Mark McDonald

A member of the Gartner Blog Network

Mark P. McDonald
GVP EXP
8 years at Gartner
24 years IT industry

Mark McDonald, Ph.D., is a former group vice president and head of research in Gartner Executive Programs. He is the co-author of The Social Organization with Anthony Bradley. Read Full Bio

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Looking for a great combination of iPad accessories

by Mark P. McDonald  |  February 8, 2011  |  4 Comments

I have written about my personal experience with the iPad since its release in April. The last post I asked about great applications and you all recommended the Good Reader for PDFs and some other great tools. Thanks for that. Now I wanted to ask about the accessories that go with the iPad and its use as a daily light duty computing and communications platform.

With that said, I have been looking for some time for the right set of accessories to create the following environment.

  • A case for the iPad that protects it looks nice and is readily identifiable as mine.
  • A keyboard that supports creating documents ranging from 1000 to 5000 words. Typing a medium sized document that is possible with the soft keyboard but works better with a real keyboard.
  • A stand that enables viewing the screen and using it a display.
  • The whole set of gear has to fit neatly into a brief case so its easy to carry and readily part of rest of my travel gear.

These are somewhat basic, but filling them has been more challenging that I thought, so it would be great to get your experience and thoughts as I think I may have found a good combination.

Here is what I have tried in the past:

The Apple cover for the iPad. It protects the iPad, it has its own built in stand – kind of – it looks great. The only problem is that everyone else has one so it is not identifiable from others.

A Bluetooth rubberized keyboard that i could carry along with my iPad. The keys were too small and more like chick lets so that did not work,

An aftermarket leather cover that protects the device and is unique on a conference room table of iPad’s.  But it does not come with stand.

Apple’s wireless keyboard, which works great, its full sized, easy to carry, great battery life etc.  But its Apple’s generic keyboard so it does not have the iPad specific keys that help keep your hands on the keyboard rather than constantly reaching for the screen.

I then tried the combination cover from ZAGGmate with keyboard that is an aluminum keyboard cover all in one. It was the best idea, a solid design, good materials, but it is only a cover and the keyboard. The keyboard has the iPad specific keys and while its good sized the keys are at the bottom of a tray so you have to reach over the edge with your hands causing them to scrape against the lip of the cover. That would be ok, for occasional use as it looks slick, but for everyday medium to heavy use is abrasive against my hands. But a great design and idea.

I recently picked up an Arkon Portable Stand for the iPad, kind of like an adjustable picture frame for holding the device upright. Its small and folds down, but I have only had it for a day so I am not sure how it is going to work.

So there, you have it. Right now, I am left with a leather cover that is unique, but with no stand, Apple’s wireless keyboard, which works well, but is separate from the device, and a second stand that folds up but is separate again.

Welcome your thoughts as the device is great and while I do not want to rebuild a PC or just get the MacBook Air, I am looking for the right set of accessories to get more value out of the investment.

Comments welcome.

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