My iPad workstation, your iPad workstation

Brett Terpstra
B. Terpstra|05.02.10

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My iPad workstation, your iPad workstation

I hadn't thought much about it when I put the picture up on Flickr, but there turned out to be some interest in the little iPad workstation/music center I've put together. I rather like it myself, so I thought I'd share it ... and put out a call to see what our readers have set up for their own docking stations.

The setup isn't what you'd call inexpensive, but I had all of the hardware laying around anyway. This is mostly the result of my obsessive hunt for the perfect keyboard, and a penchant for new and different peripherals. Read on for the details.

The setup:

This whole arrangement was inspired by the BookArc for iPad, which we recently reviewed. While I haven't tried many other stands, I had been so excited about the look of this one that I back-ordered it as soon as I found it was available. It has not disappointed. Since it replaced my Apple keyboard dock, I wanted a keyboard to go with it. I dug around through my pile of not-currently-in-use keyboards ...

I settled on the DiNovo Edge. Many of the multimedia functions of the DiNovo Edge keyboard work well with the iPad (play, skip, volume slider, etc.). The escape key isn't mapped to the "Search" key found on the iPad keyboard dock, which is a little annoying. I'm hoping for some more keyboard control in the next version of the iPad OS, but we'll see. I don't own an Apple Bluetooth keyboard, but I had this one (and several of the PC version) around. Despite being super-sexy, they're not currently in use because I miss my number pad too much. This one makes a perfect companion to the iPad, though, and even matches the aesthetic with glossy black surface and silver trim.

The Sonicum speakers are shaped like the Mac OS sound icon, which I happen to think adds a touch of class to the setup. The 2.1 sound system with powered subwoofer works really, really well with the audio output of the iPad, and I get sound from it that rivals my desktop setup. The speakers run off of a standard 1/8 jack, so they work perfectly with the iPad. My Pandora listening has never sounded so good on a portable device ...

It has been suggested that I really should just get an iMac or a MacBook, but I have enough of those. I've found it's difficult to take an iMac to the coffeehouse (although I've seen it done), and it's not the best bedtime reading companion. For users whose needs can be fully met by an iPad, this can actually present a solution that provides serious flexibility, while costing less than a laptop or desktop solution. On-the-go, it's a tiny tablet, at home it's a more serious workstation.

If you've found a good docking setup for your own ultra-portable little Mac, I would love to see it, as would the rest of the TUAW team. Post your pictures on Flickr and tag them with tuaw and tuawipad. Add some notes and links to let everyone know what you've got going on. I'm looking forward to seeing some wicked-cool setups!

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