11 Quirky But Useful Apple Accessories

apple iphone opena kickstart beer open

Photo: Kickstart

Apple’s fans love their products with an ardour that no other technology company inspires, but even the die-hard Apple geeks can agree that they fall short sometimes. Why can’t the iPad and iPhone speakers get a little louder without an extra stereo? Why is it so hard to type on a tablet?

Why doesn’t my iPhone open beer for me?

Fortunately, independent inventors are here to rectify these situations and many others. Some of these entrepreneurs have turned to Kickstarter, an Internet-based funding platform to get their projects off the ground. 

If a critical mass of small investors on Kickstarter agree to fund a project, the funding kicks in and the project goes.  Here are some of the coolest Apple-based inventions that were made possible by Kickstarter. 

The iKeyboard makes touch-typing possible on an iPad

Typing on an iPad is about as easy as clenching a piece of straw in one's mouth and pecking at the keys. David Pogue of the NY Times called typing on the iPad 'a horrible experience.' It's very difficult to touch-type with the virtual keyboard and you can't rest your fingers lightly without hitting the wrong keys.

The iKeyboard tries to solve this problem by making the virtual keyboard more tactile. It's a keyboard that mimics the feel of a normal Apple keyboard. The lightweight, flexible attachment uses no power and can be taken off with ease.

The demand for this one seems to be sky high. The developers initially solicited $4,000, but the interest was so great that $25,000 was already pledged!

iBamboo amplifies the iPhone's internal speakers without electricity

The iBamboo Speaker adds a little feng shui to the speaker market. This low-tech speaker system is basically an echo chamber for the iPhone 4's internal speaker. No need to place it near an outlet!

The Glif Tripod makes high quality iPhone video possible

The iPhone 4 comes capable with HD video. Just this was enough to kill the Flip Camera last April. But let's face it. Nothing says 'I'm an amateur' like shaky video. If you actually want to make your videos or even time-lapse photography watchable or even professional, you will need to attach the iPhone to a tripod. The Glif makes this possible and easy. As a bonus, it can be used to angle the iPhone for use on a table top to read or watch videos. You can order one today from the company's website.

The aTrackt! Tray keeps the trackpad and keyboard together

Apple's Magic Trackpad and Wireless Keyboard are great for the workplace zen, but the trackpad sometimes drifts away and moves to an angle. Sometimes that makes you move the mouse in a direction that you didn't intend. This simple innovation that the aTrackt! tray is nothing more than an aluminium tray that connects the keyboard and trackpad and keeps them from moving around. It's surprising that Apple didn't think of this themselves!

SoundJaw amps up the iPad's speakers

The iPad makes for a terrible ghetto blaster. The SoundJaw is a low-tech solution to listening to music or watching movies on an iPad or iPad2 without having to share one pair of headphones. It's essentially just a tiny piece of plastic that takes the sound that's pointing in the opposite direction of the screen and redirects it towards the front.

Tembo Trunks turn Earbuds into speakers without additional power

Here's another clever amp system that doesn't use any electricity. Tembo Trunks are made of indestructible silicone rubber that you can just stuff into your already-full luggage. They turn inside out and they can stack together. Unfurled, they can amplify the sound from the earbuds enough for your friends to enjoy almost anywhere without draining the music player's batteries.

JP1971 MxNM app makes MIDI on the iPad a reality

JP1971, or Mix and Match MIDI Pad, is still in the beta stage, but this can bring the iPad beyond the piano app. The developers reached their funding goal on Kickstarter, and they are hoping to turn this into a full MIDI controller, dedicated channel strip, DJ mixer, step sequencer, and a graphical random music generator. Basically, everything you need to make music in one app.

The Loop turns your iPod Nano into a sporty watch

Loop cleverly re-imagines the iPod Nano as a sporty wristwatch with no sharp edges.

The Paradox iPod Nano watch is stylish and functional wristwatch

Paradox is a more high-end style iPod Nano watch that also has external buttons for easy operation.

This Gripper and Stand is good for iPad readers

The iPad is light, but it isn't quite easy to hold when you only have one free hand. The Gripper and Stand for the iPad and Kindle makes it easier to hold. This can come in handy for subway and bus commuters. You don't always get a seat. This one is short of it's funding goal at press time, but in one week, we will see if this one works out.

The Opena iPhone 4 case comes with a bottle opener

Even the experts on mobile technology probably didn't see this innovation coming! Thanks to the iPhone, we no longer have to carry a separate calculator, address book, mirror, camera, or church key. The Opena case for the iPhone can be that miracle invention that obviates the tricks that we learned in college for opening bottles without an opener. This case protects the phone from damage in case it is dropped, and it even protects the electronics from fizz when you use it to open a beer.

The developers got the funding that they need already, but you can still get an Opena for $10 off the retail price, by funding their project on Kickstarter.

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