What are the best cases, covers, stylus pens, keyboards, and more for your brand new 9.7-inch iPad? These are my favorites!
Apple's got a whole new 9.7-inch tablet — iPad (5th generation) — and it's more affordable than ever. So affordable, you might just have enough cash left over to trick it out. (What iPad Pro, right?)
iPad Smart Cover
I've owned one of these since they first launched alongside the original iPad Air and, as soon as I got iPad 5, I slipped it on, and it fit like home. Or a glove. Or a glove that's finally come home. Whatever. It fit great.
It protects the screen when folded down but can also be folded back so you can either type at a slight angle or watch videos at a sharp angle. You can even get it in (Product) RED from Apple, if you want to support the charity — and look wicked hot doing it.
What the Smart Cover won't do is protect that back. For that, you'll need to track down an original iPad Air Smart Case, which is also great, or get one of the many knock offs available on Amazon. If you want something cooler, I love the old world style of the Pad & Quill Walden Case. If you want something heavier-duity for work, kids, or travel, check out the Fre from Lifeproof.
Because the Smart Cover attaches magnetically, it has minimal bulk. It's just a hinge and foldable front panel. That'll keep your iPad screen safe from scratches, scrapes, and small impacts. It will also prop it up at more comfortable typing or viewing angles.
Pricing starts around $40.
No "Pro" means no Apple Pencil. But that doesn't mean no stylus pen! Adonit has been making amazing capacitive stylus pens for years and their latest, the Mark, is the company's best ever.
It's not Bluetooth, which means it doesn't have any pressure or sensitivity support, but it also means it doesn't depend on batteries, pairings, or connectivity. You simply pick it up, touch it down, and draw, write, game — create.
No matter which way you stylus, thanks to the length and change in angle of articulation, your fingers stay out of the way, and you can see more of the screen. You can also work in a way and with a tool that feels familiar. Which means you don't need to go Pro to feel pro. Pricing starts around $13.
Apple Magic Keyboard
Since iPad (5th Generation) is new, it's hard finding a lot of accessories specifically made for it. That's especially true when it comes to keyboard cases. Since iPad (5th Generation) has the exact same physical dimensions as the original iPad Air, though, you can cheat your way around it. If you can find the Logitech Ultra-Thin, for example, it's a great case that will serve you well. Ditto the Zagg Folio.
Logitech has a Slim Folio Case for iPad 5 up for pre-order, so hopefully that's a problem that solves itself shortly.
If you can't or simply want to wait for updated, iPad 5-specific versions, but still need a Bluetooth keyboard now, now, now, I'd suggest the Apple Magic Keyboard.
You'll need to use a case that props up your iPad, like the Smart Cover, but what you lack in a physical connection you make up for in flexibility — place the iPad anywhere you want and the keyboard anywhere that's comfortable.
Pairing is quick and easy and the typing experience is exactly what you'd expect from a pre-MacBopk Apple keyboard. Not too shallow, not too deep, and perfect for productivity.
You can grab it on Amazon for about $90.
Mophie power station
Apple prides itself on iPad providing 10 hours of power, no matter how big or how thin they get. The same holds true for iPad (5th Generation). But those numbers come from an era where browsing the web and checking email were the toughest tasks people did while online.
Nowadays everything from Facebook to Snapchat to Pokémon Go hits mobile batteries like battering rams. Some of those you'll probably use more on iPhone than iPad, but even if you're on the road, in the car, or flying around the world, if you need power, you need power.
And mophie provides it in spades.
I've been using this particular model — in rose gold if you must know — going on two years now and it's kept both my iPhone and my iPad, as well as my Apple Watch and AirPods, charged trip after trip after trip.
The 15000mAh variant is now cheaper than the 6000mAh version, at only $75.
Yes, they're still embarassingly long to order but, yes, they're totally worth it when you do. If you don't want to wait, you can get BeatsX immediately and if you prefer over-the-ear, you can get Bose QuietComfort 35. Once you go AirPods, though, it's tough to go back.
Even with iPad, the ability to listen to music, movies, podcasts, audio books, and more, and take FaceTime, Skype, and other calls, without having any strings to hold you down, is damn near miraculous.
Get them at Apple for $159.
Your favorite iPad accessories?
If you have a new iPad (5th Generation) or an older iPad Air, what are your favorite accessories? Let me know your top picks and if I missed anything great, I'll add it in an update!
Updated July 2017: These are still the best accessories for Apple's latest regular iPad.