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Must-have iPad accessories

The iPad isn't entirely self-sufficient. These extra bits of gear can help.

Patrick Holland
Patrick Holland has been a phone reviewer for CNET since 2016. He is a former theater director who occasionally makes short films. Patrick has an eye for photography and a passion for everything mobile. He is a colorful raconteur who will guide you through the ever-changing, fast-paced world of phones, especially the iPhone and iOS. He used to co-host CNET's I'm So Obsessed podcast and interviewed guests like Jeff Goldblum, Alfre Woodard, Stephen Merchant, Sam Jay, Edgar Wright and Roy Wood Jr.
Scott Stein Editor at Large
I started with CNET reviewing laptops in 2009. Now I explore wearable tech, VR/AR, tablets, gaming and future/emerging trends in our changing world. Other obsessions include magic, immersive theater, puzzles, board games, cooking, improv and the New York Jets. My background includes an MFA in theater which I apply to thinking about immersive experiences of the future.
Expertise VR and AR | Gaming | Metaverse technologies | Wearable tech | Tablets Credentials
  • Nearly 20 years writing about tech, and over a decade reviewing wearable tech, VR, and AR products and apps
Patrick Holland
Scott Stein
1 of 18 Sarah Tew/CNET

The iPad isn't entirely self-sufficient. These extra bits of gear can help. One of the first things you might seek is a case or keyboard for your new tablet. Apple has you covered with its Smart Keyboard for iPad Pro. It's a super thin case with a keyboard build inside that connects via your iPad Pro's Smart Connector.

The Apple Smart Keyboard for iPad Pro comes in a variety of colors. The 9.7-inch case will set you back $149 and the 12.9-inch version $169.

2 of 18 Sarah Tew/CNET

Logitech Create Backlit Keyboard Case

The Logitech Create Backlit Keyboard Case for 12.9-inch iPad Pro has backlit keys, a Pencil-holding loop and connects via the iPad Pro's Smart Connector -- so it doesn't need recharging. And at $150, it costs less than Apple's Smart Keyboard.

3 of 18 Moleskine

Moleskine Classic Folio Case for iPad Air 2

Moleskine is known for its notebooks and journals, but the Italian company also makes a pretty sweet case for the iPad. You can pick up a Moleskine Classic Folio Case for iPad Air 2 for just $49.

4 of 18 Tech21

Tech21 EVO Play Case

Need a case that can handle being dropped, or having breakfast cereal stuck to it? The Tech21 EVO Play Case is designed to appeal to kids -- and take a beating from them.

The case is made of thick flexible foam that makes it comfortable to hold as well as dishwasher safe. There's even a handle that turns into a stand. Pick one up for the iPad Mini 4 for $50 or the iPad Air 2 for $70.

5 of 18 Felix

Felix RoadShow Car Stand

iPads can make the perfect entertainment center for the backseat. The Felix RoadShow Car Stand for iPad for $40 allows you to safely attach your iPad, iPad Air and iPad Mini to the headrest of the front seats.

6 of 18

Apple Magic Keyboard

Some writers might want to look into a simple Bluetooth keyboard to pair with the iPad rather than choose a keyboard case; they're more flexible, less bulky and often don't cost as much... and they'll work with any model of iPad. Apple's own Magic keyboard, at $99, is excellent. But there are plenty of third-party options from the likes of Belkin and Logitech that you might consider, too.

7 of 18 James Martin/CNET

Apple Pencil for iPad Pro

The pressure-sensitive Apple Pencil stylus offers superior sketching and drawing control for the iPad Pro. The magic comes when you tilt the Pencil's tip to an angle: it can shade like a real pencil. Pressure sensitivity, while it takes getting used to, is finely tuned. The combination make this feel like a physical art tool, rather than a piece of technology.

Pick up an Apple Pencil for your iPad Pro for $99.

8 of 18 Apple

iTunes gift card

The iPad is all about the apps you put on it. Whether it's Super Mario Run or HBO Now there are plenty of apps that will transform your iPad. Many are free, but some of the best ones are not.

Pick up an iTunes Gift Card for $10-$200.

9 of 18 Sarah Tew/CNET

A camera connection kit

Who said the iPad lacks an SD card slot or USB? Well, of course it does, but there is a way round that if you crave a physical camera connection. One adapter accepts SD cards, the other has a USB 3.0 port. Plug in a camera directly or pop in a memory card to import photos and movies to the iPad for viewing or editing, and sync them with a computer later.

The Lightning to SD card adapter is $29 while the Lightning to USB 3.0 camera adapter is $39.

10 of 18 Sarah Tew/CNET

Apple TV

The Apple TV for $149 streams video well, but it really excels at being a wireless TV conduit for iOS devices: AirPlay video streaming of content, including home movies, streaming slideshows, mirroring of iPad content on a big screen, and even some games that turn the iPad and your HDTV into a two-screen experience. That, plus 1080p support, all make the Apple TV an excellent choice for a large home living room.

11 of 18 Sarah Tew/CNET

Digital AV adapter

More portable and more flexible than the Apple TV, at $49, Apple's Lightning to HDMI connector acts as a direct hookup for sharing videos or mirroring the iPad's display on a larger TV.

12 of 18 TwelveSouth

TwelveSouth PlugBug World

This is perfect for the person who has an Apple laptop and an iPad/iPhone. It attaches to the Apple laptop power charger giving you a USB (type A) port to plug-in that iPad or iPhone for fast charging. It also has various adapters for outlets around the world -- perfect for the traveler in your family.

Snag a TwelveSouth PlugBug World for $45.

13 of 18 Sarah Tew/CNET

Bose and UE Bluetooth speakers

There are plenty of good and compact wireless speakers that work very well over Bluetooth or AirPlay, and you'll probably want one to turn the iPad into a little home stereo system. Two of our favorites are the UE Boom 2 and the Bose SoundLink Mini II. Either can be had for $200.

14 of 18 James Martin/CNET

Apple AirPods

Apple's AirPods are fully wireless headphones that offer a reliable wireless connection, effortless pairing with Apple devices, decent sonics and good call quality. The included compact charging case quickly charges the buds.

Apple AirPods cost $159, but are about as easy to find as the NES Classic Mini.

BB-8 Droid by Sphero
BB-8 Droid by Sphero
15 of 18

BB-8 Droid by Sphero

While BB-8 is not in this year's "Rogue One," the BB-8 toy from Sphero still delights this holiday season. You can setup and interact with BB-8 via an iPad.

Pick up a Battle-Worn BB-8 Droid with Force Band by Sphero for $200.

16 of 18 Andrew Hoyle/CNET

DJI Phantom 4 Drone

DJI has made one of the smartest drones available with the Phantom 4. It is very polished compared to its competition, and for those who've flown a quad before, you'll have no trouble getting started with this one. You can even use your iPad as a monitor as you fly.

Pick up a DJI Phantom 4 Drone for $999.

17 of 18 Stephen Shankland/CNET

Double Robotics Double 2 Telepresence Robot

In what has to be the ultimate way to phone it in, you can pick up the Double Robotics Double 2 Telepresence Robot for $2,500.

Teleconferencing via an iPad is nothing new, but being able to remotely control a wheeled base around the office while you do is -- kind of. It might even be able to help you be there for your daughter's graduation.

18 of 18 Apple

'Designed by Apple in California' book

If you're worried that your iPad screen might be ruining your eyes, pick up the book "Designed By Apple in California" for $199 (or $299 for the larger version) and look at photos of your iPad, as well as other products and designs by Apple from the past 20 years.

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