iPhone, iPad, and Mac Accessories That Won’t Break the Bank
One of the greatest things about Apple products is your ability to customize them with the apps and tools you need. And that goes not just for the software that you can download from the App Store, but the accessories that you can add on to your devices to make them easier to use and more efficient at accomplishing your most time-intensive computing tasks.
Whether it’s your iPhone, your iPad, or your Mac that’s indispensable to your workday, there are plenty of third-party manufacturers up to the task of making your chosen device go a bit farther. You can pick up a case to make your phone or tablet a little less vulnerable to bumps and scratches, choose a laptop stand that makes typing and FaceTime-ing easier and more ergonomic, or look to some fun iPhone accessories to take your mobile photography to the next level.
Audio-Technica‘s in-ear headphones, like the SonicFuel headphones with in-line volume and microphone controls, are highly-rated earbuds that offer great performance at a good value. (Check out Tim Gideon’s review at PC Mag for more details on this specific pair.) The headphones, which cost $79.95, are designed to stay in place in your ear with a rotating eartip that adjusts to the angle of your ear canal for a personalized fit.
Grovemade‘s iPhone cases and docks are built from a variety of woods, including walnut and maple. (Also check out Grovemade for monitor stands, laptop stands, iPad sleeves, keyboard trays, and mousepads for your favorite Apple gear.) Grovemade’s iPhone cases start at $39 for a wooden bumper to protect your phone from bumps and falls, and a case with a full back costs $99.
Incipio‘s battery cases, like the offGRID Express, are a great way to increase your iPhone’s battery life if you’re a power user or are simply always on the go. The offGRID Express battery case packs in a 3000mAh lithium polymer battery, to more than double the battery capacity of the iPhone 6 and provide 17 hours of additional talk time, 12 hours of additional web surfing, 13 hours of additional media streaming, or 60 hours of additional music listening. The case, which costs $79.99, uses a power button to activate the charge when needed, and charges with the included cable.
MagBak enables you to simultaneously protect your iPhone and mount in anywhere with the power of magnets. The minimalist protective case, which is available to preorder for $39 for the iPhone 6, enables you to mount your phone anywhere in your home, office, or car with “MagSticks” that use 3M adhesive backing. The cases will begin shipping to preorder customers in July.
Moment lenses are among the top choices for photography-savvy iPhone owners. Moment offers a telephoto lens and a wide-angle lens made of cinema-quality glass. The lenses feature a multi-element glass design with anti-reflection coatings, and each lens housing and bayonet interface is built for optical-grade precision. Moment’s lenses cost $99 each, and are built to avoid distortion and image degradation.
Mophie is another great choice if you’re looking for a case that can simultaneously protect your iPhone and extend its battery life. Mophie’s Juice Pack Air, which costs $99.95, is its most budget-friendly choice for the iPhone 6, and it delivers more than 100% extra battery with a 2,750mAh battery. Mophie’s cases for the iPhone 4, 4s, 5, 5c, and 5s start at $79.95.
Olloclip offers a wide variety of lenses for iPhone photographers, starting at $49.95 to $69.95, depending on your iPhone model. A 4-in-1 lens for the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus integrates four options — the fisheye, wide angle, 10x macro, and 15x macro — in a design that works on both front and rear-facing cameras. Other options include various combinations of lenses including active, telephoto, wide angle, selfie, and more.
The Optimal case from Amited is a unique iPhone case that protects both the internal components and external chassis of your phone. It automatically ensures that the phone stays at a safe temperature. The Optimal monitors temperature shifts and adjusts accordingly to help your phone to operate at its best, and Amited claims that the case maximizes the performance of the phone’s graphics, screen, and battery. In an Indiegogo campaign, now closed, cases sold for as low as $90 for the iPhone 5s.
Speck offers a wide variety of protective cases to protect your iPhone. Speck’s iPhone 6 cases, for example, are designed to offer military-grade protection and start at just $34.95. Speck’s various cases alternately are designed to help you get a better grip on your phone, keep your screen from shattering, and offer robust protection against bumps and falls in a slim silhouette.
Trobla is a wooden amplifier that enhances your iPhone’s sound without batteries or electronic components. Trobla is made of certified Slovenian walnut or maple, and is available for the iPhone 3G or newer. The only electronic component involved is your iPhone, and you’ll never need to charge Trobla or download an app to make it function. Troubla was funded via a Kickstarter campaign, and is available to preorder for $75.
The HoverBar for iPad from TwelveSouth is a flexible arm that you can attach to a ledge in your office, kitchen, or bedroom so that you can use the iPad hands-free. That makes it convenient to follow a recipe at the kitchen counter, keep an eye on your calendar at work, or make FaceTime calls hands-free. HoverBar, which costs $99.99, securely clips to any edge up to an inch thick, and includes three iPad clips to securely hold the tablet. You can also connect HoverBar to your Mac or Apple Display to use the iPad as a secondary touchscreen with a app like Duet Display.
Logitech makes a wide variety of cases and keyboards for the iPad. The $99.99 Keyboard Folio, for example, offers full-size keys. The keys are where you’d expect them to be on a traditional keyboard, and custom iPad shortcuts conserve space. You can type for three months before recharging the keyboard. The Folio closes to protect your iPad, and you can open the Folio to instantly wake the iPad.
