Cooking with the iPad
Thanks to its big, easy-to-read screen, and a multitude of available cooking and recipe apps, the iPad is an appealing kitchen tool. But cooking can be a messy business, and keeping your iPad off the counter and safe from the mess is no easy task. There are, of course, generic cookbook stands and iPad stands that can serve as kitchen aids, but the serious iPad-toting chef needs serious kitchen gadgets. These accessories are designed specifically to keep your iPad safe, clean, and easy to see while you're cooking up a gourmet meal.
Belkin Chef Stand and Stylus
Although it still keeps your iPad in splash range, Belkin's $40 Chef Stand and Stylus makes it so you never again have to touch the your tablet's screen with flour- or grease-coated hands—you just wipe off the stylus once you've finished cooking. The stand provides a handy place to store the stylus, which itself includes a magnet in its tip that supports the iPad 2's magnetic Sleep/Wake feature—you don't even have to use your fingers to unlock the iPad.
Kitchen Acrylics Original Kitchen iPad Rack
Kitchen Acrylics' $26 Original Kitchen iPad Rack gives your iPad a safe place to rest while you're cooking by keeping the tablet up off the counter and the hubbub of chopping, slicing, and dicing that occurs there. The Kitchen iPad Rack is made of clear acrylic, so your iPad appears to be effortlessly floating above the chaos. Designed to be as unobtrusive as possible, the Kitchen iPad Rack consists of two pieces: a mounting rack and the iPad rack itself. The mounting rack attaches discreetly to the bottom of a kitchen cabinet. You can easily attach the iPad rack when you need it, and detach it when you don't—you won't see any bulky mounts or brackets. Extra mounting racks are available for purchase if you want hang your iPad in multiple locations.
Belkin Kitchen Cabinet Mount
Belkin's $50 Kitchen Cabinet Mount is an all-purpose mounting accessory that can be used anywhere in the house, not just the kitchen. But chefs and cooks will find the mount particularly useful as a safe and easy way to keep your iPad in sight, yet safely off the counter. Best of all, it requires no permanent mounting apparatus—it uses gravity to attach securely to any cabinet. When not in use, you can remove the mount, fold it up, and store it in a kitchen drawer for the next time you need to watch a Food Network instructional video.
Griffin Technology Cabinet Mount
The third cabinet-specific mount, Griffin Technology's $50 Cabinet Mount keeps your iPad handy, yet safe from sticky messes and potentially disastrous spills. Unlike the previous two cabinet mounts, Griffin's product attaches permanently to the underside of a kitchen cabinet, but folds up against the bottom of the cabinet when not in use. The upside to this approach is that the Cabinet Mount gives you many more viewing angles, as it lets you rotate your iPad a full 360 degrees and adjust its vertical angle.
SeaSucker iPad Mounting System
With SeaSucker's $85 iPad Mounting System, you'll be able to attach your iPad to your kitchen countertop, fridge, or other smooth surface as you're mixing a batch of grandma's famous chocolate chip cookies. The mount features SeaSucker's signature 4.5-inch suction-cup bottom that securely—and, having tested one, we do mean securely—attaches itself to any flat surface, such as granite, metal, or smooth wood. Your iPad sits in a fitted bracket attached to the mount by a 4-inch arm. (A 6-inch arm is available for an additional $7.) You can position the iPad in landscape or portrait orientation, and you can adjust the tilt angle, as well—perfect for recipe reading. A 6-inch SeaSucker base, which provides more holding power, is available for an additional $20.
Belkin Fridge Mount for iPad 2
Cute little refrigerator magnets are so 2010. This year, accessorize your fridge with your iPad. Using Belkin's $40 Fridge Mount for iPad 2—Belkin seems to be taking this iPad-in-the-kitchen thing seriously—you can securely mount your tablet to your fridge. Installing the Fridge Mount is easy, the mount's adhesive 3M Command Strips won't damage the surface of your fridge when removed, and you simply slip your iPad 2 in and out of the mount as needed.
ModulR iPad Case system and mounts
ModulR's $40 iPad 2 Case + Hand Strap is a form-fitting, rubber-and-plastic case and cover that keeps your device totally protected. But ModulR's case can do much more with the help of the company's various accessories. The $20 Slim Wall Mount makes it possible to mount your iPad—using adhesive or screws—to any wall or surface. The $15 Utility Mount lets you mount the tablet to any surface using screws, or to any metal surface—such as your refrigerator door—using super-strong magnets. (We favor the magnetic approach, as it lets you switch between portrait and landscape orientation.) A compatible case and cover for the original iPad, which we reviewed last year, is available for $30.
Vogel's RingO Holder and Wall Mount
Like the ModulR system, Vogel's RingO system offers a protective case (called the Holder) and multiple accessories; the latter include a handy Wall Mount that lets your tablet have a special place in your kitchen. The Wall Mount attaches to a wall with screws; you then clip the back of the RingO Holder onto the mount. You'll be able to rotate the iPad 360 degrees, and when you're done recipe hunting and cooking-show watching, you can unclip your iPad and know that it will still be safely protected inside the case. Vogel's online store offers the case and the Wall Mount bundled together in the $70 Starter Pack iPad 2 and the $60 Starter Pack iPad 1.
Use-through protective sleeves
Even if you have your iPad mounted or elevated up off the counter, there are still a host of nasty things that could wind up on it, thanks to errant splashes or messy fingertips. A number of companies offer plastic sleeves that ensure your iPad is protected from an accidental grease bath, a freak splash of water, or grimy touches. The disposable Chef Sleeve (left; $20 for 25 sleeves), designed specifically for kitchen use, doesn't provide a watertight seal, but it's the thinnest and least expensive we've seen and works well for just keeping kitchen messes away from your tablet. The CleverWraps (right; $15 for three sleeves) are a bit thicker and use a Ziploc-style closure for a watertight seal. For the best protection, Loksak's aLoksak IT (bottom; $9 for three sleeves), a thicker sleeve that features a hermetic seal and is certified waterproof to depths of up to 200 feet.
All of these sleeves are resealable, though the Chef Sleeve isn't meant to be used over and over.
Bosco Cutting Board + iPad Stand
Not yet available (though we hope it will be soon), Andrea Ponti Design's Bosco Cutting Board + iPad Stand is a concept accessory that melds old tech with new tech. The package features a hand-carved, Ginkgo-wood cutting board, along with a stand that holds the iPad when you're cooking and the cutting board when you're not. Though it's undeniably simple compared to the other products we've covered here, we love the simplicity of the Bosco. Your iPad doesn't need any frills or attachments to look good and work well in the kitchen.