Accessories,  Review

iPad Keyboards, Cases and Styluses

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Increasingly, people are using iPads for creating content, as well as reading and viewing content. While the iPad digital keyboard is nifty (especially if you know these clever typing shortcuts) a stylus, or keyboard, or keyboard-and-stand combination can all make writing, editing, and creating on the iPad much easier. Dan Frakes has a thorough review of iPad keyboards in his Macworld Buying Guide: iPad keyboards. Frakes also favors Adonit’s Writer folio case and Bluetooth keyboard, the one I wrote about here and have been using quite happily (though I’m still planning to pick up Apple’s Bluetooth keyboard to use with my iPad and with an iMac).

For non-keyboard cases, this Macworld Buying Guide: iPad Cases seems to be the most thorough and helpful collection of reviews. I might as well confess that Apple’s red leather smart case for the iPad 2 (or possibly the navy blue leather one) are awfully tempting—though not quite enough to tempt me into buying an actual iPad 2. Instead, I bought a padded neoprene slip cover case that neatly fits in the padded laptop compartment of my backpack. That said, I’ve been eyeing the design-your-own cases and protective hard shell covers from Zazzle and Cafe Press.

My current obsession, personally, is with the utility of using a stylus to write and draw on the iPad. I’m about to post a review of the Griffin GC16040 Stylus for iPad/iPhone and Other Touchscreens. I’ve been fascinated to see how well it works, and yes, the Griffin Stylus really is an asset. I note that once again the Macworld Buying Guide: iPad Styluses seems to provide the best coverage.
At the high end, they like the Wacom Bamboo (and it’s available in multiple colors) at around $25.00. I’ve heard good things about Wacom’s Bamboo Stylus from others too. I note that a lot of my friends are buying the BoxWave Capacitive Stylus; like the Griffin Stylus, it’s about ten dollars, but the Boxwave comes in colors, and people seem to be buying two or three at a time.


  • Dawno

    First off, great set of very helpful/useful articles! Thank you.

    I have the Boxwave, love it. It’s essential at conventions where I use Square to accept credit card payments. People using their fingers often hit the ‘continue’ area with their palms before they sign. With a stylus they don’t do that and they seem to be more comfortable with it than using a finger, anyway.

  • Joseph M. Newcomer

    Several useful accessories I’ve found:

    For a case, the HP notebook case is padded and has a zippered pouch where I keep the power block and the window washer pads (from CostCo) for when I move from virtual keyboard to NetFlix. Furthermore, it’s big enough that I can shove the Apple Bluetooth keyboard in and zip it shut. Something like $20 at Best Buy (or maybe a couple dollars more, I don’t remember).

    I use my iPad2 a lot at night (when I do most of my writing), and I found the SpiderArm product works nicely. The version I bought had a beige holder for the iPad2, and didn’t fit particularly well. Yesterday, I received a new, clear plastic, holder for the iPad2, with their observation that the old one wasn’t particularly good. They’re right; the new one doesn’t stress the glass front, which caused several forms of misbehavior of the iPad2. With the Bluetooth keyboard and a set of reading glasses, it’s an ideal writing environment for me. Key here for glasses users is that if you have bifocals or trifocals, get a single-lens that lets you read the screen at whatever distance is comfortable for you; otherwise, you spend the time being a bobblehead and your neck will really hurt at the end of the day. Been there, done that. I’m a trifocal user, but I have a pair of bifocals for desktop computer use (screen distance/close reading distance), and monofocal for reading in bed (or on the porch, or in an airplane) .

    The only problem with the SpiderArm is you have to loosen the joints to adjust some of the positions, but the holder supports turning from landscape to portrait modes, and allows some rotation to adjust the angle of viewing. I got it online for about $50. I will probably buy another one for next year to use on the porch (my other favorite writing location, but one I didn’t get to use much this summer due to circumstances beyond my control).