The ecosystem of 3rd-party accessories surrounding Apple gadgets have always been a healthy one. Apple Laptops, iPods, and iPhones have stimulated the developement of cases, docks, and peripherals to protect and extend the capabilities of those devices. The iPad is no different. The iPad is great for “consuming” media and has inspired the creation of all kinds of contraptions to help it stand up so users can lay back. There are instructions of how to make an iPad stand from a coat hanger, pencils & rubber bands, or just a simple block of wood. While all of those are great home-made solutions, we wanted to find some options more in keeping with the esthetics and build-quality as that of the iPad. After a bit of research, we settled on units which we feel follow the design spirit of the iPad: functional and great looking. Three of the units are portable. The others, not so much. We will take a closer look at portable ones today and save the not-so-portable (but still exceptionally cool) units for tomorrow.
First up is the Compass from Twelve South. As a Mac-centric accessories company, Twelve South have made a name for themselves in the short time they have been in business. Their gear is not only highly functional, but are created using the same design language as that of Apple. The result is their offerings function and blend seamlessly with the intended Apple products, and the Twelve South Compass for the iPad is no different. It folds up flat and can be stowed just about anywhere. The Compass is the most compact of the three portable units.
When opened, the Compass can support the iPad in two different configurations: high, low. In the high or upright position, the Compass acts like an easel, angling the iPad at a comfortable angle for watching a movie or to use with a keyboard. In the low position, it supports the iPad for use as a touchscreen or typing via the iPad’s onscreen keyboard. If you are looking for the utmost in portability, stop reading and get the Compass.
While two angles may be sufficient for many, it may not be enough for some. For those who want the ultimate in angling options, the Skadoosh Stand from JaDu is the answer. This may be the most flexible iPad stand on the market today. Like the two, the Skadoosh is crafted out of aluminum. Unlike the other two, it may be adjusted to the EXACTangle desired.
All of this adjustibility and stability is at the expense of size and weight. Compare to the other two stands, the JaDu unit is the biggest and the heaviest. However, if you need the adjustibility, this is the one.
The last of three is the Space Dock from LapWorks. This stand is interesting because of its simplicity. The base is a simple slab of aluminum. The stand may be adjusted by screwing the T-bar into one of three threaded holes. The channel for supporting the iPad is felt-padded for grip and scratch protection. There are holes on the right so sound from speakers are not blocked when the iPad is placed in the stand vertically.
Of the stands, the SpaceDock is the simplest and the cleanest looking three. We like it because it is not complicated and there is nothing to break. However, we think the T-bar is unnecessary. We would have preferred just a simple threaded rod (not a T) with a rubber tip at the end. The problem is that it if screwed down until tight, the T-bar will likely be at an odd angle. If the brace was just a rod, it could even be somehow made to be inserted into the base or fitted into the channel, making the entire package self-contained, for transport.