The iPad launch is now so close you can practically hear Apple's accountants taking a deep breath before their sales projections are shattered in emphatic style and Steve Jobs has yet another must-have device to add to his rapidly expanding portfolio.

No doubt many of you reading this will already have endured a painful internal debate about how much of your life savings you can reasonably spend on another electronic trinket and your pre-order was most likely registered quite some time ago.

With this in mind, we thought it would be the perfect time to quickly look at the various accessories which will be available when your shiny new iPad arrives.

Get on the case

Possibly the most essential iPhone-related item is a protective case and when you consider that the iPad has even more delicate surface area at risk, you'll almost certainly want to invest in some kind of protection for your latest hardware addition.

Predictably, famed accessory maker Belkin is prepping a cheap and cheerful option for the iPad launch. The Max Sleeve is constructed of hard-wearing and highly protective Neoprene and even comes with an additional internal panel to protect that vulnerable display.

Despite being branded as a sleeve, it actually has a zipper to ensure your beloved device remains secure at all times.

Interestingly, former MP3 rival Phillips has given up trying to fight Apple in the hardware arena and has dutifully produced its own line of iPad accessories. It would seem that the firm is very much of the opinion that if you can't beat them, you should join them.

Aimed at the cheaper end of the spectrum, the Dutch manufacturer's range includes a selection of cases, screen protectors and even a portable stereo speaker to enhance the aural experience of the iPad.


Elsewhere, it's all about the rubber. Silicone cases are incredibly popular with iPhone owners and that trend looks set to continue with the iPad.

iPhone stalwart Griffin has the Flexgrip on offer. Providing a reassuringly snug fit and bouncy protection against bumps, it's one of the more cost-effective ways of shielding your costly purchase from the demands of the everyday world.

Of course, there are some more unconventional ways of protecting your iPad - take iBallz. Four rubber balls are secured to each corner of the device in an effort to provide maximum shock absorbency.

While the official company blurb assures us that these strange spheres won't cramp your style, we're not so sure we'd want to be seen in public with weird lumps stuck to our brand new iPad, thanks very much.

Finally, if you're flush with cash and fancy dropping almost £100 on a case you might want to consider the Vaja Retro Slim Jacket. Retailing for a whopping $120 and manufactured in lush leather, this is at the top-end of the case market. You can even choose your own colour combination for that personal touch.

Kick out the jams

There's also a proliferation of cases which feature kick-stands: operating in very much the same way as those ropey cardboard photo frames you used to get school photos in way back in the day, these stands will not only provide a degree of protection to the iPad but will also allow you to view the screen in a more comfortable position.

Of all the kick-stand cases we've seen the Scosche Kickback is the one which looks the most appealing. A polycarbonate and rubber fusion of goodness, this case grants access to all the ports of the iPad and also comes with a screen protector and cleaning cloth. Bargain.

If you'd rather ensure that Steve Jobs gets a little more of your hard-earned cash then you can always take a look at the official Apple iPad case, which also features as a kick-stand of sorts. The difference here is that this faux-leather holder has adjustable stand heights.

In the dock

The iPad's massive screen should make typing a breeze but just in case you long for that old-fashioned tactile feedback you can invest in Apple's official keyboard and charging dock combination.

Featuring a full QWERTY interface which shares the same design standard as the current Apple Mac keyboard, this accessory will also allow you to charge your iPad's battery as you type. It's expected to retail for around $70.

If you're not too hung up on getting physical keys then you can settle for the less expensive dock, which is incredibly similar to the one released for the iPhone. Again, data transfer and charging are the two main functions but it also doubles as a handy stand.

As you might expect, this carries a more reasonable price tag when compared to the keyboard-packing version, coming in at approximately $29. You could argue that such an item should be bundled with the iPad from day one, but Apple simply loves money too much. Shame.

Snap-happy shopping

The iPad doesn't feature any kind of card-reading functionality out of the box, so if you want to transfer files from your digital camera's removable memory you'll have to pony up $29 for the iPad Camera Connection Kit.

It's grandly referred to as a 'kit' purely because it features not one but two dongles: the first allows you to import photos directly from your camera using a USB connection while the second allows you to plug in an SD card directly.

Yes it's a pain that Apple didn't include an SD card slot on the iPad and yes it's a pain that you'll have to carry these two dongles around with you but hey, no one said that owning desirable and highly expensive consumer electronics was easy, did they?