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Choosing Accessories for Your iPad

Accessories for your iPad can make your computing life easier. Apple offers everything iPad from cases and covers to printers and cables. You can get iPad accessories from Apple or explore the ever-growing world of third-party accessories. At present, Apple offers a few accessories you might want to check out when you purchase your iPad:

  • iPad Case/Smart Cover: Unlike a laptop, your iPad has an exposed screen that can be damaged if you scratch it. Investing in the iPad Case or Smart Cover (note that the Smart Cover works only with iPad 2) is a good idea if you intend to take your iPad out of your house — or if you have a cat or grandchildren. The iPad Smart Cover costs about $40 for polyurethane and $70 for leather, and other cases vary in price depending on design and material.

  • iPad Camera Connection Kit: Because there's no USB port on an iPad, you can't use a USB connection to upload photos from your digital camera to your iPad. If you want to add this functionality, you can use this handy kit. It will set you back about $30.

  • Apple iPad Dock/Apple iPad 2 Dock: The iPad is light and thin, but holding it all the time can get tedious. A dock costs $30.

    The iPad 2 Dock lets you prop up your iPad for hands-free viewing or while you charge the battery a
    The iPad 2 Dock lets you prop up your iPad for hands-free viewing or while you charge the battery and sync content to your computer.

    iPad Keyboard Dock: The iPad provides an onscreen keyboard that's passable in landscape orientation. However, if you want to write long e-mails, or use the iPad as a primary computing device, the iPad Keyboard Dock or a wireless keyboard is a must. You can also use an Apple Wireless Keyboard or any Bluetooth keyboard with your iPad. These keyboards cost about $70.

    You can use the Keyboard Dock with your iPad only in portrait mode and only with a first-generation iPad.

    This lightweight keyboard is remarkably comfortable to use for typing or syncing.
    This lightweight keyboard is remarkably comfortable to use for typing or syncing.
  • Apple Earphones with Remote and Mic: There are two versions of these: in-ear and not so in-ear. They both offer remote control of your audio.

  • iPad 10W USB Power Adapter: This accessory is similar to the 10W USB Power Adapter that ships with the iPad. However, it sports a six-foot-long cord.

  • Apple VGA Adapter: Use this to connect your iPad to a TV, monitor, or projector to watch all that great multimedia. You can also use the Apple Composite AV Cable or the Apple Component AV Cable to attach your iPad to the corresponding audio and video inputs, respectively, on your entertainment center.

  • Apple Digital AV Adapter: With this adapter, you can use a technology called Thunderbolt that allows you to connect devices to output high-definition media. Though there are hardly any devices out there that use this technology, they are coming soon.

  • Apple Composite AV Cable/Apple Component AV Cable: These accessories sell for about $40 each and let you connect your iPad to a TV or stereo system.

  • Printers: Apple has teamed with Hewlett-Packard (HP) to produce several printers that work with iPad's native printing capability to handle wireless printing. These printers range in price from about $100 to about $250, and you can browse all models at the online Apple Store.

Don't bother buying a wireless mouse to connect with your iPad via Bluetooth. The iPad recognizes your finger as its primary input device, and mice need not apply.

If you want to explore third-party accessories, there are many. For example there are suede, leather, neoprene, aluminum, and canvas cases; a variety of stands; carrying bags; screen protectors; and external batteries to supplement iPad's impressive 10-hour battery life.

There are even a few clothing companies coming up with duds that can hold an iPad. (Steve Wozniak is on the board of SCOTTEVEST, so you know they've got a few iPad-holding clothes.) iClothing and iPad Suit are following suit — excuse the pun.

Wear your iPad with style.
Wear your iPad with style.
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