The holidays have come and gone; with them arrived a couple of new accessories to compliment my iPad 2. The vast number of third party accessories that accompany any Apple product is overwhelming, and with the amount of care and logic that go into every Apple product, it’s hard to find an accessory that truly adds value to the Apple experience. Today, I’ve got two different types of accessories that have wowed me, one is very practical, and the other is just a lot of fun.
When I was a kid, I played video games in arcades. The games were engaging, fun to play, and almost anyone could learn to play in a few minutes. With the advent of iOS, we’re seeing the same type of simplicity that really works for games: fun, engaging, and easy to learn. The iCade, from Ion Audio, is an iPad accessory that is a small replica arcade-style cabinet. (https://www.ionaudio.com/products/details/icade) It allows you to play certain games on the iPad with controls that are faithful reproductions of the arcade controls I knew and loved. It features a sturdy control stick on the left, and eight sizeable buttons on the right, all of which have an authentic arcade-style feel and functionality. It connects with the iPad via Bluetooth and the cabinet can hold the iPad both horizontally and vertically. There is an app available in the App Store, Atari’s Greatest Hits, which brings some old classic favorites to the iPad, which are a lot of fun to play with the iCade. While the app does have additional games available for purchase, all 100 can be obtained for $9.99, a good value for the amount of fun you’ll have. The iCade itself is priced at $99.99, which might be a bit steep, but I found mine for half price right after Christmas, so keep an eye out for deals on this one.
The second accessory that I’m using daily is a practical solution to an issue that owners of iPads (or iPhones) and Mac laptops face daily: finding enough electrical plugs for your devices. The PlugBug Charger, from Twelve South, solved this quandary elegantly with inspired design and functionality. (https://twelvesouth.com/products/plugbug/) The PlugBug incorporates a 10W USB port that piggybacks on the standard Mac laptop charger. The result is a unified charging device that occupies one electrical outlet, which might not seem that incredible, but the functionality is just half the allure. Twelve South really upped the bar with this accessory in that the design of the product, and even the packaging, impressed the heck out of me. While it stands out from the stark white charger with it’s bright red color, it integrates perfectly with the original charger, almost as if Apple designed it. Of course, it charges any iOS device reliably, but for mobile warriors that have a multitude of power needs, this solution is one that you definitely need. Pricing for the PlugBug is $34.99, and at the time of this writing, is unavailable due to the incredible demand.
Accessories can add value and functionality to a product, provided that they are well thought-out and implemented with style. With the iCade and PlugBug, all of these qualities have been embraced.