Response: The Brooks Review Latest About iPad Hardware Accessories

Reflecting on the state of accessories developed by Kickstarter/IndieGoGo campaigns for the iPad

I recently jumped back into subscribing to Ben Brooks’ venture The Brooks Review. Of the things I want to spend my time reading, he has found a decent way to keep me engaged by doing more than simply recycling links.

What I’ve liked most about his postings so far has been his journals about productivity on an iPad [Pro]. Because I share in being productive on mine, I enjoy reading what he is discovering and experimenting with. In his latest, he goes into the kind of hardware accessories found in places like Kickstarter and IndieGoGo. While he seems to find pretty much nothing but cases, speakers, and Pencil accessories to speak on; it would have been good to hear about other ideal accessories. Here’s my attempt to talk towards that end.

My iPad Pro Accessories

I would like to think I’m mostly simple when it comes to my iPad however I have made some specific decisions about what I will and won’t carry. Here’s my list of what I have so far:

  • Stylus Sling
  • Inateck felt case
  • Lightning to VGA adapter
  • Lightning to SD Card Camera Reader
  • Tronsmart T1000 Elite wireless display dongle

I’d rather opine on just a few of these for the case of responding to Ben’s article.

Inateck felt case

The Inateck case (12in version of what is linked) was something I was attracted to in seeing a few other people using it for either tablets or laptops. Being a felt case, I was pretty confident that it would offer suitable weather protection. I’m not as concerned about drop protection, but that’s about the only thing which would improve this. I’m not sure that it would though. That it’s slim, soft, and really doesn’t add girth to carrying the iPad or my other accessories with it might keep that knock from affecting much.

Two pockets — at one time it held both my 12in Pro and 7.9in Mini along with extra cables and dongles. Cant say enough about this Inateck case — except that it would have been great to have it in a gold felt that matches my devices.

Ben doesn’t go the route of talking about cases, but I can say this is probably one of the few items which gets more attention than the iPad Pro itself. Adjectives like professional and versatile combine with its excellent value. I’m glad it was recommended to me.

Tronsmart T1000 Elite

Before I went all in on iOS devices, I had three mobile computing platforms that I used regularly. And in the slice of work I do where I’m doing presentations, I try to make sure to have a means to connect to a larger screen. The Tronsmart T1000 Elite dongle was an excellent find in that it supported not only the Miracast Android devices I used, but it also supported my Chromebook and my iPad through AirPlay. That kind of flexibility is just hard to let go of, even if it’s difficult to figure out the best way to do scaling from the crazy high resolution of the 12in iPad Pro.

The Tronsmart connects to a screen (projector or TV) via the HDMI port. It needs to be powered, which some TVs do easily; and then it’s just a matter of connecting to the ad hoc wifi spot that it connects and choosing AirPlay mirroring. Unfortunately, iOS only supports mirroring, but it works for presentations and hotel room movies. I recommended this to a former coworker, but the state of the office network made doing Internet pass through more of a hassle than it was worth. Still, this dongle, and a previous generation of it, sits in the pocket of the Inateck case.

The Other Accessories

The Apple Pencil with Stylus Sling pretty much a decent pairing. I didn’t like the magnetic Pencil covers because of the way they weighted the Pencil. The Sling does a decent job of staying out of the way and blends in decently with my Smart Cover.

It’s interesting. As I write, I wonder if I really need to keep the other accessories. I do use the VGA adapter when HDMI isn’t available, but not often. The SD Card reader i bought but seems to really have more use at home than on the road.

Push More than Covers?

If there was something I wish I saw from Kickstarter campaigns pushing accessories, it would be items more like this. Ways of extending the screen, improving interactions (I still would love a Leap Motion controller to use with the Pro so that I can sit it across the room), or even being able to somehow add other iOS devices to what can be controlled/managed from the Pro — those are the kinds of ideas I can see and would find near immediate use from.

For right now, those aren’t the focus of those developing these accessories. And that’s their prerogative. However, if the iPad is going to be taken more serious as a productivity PC, then perhaps moving beyond cases and speakers isn’t simply a wish, but perhaps the better goal.

I’ve talked about other computing accessories in a previous piece here.

In order to read the iPad posts at The Brooks Review, you must be a member. At $4/month ($40/year), it’s worth it in my opinion.