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Work Beyond Mac: Essential gear for working on your iPad

Jason Cipriani | Dec. 15, 2014
When Steve Jobs took the stage to announce the original iPad, he took us through a list of tasks a tablet would have to excel at when compared to a smartphone and computer in order to be successful. And then he sat down in a comfy chair and started tapping on the piece of glass in his hands, walking the world through the future. Though, the future ended up being a little different than what Jobs showed that day.

In order to transfer photos from my digital camera, I rely on Apple's SD Card Camera Reader and USB Camera adapters, $29 each.

When using an adapter I don't have to worry about having Internet access, but the transfer process is often times much faster than waiting for photos to sync to the cloud. And yes, I can even sync photos taken on my iPhone to my iPad with a Lightning cable and the the USB adapter.


I have mixed feelings about using a stylus for everyday interaction on a touchscreen device. Most of the time an extra tool only complicates an otherwise straightforward task your finger is more than capable of completing. Other times, such as during meetings when typing notes won't suffice, a stylus is the ideal solution to scribbling notes and illustrations.

In times of need, I turn to Adonit's $99 Jot Touch Stylus. The combination of Bluetooth connectivity, an SDK for developers to take advantage additional features (and an impressive list of apps that have), palm rejection and smooth writing experience make it my preferred stylus.

But if you'd rather get something more basic — and much cheaper — our buying guide can certainly help.

External battery

One downside of working from an iPad: Unlike my laptop, there's no USB port to give my iPhone a quick power boost. In order to get around this limitation, I've amassed quite the collection of portable batteries capable of charging both a smartphone and an iPad. Even though the iPad's battery is more than enough to power me through a day's worth of normal use, I'm always fearful of being caught with a low battery and a looming deadline.

I'm partial to Anker's products, but I've also had success with myCharge and Incipio's charging solutions. Nonetheless, the nine portable batteries reviewed here are all capable alternatives.

With the amount of attention the iPad has attracted over the last few years, companies are constantly looking at new approaches to old accessories. Each release, each iteration, brings a different dynamic to using an iPad as a productivity tool. Between the rumors of Apple preparing a larger iPad for power users picking up, and the recent IBM partnership the trend of productivity tools for Apple's tablet lineup will most certainly see an uptick in new gear. Long gone are the days of only consuming content on an iPad — it's time to get to work.

Do you have any productivity tools or accessories for your iPad you simply cannot live without? As someone who is constantly looking for a better way to get things done, I'd love to hear from you.


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