There are going to be a lot of very happy musicians, public speakers, and presenters around the world now that Newer Technology has introduced the US$49.99 GripBase Podium. Combining an adjustable-height stand with a sturdy base and a protective iPad case/holder, the GripBase Podium makes easy to keep an eye on an iPad or iPad mini screen while keeping your hands free.
You know what a microphone stand looks like, don't you? Or a music stand? Yeah, high-quality versions of both have a heavy, flat base with an extendable vertical stand ending in either a microphone holder or a flat tray for the music. To extend the stand, you loosen up a twist lock and pull the top of the stand up, then lock it again.
The GripBase Podium is identical in most ways to the microphone or music stand, except for what is attached at the top. That's where one of Newer Technology's GripBase cases attaches. The company includes a case that fits the iPad 2 through 4; if you have an original iPad or a mini, you'll need to purchase the appropriate case seperately.
That case locks onto the top of the GripBase Podium, so it's not going anywhere unless you plan on picking the entire thing up. That's not exactly going to be easy, since the base weighs over 12 pounds, and the entire stand is almost impossible to tip over. Trust me, I tried.
The case also rotates in 90 degree increments, so you can easily spin it into a landscape or portrait orientation depending on your needs. As a teleprompter using an app like Teleprompt+ for iPad ($14.99, not included), you can keep the screen in landscape mode, while reading music from an app like the free Musicnotes Sheet Music Viewer you may want to rotate the screen into a portrait orientation.
There's not a lot to say about the functionality of the GripBase Podium, other than to say that it works exactly as advertised. The stand is quite sturdy with the heavy base, and it stays put. Any vibrations caused by tapping on the screen of the iPad are quickly damped out, even when the stand is extended to its full length.
For those of you who watch TUAW TV Live on Wednesday afternoons, you'll know that bringing my guests or cohost onto the screen now requires me to connect to the other person using FaceTime HD or Skype, then grabbing their image with software for insertion into the video stream. One idea I had when I saw the GripBase Podium would be to actually use the iPad to have my guest talking through FaceTime on the iPad, "floating" next to me. Don't be surprised if you see the GripBase Podium being used for other TUAW productions in the future.
The GripBase Podium can also be used as a portable kiosk mount for an iPad. You won't be able to lock down the iPad as you can with kiosks designed for professional use, but if you just need a temporary kiosk and can keep an eye on the device to make sure it's not going to walk away, you should be in good shape.
If you're a public speaker, presenter, videographer, or musician who wants a sturdy extendable stand for your iPad, the GripBase Podium is an affordable and well-designed solution.
Reasonably priced, considering that similar microphone stands with heavy bases sell for as much as $65
Adjustable both in height and in iPad orientation
Very well built, includes the GripBase Case to hold the iPad
Configurable at extra cost to fit the iPad mini and first-generation iPad
Who is it for?
Anyone who needs to record or read from an iPad and keep both hands free to move