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Best accessories for your new iPad

From stands to camera connection kits, here's what to buy

You'd think that your shiny new iPad would come with more than a wall charger and a USB cable, but that's all you get in the box. No protection, no stand and no HDMI output.

Fear not, though, as we've gathered together a selection of essential accessories which will make your iPad complete, as well as protect it from the abuse that you - or those pesky kids - will throw at your tablet.

See also: Best cases and covers for the new iPad

Essential buys

First up, there are the two accessories which Apple should really have included in the box, but realised it could make extra cash by making them optional extras: the Camera Connection Kit and the Digital AV Adapter.

Although the prices will make you baulk, you can find them a few pounds cheaper if you don't buy from the Apple Store. The Camera Connection Kit costs £25, but is a worthwhile investment if you want to get your digital photos onto your iPad's fantastic retina screen.

Apple Camera Connection Kit

You get two adaptors in the kit, one with an SD card slot and a second with a USB port for directly connecting a camera. However, as people have discovered, you can use that USB port for other things, such as connecting external microphones (Blue's Snowball is one that works), keyboards, USB headsets and even iPhones (for importing photos).

The Digital AV Adapter costs a faintly ridiculous £35, but gives your iPad a full-size HDMI output and a passthrough 30-pin connector so you can charge your iPad while an HDMI cable is connected. Pop your TV on and you'll be able to watch BBC iPlayer plus movies and TV shows from your iPad on your big screen.

Griffin PowerBlock Plus

Griffin PowerBlock Plus

One charger is never enough, especially if you commute with your iPad. Griffin's PowerBlock Plus provides the necessary 2.1A power output to charge your tablet, but the passthrough socket means you don't lose the use of the socket. Expect to pay around £18.


STM Scout 2 iPad

The Scout 2 costs £35 and is specifically designed with the iPad in mind, although any 10in tablet will fit. There's a choice of black or olive and a thickly padded pocket should keep your iPad safe on your travels.

There's enough room even if your iPad already cocooned in another case, such as the superb M-Edge Trench Runner Jacket. A Velcro flap ensures it won't slip out when you unclip the main cover.

A pocket for documents can be found at the rear, plus five pockets in front of the padded section. Don't expect to be able to stuff anything bulky in: there's room for only a few cables and a wall charger, plus a small device such as an iPhone or a compact digital camera.

STM Scout 2 for iPad

Griffin XPO stand

Some iPad cases have built-in stands, but if you choose one that doesn't, this tiny, fold-up stand costs £18 and is ideal for carrying around. It will hold an iPad in portrait or landscape orientation, and you can adjust the exact angle by opening or closing the stand slightly. For typing, you can lay your iPad on top of the XPO, and there's a handy carry case included in the box.

Griffin XPO stand

Weird and wonderful

Belkin Chef Stand

Plenty of people use their iPads for recipes, whether it's following one they just from a website or using a dedicated app to collate and store them. The problem is that iPads and ingredients don't mix well, but Belkin has come up with a nifty stand for budding chefs.

The Chef Stand costs just over £20 and can either hold your iPad vertically or horizontally off the kitchen surfaces. It's easy to clean and has a rubber insert to prevent your tablet slipping.

The 'wand' part is an overgrown stylus which means you don't have to touch your iPad's screen and get it covered in grease and crumbs. We found it wasn't as responsive as traditional styluses (we had to press harder), and the magnetic tip didn't wake our new iPad as promised. However, it's easy enough to use the tip to press the home button instead.

Belkin Chef Stand

iRig Midi

If you can't stand the heat in the kitchen, maybe the iRig Midi will float your boat. It's a small box which plugs into your iPad's dock connector and provides three MIDI connections: in, out and thru.

We imagine most people will use it to play the instruments in GarageBand - either using a MIDI keyboard or a MIDI drum kit as the controller. We tried it with an M-Audio keyboard, and were pleasantly surprised to find it worked straight away with no settings to tweak.

We also got Animoog working as soon as we'd selected the correct MIDI device, and you can also download two free iRig apps: SampleTank and MIDI recorder.

Two 1.6m MIDI cables are included, and connect to the iRig's minijack ports. A micro USB port allows you to charge your iPad while playing. The iRig MIDI costs around £40.

iRig MIDI

 Follow Jim Martin and @PCAdvisor on Twitter.

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