Few people know that I had a cameo appearance in one of the live reports covering the launch of the iPad. The reporter sitting next to me recorded my loud cheer when Apple showed off the keyboard dock. I have been calling for dock and Bluetooth input support for the iPhone and iPod touch for years. It certainly makes sense to introduce this functionality on a larger device, particularly one for which Apple is developing a version of iWork, and hopefully it will trickle down to Apple’s handhelds.
Now that we’ve seen the first Apple accessories for the iPad, here are some third-party products that would complement Apple’s slate in descending order of practicality and potential:
- Headrest strap. One of the iPad’s less obvious opportunities is in the vehicle, particularly as a rear-seat video system that could serve as a 21st Century successor to the portable DVD player that has seen so much use in vehicles.This accessory could function similarly to those portable DVD cases that can wrap around a headrest – simple, inexpensive and functional.
- Clamshell enclosure. This one is the most fascinating to me. Essentially, such a product would turn the iPad into the equivalent of the detachable tablet that is part of the Lenovo U10, which was certainly the product that received the most buzz at CES among computing devices, if not all devices. The Always Innovating TouchBook has a clamshell keyboard add-on for $100, and it adds battery life to boot. It would also be great if this product provided a way to swivel the iPad from landscape to portrait mode, but that could be challenging.
- Refrigerator mount/dock. How many concept and high-tech refrigerators have you seen with LCDs that don’t do much beyond serving as a digital picture frame. This idea is also inspired by the Always innovating Touch Book, which has a magnetic back for affixing to kitchen appliances. But it also draws from the Audiovox audio and video message boards that included a 7” digital picture frame and a long wire intended to go over the top and behind the refrigerator to an outlet that can power and charge the screen. The iPad could do a better job at providing all the great functionality of the iPod touch in the kitchen.
So, what do you say, Griffin? Logitech? Belkin? Kensington? Audiovox?