flexible metal arm that you can grip onto most desk, bed frames, or monitors.
There are a lot of use cases for this, but the ones that immediately come to mind are:
- using the iPad as a secondary mini monitor with an app like Air Display 2
- holding the iPad up in bed for Netflix or iBooks usage, so that you can dual wield a thumbs-up to salute how convenient your life has become
- a flexible, rotateable stand in messy areas where you might still want an iPad around (e.g. the kitchen…or the bathroom?!)
The HoverBar 3 also comes with a desk stand that you can attach to the Fit Clip, so you can use the HoverBar in lieu of a Smart Cover for certain tasks. I’m not sure how practical that would be for me as a Compass 2 and Smart Cover user, but it’s an interesting little extra.
There’s no question that this new HoverBar is free, but you may not feel like you can easily afford one. At $100, this is definitely a bit more of an investment than most other accessories, but the fact that TwelveSouth actively sells replacement Fit Clips for different iPad sizes means that the HoverBar should be useful for quite a while (and likely stay compatible with future generations of the iPad). However, I should be clear that the basic $100 purchase already covers all three current sizes of the iPad: iPad 4, iPad mini, and iPad Air.
If the HoverBar sounds intriguing, you can check out more details on the TwelveSouth website.
TwelveSouth, makes of premium Apple-only accessories, recently announced their SurfacePad for iPad mini. It’s a svelte Napa leather cover that adds very little to the iPad’s dimensions, while offering scratch protection, the texture of actual leather, and the convenience of a few built-in stands. The magnets hidden in the front of the SurfacePad act just like a Smart Cover for sleep/wake action, and the kickstand and magnets hidden along the rear panel help prop the iPad up in two viewing angles, and one typing angle. I also like how TwelveSouth made the cover rigid, allowing you to fold it behind the iPad and hold it easily. That addresses one of my pet peeves with the Apple Smart Cover: the fact that the three (or four) panel design can often hang limply underneath the iPad during use.
I previously reviewed the SurfacePad for iPhone and was quite pleased with it, so I’m glad that TwelveSouth decided to adapt the idea for the iPad. In fact, I think the overall design is a much better fit for the tablet, as the cover will likely be heavy enough to stay closed at all times (instead of occasionally swinging open, as it did on the iPhone 4S). Having several viewing and typing angles is fairly standard in the iPad accessory field, but what’s impressive about the SurfacePad is that it does all of this while keeping a very low profile.
TwelveSouth released the $70 iPad mini edition first, but I do plan on reviewing the version for the Air when it comes out in a few weeks. In the mean time, do take a look at TwelveSouth’s terribly slick product page.