Miniot offers a slim wooden cover for the iPad Air in walnut, mahogany, oak, or wenge, starting at $75. The cover rolls up to act as a stand for the iPad while you work, and is designed to optimize the view and work angles. The wood hinge magnetically snaps to your iPad, and magnets inside the cover wake your iPad or put it to sleep. An Ultrasuede lining keeps the screen clean, and like all Miniot products, the cover is made in the Netherlands.
The Palo Alto Audio Design PocketBook Bluetooth speaker is one of the most budget-friendly but well-performing speakers for the iPad. The $49.95 PocketBook is less than an inch thick and easily fits in a pocket or handbag, and a full range of drivers with dual neodymium magnets provide stereo sound that the Apple Store describes as “much bigger than you’d expect.” The built-in lithium ion battery offers up to eight hours of playback.
The Tego Audio NOVA mini portable Bluetooth speaker is another speaker option for iPad users. Music can be played from any Bluetooth-capable device within 33 feet, and you can replay a song or skip to the next track via a button on the speaker itself. NOVA speakers can also be “daisy-chained” together with a 3.5mm audio cable to create a bigger sound for social gatherings. One speaker costs $49.99, or a set of three costs $109.99.
Wacom‘s Bamboo stylus is one of several good, budget-friendly options for iPad users who like to navigate the tablet, write, or doodle with a pen-like instrument. The Bamboo stylus, which costs just $19.95, is balanced to make handwriting and sketching feel natural. The aluminum cap protects the stylus’s carbon fiber nib, which can be easily replaced if it wears out with extensive use.
Flio is a collapsible laptop stand made of hardboard, bamboo, eucalyptus and tempered hardboard, or beech. The laptop stand is designed to offer an ergonomic viewing height and to maintain an angle necessary for easy typing. Because it’s made from thin and lightweight materials, Flio is easy to fold up and store in your bag or computer sleeve, and it enhances airflow around the computer to keep it cool. Starting at about $48, Flio is also shipped free worldwide.
Hub+ offers a handy solution for owners of the new MacBook, which features just one USB-C port. For users who need to connect a desktop monitor and other devices, the Hub+ integrates two USB-C ports, an SDXC card reader, a mini DisplayPort, 3 USB-A 3.0 ports, and a built-in lithium ion battery to charge any phone. Hub+ is currently being funded by a Kickstarter campaign, where the device is offered for as low as $79.
InfiniteUSB solves a similar problem for owners of MacBooks with USB ports. InfiniteUSB enables you to connect a series of devices to your computer via just one USB port. Whenever a new InfiniteUSB is plugged in, a new port is created. You can keep all of the cables connected so that you don’t need to swap devices in and out. The connectors, which cost $10 each, are colorful to help you quickly identify the devices you have connected.
Mountie is a device that enables you to clip your iPhone, iPad, or other phone or tablet to the side of your MacBook. Mountie, which costs $24.95, features a strong, rubberized grip to hold the devices securely, and swappable inserts offer near-universal compatibility. You can watch videos, browse the Internet, listen to music, or read on your secondary screen, or use it to easily have eye-level FaceTime chats.
Moshi‘s Clearguard, which costs just $24.95, is an excellent way to protect the keyboard of your MacBook. Moshi’s website claims that Clearguard, at one-fifth the thickness of most other keyboard protectors, is highly transparent and virtually invisible, which enables the backlit keys to shine through. ClearGuard is also completely washable and reusable to ensure that it lasts for the life of your laptop.
Nordic Appeal offers a variety of budget-friendly Mac accessories made in Denmark from sustainably-forested wood. Nordic Appeal’s MacBook rack, for instance, costs $79.99, and is a great vertical stand if you connect your MacBook to the Apple Display. And the MacBook stand, which costs $119.99, raises the display and angle of your keyboard if you’re using your MacBook without an external display.
Rain Design‘s mStand is another popular choice of laptop stands. The mStand is made of a single, solid piece of aluminum that matches your MacBook’s finish. The mStand starts at $49.90, and raises the screen by six inches for better viewing, and promotes better ergonomics when used with an external keyboard and mouse. Rain Design also offers the mBase for iMac starting at $59.90, and stands designed for the iPad, as well.
Sesame is a small device, which costs about $45, and helps you keep the data on your MacBook private and secure. When you have Sesame in your pocket, your computer automatically locks when you walk away. That ensures that you won’t inadvertently leave your private information, files, emails, and records exposed to anyone who walks by. When you come back, Sesame automatically unlocks your screen so that you can continue working.
Transporter Sync is a cost-effective way to share media with family and friends. Starting at $99, with no monthly fees, Transporter can support terabytes of data without the privacy risks of cloud storage services. While such services store your data on shared services, Transporter aims to offer “all the convenience of Dropbox with none of the risk” by storing your files on a device you own. With Transporter, you can sync, access, protect, and share your data.
Zolt claims to be the world’s lightest, smartest laptop charger, and enables you to power your laptop, phone, and tablet at the same time. It weighs in at 3 ounces and measures only 3 inches long, and it rotates up to 90 degrees to enable you to charge your devices in any outlet. Zolt includes a 6-foot cord that wraps up when not in use, and a folding two prong adapter. Zolt is available to preorder for $79.99.