Adding a real keyboard to the iPad is nothing new. The same day Apple released the iPad, they offered other essentials including a keyboard dock. However, numerous vendors have produced improved devices, incorporating Bluetooth to free the dock for charging, and adding innovations.
The ClamCase essentially turns your iPad into a netbook. It encases the iPad and hinges it to a Bluetooth keyboard. The hinge is versatile, providing the ability to twist the iPad 360 degrees. Unfortunately, the item is in pre-production with price and availability only listed as “coming in Fall 2010.”
The ZAGGmate is a hard screen protector and stand sold with ($99) or without ($69) the Bluetooth keyboard. It is distributed by – wait for it – ZAGG, the creators of the InvisibleSHIELDS. One of the features that sets this keyboard apart from others is the ability to use the iPad in portrait or landscape mode.
Former BlackBerry owners, jonesing for tactile keyboards, also have alternatives. ThinkGeek ($49.99) and more recently, Boxwave ($69.95), have released their iPhone cases complete with flip keyboards. Supply is an issue with both retailers, as ThinkGeek’s cases are currently out of stock, and Boxwave expects to start shipping December 14th. Sure. Both items have cases to accomodate the iPhone 3GS and iPhone 4.