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10 Accessories that Let You Do More with Your iPad Air or iPad Mini

Some iPad Air accessories, applications and peripherals that will add extra features to our device

Perhaps you have ever come across a gadget or application for mobile devices that has caught your attention, not because of its usefulness, but precisely because of the opposite. Fortunately, in the Apple universe this situation does not abound and we are more used to applications and accessories that make our lives easier, without stridencies, although it is true

That’s why we want to present you 10 of them as the perfect complement for your iPad, iPad Air or iPad. 10 options to make the device a little more useful and expand its possibilities with it.

Watch movies offline from an SD card on iPad or iPad Mini

10 Accessories that Let You Do More with Your iPad Air or iPad Mini
10 Accessories that Let You Do More with Your iPad Air or iPad Mini

I’m sure that some weekend you have thought about taking a couple of movies on a trip so you can watch them on iPad Air and you haven’t been able to. Well, the first thing you’d have to do would be, if you don’t have them already, convert them to the iPad-compatible video format (MP4 or MOV, encoded in MPEG-4 or H.264) with any of the many video conversion programs we have, both for Mac and PC.

Inside your SD you create a folder called DCIM100VIDEO and copy your movies there. Then with an accessory called the Lightning Connector to SD card reader adapter, you connect it, insert the SD and you can watch your favorite movies from the iPad Photo application .

Connect a USB keyboard

Maybe you would have liked to have a full keyboard at hand, or maybe, because you use your iPad Air mainly for typing, you’d like to do it as if you were in front of a desktop computer and forget about the small and compact Bluetooth keyboards used in a hurry.

If this is your case, you can use the Lightning to USB Camera Adapter to connect a keyboard (Apple does not talk about this feature in kits, but it works). The cheaper the keyboard, the more chances we have of it being compatible , since not all of them are, especially those with some added features such as displays, LEDs, trackball, etc. Avoid them, otherwise the iPad will tell you that it doesn’t have enough power to power them.

Connecting a MIDI keyboard

I’ve been making music on my computer for many years and it’s a real pleasure to compose with the iPad Air. If you connect a MIDI keyboard (Musical Instrument Digital Interface) from its USB output to your device, using the Apple USB adapter mentioned above, you can play and record with a physical keyboard in any of the countless apps available for iOS .

One of them, for example, the M-Audio Keystation Mini 32 from a reputable brand of audio equipment, with 32 speed-sensitive keys and small enough to fit in your backpack and not lose the inspiration that, as you know, appears at any moment.

Add a GPS

If you have the WiFi only version of the iPad Air or the iPad Mini Retina we can add the functionality and precision that the dedicated GPS devices have. This is the case of these two Bluetooth GPS devices, Bad Elf GPS Pro and SkyPro XGPS160 GPS Receiver.

Either supports multiple connected devices at once and does not require any connection to operate . If you add a good off-line map collection to this, you will have a complete GPS on any of your iOS devices.

Reviewing DSLR photos as soon as they are taken

When you don’t have access to a network or use a dedicated camera to take photos and need to check the quality on your iPad immediately, you should consider purchasing a SD card with built-in WiFi such as the Eye-Fi Mobi.

In conjunction with the Eye-Fi card application , you can instantly review the photos on your iPad . Like any other network, it lets you connect to an SD card and copy the images.

Saving what you see on your screen with AirServer on video

Making tutorials or bragging to friends about your in-game achievements are some of the examples why you may need to capture your iPad screen on video. To do this, we need to do mirroring , i.e. replicate the screen of the device on the computer .

We can do this with AirServer, which installed on a Mac or PC, will play on the computer what we see on the screen of our iPad Air, iPad or iPad Mini , as it would be on the Apple TV. The only thing left to do would be to use or install a capture program on your computer (there are many) like QuickTime Player for Mac or CamStudio for Windows and press the Record button . Everything you see on the iPad screen is recorded to a video file.

Extend your computer desktop

Now the question would be the opposite of the previous point. It would be a matter of getting extra space from our desktop and having it appear on our iPad or, what is the same, using it as a second or third monitor (up to 4 iPads simultaneously).

Can you imagine that when working with your favorite program you didn’t have all those annoying toolbars to send to your device? Or having any image or text reference without having to leave the main program to consult it? I use it quite often and believe me when I tell you that is a time saver .

For this we can use Avatron’s Air Display 2 app and install a video driver from the same company on the Mac or PC.

Using a remote control to control iPad playback

We already know that we can view the content of our iPad on an HD TV if we use AirPlay and Apple TV or any video adapter or cable. So why not use a small remote control to control the main audio or video playback functions?

The Satechi Bluetooth Multi-Media Remote Control can be used as another remote control, pairing it with your device. But I, being well this main function, I keep a couple of additional functions of the remote control such as: the possibility of taking pictures with the volume keys (very useful to avoid camera movement) and the compatibility with Keynote for using it in presentations . Oh, I forgot, with the Home button, you activate Siri .

Scanning or printing documents

I’m sure most of you have tried printing from an iPad and even more of you use this feature continuously with printers that support AirPrint , but there are other features related to scanning and printing documents that are less well known.

For example, with applications such as PDFpen Scan +, we can scan any paper document directly with our iPad , offering a series of aids for centering and aligning the document, as well as, color and contrast adjustments for a flawless result. In addition, and due to the OCR technology (Optical Character Recognition), it allows us to save written documents as text files for later editing.

Some manufacturers, such as Epson, HP or Brother, have their own apps for scanning from the same all-in-one device and having the result appear directly on the iPad.

Talking through a set of headphones

And I don’t mean on the phone, of course, but the iPad has “standard” apps and other third-party solutions for making voice calls. I’m referring to Apple’s FaceTime and other applications such as Google Voice or Skype to name a few examples, although there are many more.

When you need privacy, freedom of movement, to be disturbed by ambient noise or simply like the look of a telemarketer, you can use a microphone and headset like the Jawbone ERA or just a headset like the Beats Wireless by Dre. If you have never used it, try it and let me know .

As Gigaom’s partners say, the iPad, by itself, is already a pretty complete device , but it never hurts to have some gadget or third party application that allows us to extend its features and possibilities even more.

Have you used some of them? Do you want to tell us about any others that we haven’t mentioned?