Gear Guide: For iPhone and iPad owners

What do you get for someone who has an iPhone, iPad, or iPod Touch? Here are a few suggestions, from the practical (a backup battery or a wireless keyboard) to the not-so-practical. (Remote-control helicopter, anyone?)

Stylus Points

Although Apple scorns the idea of using a stylus with iOS devices, applying a pen-like gadget to your device’s screen can prove useful—for instance, for the times you’re writing or drawing on screen, or for people who have fingernails so long they can’t finger-tap. Griffin Technology’s Stylus for iPad (which works with the iPhone and iPod touch, too) has a soft, capacitive tip that lets it interact with the touchscreen. The Stylus can’t do Multi-Touch gestures, but at least it’ll let scrawlers and sketchers work with a “pen.” (All photography by Peter Belanger.)
$20; Griffin Technology

Car Phone

The iPhone can be a great car companion—if you can hear it and see its screen. Kensington’s SoundWave Sound Amplifying Car Mount ensures you can do both, by putting your iPhone on the dashboard, where you can see the screen easily while driving, and by amplifying the built-in speaker so you can hear your GPS directions.
$40; Kensington

Which Way Is Up?

There are a slew of stands for the iPad, but few of the good ones are truly portable. Twelve South’s Compass is an exception. When folded for travel, it’s only 7 inches long, less than an inch wide, and half an inch thick, yet it quickly opens to form a remarkably stable easel-style stand. If you need to do some on-screen typing, a few simple adjustments let you turn the Compass into a slightly angled, low-profile base. Made of heavy-gauge steel, the Compass will survive the rigors of the road, too.
$40; Twelve South


A surprising number of iPad users have an iPod or iPhone, too. Instead of charging only one of them at a time, you can do both at once—if you have XtremeMac’s InCharge Duo. The gadget’s front cradle is for an iPhone or iPod only, while the rear cradle provides the 2.1-amp power source needed to charge an iPad (however, you can use the back cradle to charge an iPhone or iPod).
$60; Xtrememac

On the Leash

Worried about losing your iPhone? If you pair it with Zomm’s Wireless Leash, the Bluetooth device will sound an alarm whenever it senses that the iPhone is more than 30 feet away. The Leash also works as a remote speakerphone with your iPhone, and has a one-button personal security feature that sounds an alarm and calls an emergency phone number. Measuring about an inch and a half in diameter and weighing half an ounce, the Wireless Leash is easy to carry and can be attached to a keychain or bag loop. We can think of at least one Apple engineer who could have used one.
$80; Zomm

Juice Box

iPhones need cases. And iPhone batteries sometimes run out just when you need them most. Mophie comes to the rescue with its Juice Pack Air for iPhone 4, a rechargeable external battery that (Mophie claims) doubles the time between charges. The battery is housed in a snap-on, two-tone case that gives you full access to your phone’s ports and buttons.
$80; Mophie

Mini Keys

If you’re looking for something even smaller than Apple's own wireless keyboard, Macally’s BTKeyMini Bluetooth keyboard might fit the bill. At just 8.7 inches wide, 4.1 inches deep, and 0.6 inch thick, and weighing just 7.5 ounces, the BTKeyMini fits into even the smallest iPad or laptop bag without adding much to your load. An included hard-shell cover doubles as a stand for your tablet.
$100; Macally

Don't Sweat It

If you’ve tried to use your iPhone or iPod at the gym or while exercising outside, you know what a hassle headphone cords can be. Plantronics offers a solution in the form of the BackBeat 903+ headset. These exercise-friendly Bluetooth headphones use a new design that better protects components from sweat and moisture; they’re also more comfortable. They’ll give you voice alerts, an on-screen battery-level meter, and dual microphones for clearer calls. And thanks to support for Audio/Video Remote Control Profile in iOS 4.1 and 4.2, you can use the BackBeat 903+’s track-control buttons to skip and scan back and forward.
$100; Plantronics

iPod Mechanic

Want to keep an eye on what’s going on under the hood of your car? Have an iPhone or iPod Touch? Plug the Kiwi Wifi into your car’s on-board diagnostics port, connect your iOS device to the Kiwi via Wi-Fi, and then open PLX’s DashCommand app, and you can diagnose engine trouble (and even reset that pesky Check Engine light), monitor gauges your dashboard doesn’t have, and more. $150; Plx Devices(

The iPhone Copter

You can already use your iPhone or iPod touch to remotely control all kinds of devices—your TV, your Mac, and so on. Now you can use it to control a helicopter, too. Actually, the Parrot’s AR.Drone is a quadrocopter (meaning it has four rotors), but whatever you call it, it really does fly and you really can control it with your iPhone, iPod touch, or iPad. Download the associated app, pair your iOS device with the AR.Drone, and then use the on-screen controls to move the copter in any direction, rotate it, and adjust its altitude. Even cooler, two video cameras on the AR.Drone let you see the view ahead of or below the aircraft on your iPhone’s screen.
$300; Parrot

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