The other day, I dove a little more deeply into Kickstarter’s community than I had before, and I confess to being astonished. I have some friends who backed well over 50 different Kickstarter projects. I even have some friends who have backed 100 projects.
That’s amazing, but after losing yet another afternoon browsing all the different products and solutions on the site, it’s not surprising. Kickstarter is the new nerd mall. You can literally lose yourself (and a whole lot of cash) on a weekly basis just browsing through the listings. A new take on the cast iron skillet? Check. A full-fledged Android gaming console? Got it.
Out of curiosity, I checked the iPad listings, and, not surprisingly, there’s a whole lot of action here. What’s most interesting about the iPad category on Kickstarter is that it appears to be indicative of a few key needs and desires of iPad users. Browsing the list, three major product categories recur: iPad stands, styluses, and games.
I decided to round up my favorites for your viewing pleasure. One quick note before we jump into the list: Some of these projects are fully funded, which means that you can’t get in on the early action. You can (or will), however, buy the products in question when they're released.
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This project, Kickstarted by Dotan Saguy, allows you to store all your iPad accessories—headphones, stylus, cables, and more—in a small case that’s attached to the iPad Smart Cover. As an added bonus, the Smart Cargo carrier also doubles as a hand hold for the iPad itself. Welcome relief for anyone who’s ever fumbled through their bag on an airplane while trying to find their headphones, and the best part is that the Smart Cargo is only $15.
FLUX+FLAP iPad Case
As someone who uses my iPad cover to prop my tablet up while reading at the table, I find myself frequently frustrated by the fixed number of viewing positions. Kenny Trythall and newFlux Designs just floated a Kickstarter that appears to be an elegant answer to this problem.
The FLUX+FLAP case uses magnets to permit an unlimited number of viewing angles, and a wide range of viewing positions. You can literally just slide the case’s flap up, down, right, and left, to find the ideal spot.
Based on the action—the FLUX+FLAP has raised almost all of its $35,000 goal with 40 days left—a number of other iPad users like this Kickstarter project as much as I do. This case will be available in April 2014 for all iPad, iPad Air, and iPad Mini models, including the iPad 2.
I’m not, and probably will never be someone who uses a stylus on my tablet. But a lot of people are. For professionals who do a lot of marking up of documents, or people who love making hand-written lists, the stylus is literally indispensable.
The more I’ve read about Bob Martin’s TruGlide Apex pen, the more I like it. The stylus uses electronic interruption, which simulates a finger touch. And the fine tip should allow for fairly precise writing accuracy. No pairing is required, and the predicted 16 hours of battery life seems pretty solid as well.
The TruGlide Apex raised $183,014 dollars against a goal of $24,000. While the funding round closed a few weeks ago, the stylus is very close to shipping, so you’ll likely be able to buy one soon.
C.24 – The Music Keyboard for iPad
A two-octave Bluetooth keyboard that also serves as a spring-loaded protective cover? Yup. The C.24 is Kickstarter at its finest. Magnets and infrared emitters permit a real, analog keyboard feeling. And the proprietary app allows for a wide range of configurations.
Finally, the Miselu design team has even developed a few open standards that anyone can use—one for hardware expansion of the keyboard itself, and one for sending/receiving MIDI wirelessly via Bluetooth.
Kickstarted by Mi in the UK, the MiStand is an elegant-looking tablet stand that uses a removable plate, a ball bearing, and suction to hard mount your device and quickly change its position and viewing angle. I could see using this quite nicely in the kitchen, but it would also work well in office environments.
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This week’s winner: TabTimes
This past week on Wednesday, November 13, TabTimes hosted TabletBiz, the company’s third New York-based event. By all accounts, it came off quite well, with a number of thoughtful, provocative presentations, ranging from GE’s use of tablets in wastewater management to Wells Fargo’s announcement that it has over one million iPad app customers for online banking.
I asked my friend, TabTimes’ Editor David Needle for his thoughts on the content at the event, and he told me, “We read a lot about how tablets are starting to evolve from media consumption devices to real productivity devices, but TabTimes’ TabletBiz conference in New York this week really brought the trend into focus.”
There were some quite literal winners at TabletBiz, as well, as TabTimes handed out its Tabby Awards for Business to 18 software makers in categories covering business and productivity apps from 13 different countries including Canada, Germany, Poland, and Australia.
You can browse the complete list of Tabby/Business winners right here.