Apple launched its new iPad Air at the start of November, and it’s certainly an impressive tablet – it scored 4.5 out of 5 stars in our review. The Air is thin and light, with a blazing fast A7 processor and a super-sharp 2,048 x 1,536-pixel Retina display. And let’s not forget that the software side of the iPad is equally as strong, with no less than 400,000 iPad-optimised apps in Apple's App Store.
Are you a proud iPad Air owner? Indeed, have you just unwrapped your Apple tablet fresh from under the tree this morning? Or are you planning on getting an Air in the new year, perhaps? If the answer to any of these questions happens to be yes, then you’ll want to read on and find out everything you need to know about turning your iPad Air into a mobile computing powerhouse with some great accessories.
First up, you'll need a cover to protect the iPad's screen and body. Pair it with a wireless keyboard, and you'll be able to use your tablet like you would a laptop for productivity purposes. For music and video, you'll need a wireless Bluetooth speaker and a good pair of headphones. Finally, you'll want to be able to control your HDTV with your iPad, and watch movies and TV shows on a big screen.
Buy some of these accessories, and the iPad Air could very well end up as your primary computer. Got some favourite accessories of your own? Let us know in the comments below.
Apple iPad Air Smart Case (£65)
Apple's thin, light, magnetised Smart Case is one of the best ways to protect your iPad. It also functions as a nifty stand when folded a certain way, and wakes up the iPad when you open it, eliminating the need to press the Home button.
The £35 Smart Cover is a less expensive option if you don't need all-round iPad protection.
Apple TV (£99)
There's still no Apple HDTV, despite some analysts’ incessant predictions. But Apple's little set top box is worth buying more now than ever, thanks to its 1080p support, easy movie rentals, and support for a wide variety of third-party streaming services. It's a versatile product that, when paired with occasional rentals and possibly a Netflix subscription, could deliver all the television content you ever need. Your iPad works as a remote control, and you can also project anything shown on the iPad display onto your HDTV.
Apple Wireless Keyboard (£59)
Pair Apple's ubiquitous Wireless Keyboard with the Smart Case (above), which acts as a stand, and you end up with a killer alternative to sluggish netbooks and heavier, bargain-priced desktop replacement laptops. The Wireless Keyboard doesn't have a separate numeric keypad, but it offers everything else, including a comfortable typing feel and a sleek aluminium body. And it lasts for months on a single set of batteries.
Bose SoundLink Bluetooth Mobile Speaker II (£199)
Bose continues to set the standard for small, single-enclosure speakers, and the SoundLink Bluetooth Mobile Speaker II is no exception. It sounds surprisingly full and detailed, and is powerful enough to fill a mid-sized living room or den with smooth sound. I was tempted to recommend something AirPlay-compatible, but those speakers tend to cost more, and AirPlay restricts you to streaming from Apple products or iTunes software, at least without a third-party driver. The included cover doubles as a nifty stand as well as a power switch. That makes firing up the speaker as easy as possible whenever tunes are called for.
Bowers & Wilkins P7 Mobile Hi-Fi Headphones (£330)
Plenty of headphone pairs are less expensive, but none give you a high-end audio experience quite like the beautiful Bowers & Wilkins P7. They offer superb sound with all kinds of music, and feature a luxurious black and aluminium design that's extremely comfortable to wear. They also come with two removable cables; you can buy additional ones down the road, so there's a good chance this pair will give you many years of reliable music listening without ever having to send them in for repair.