Especially if you are buying your very first iPad, you might be very excited to complete your new gadget with some “must-have” iPad accessories that are touted all around the web. But lets stop and breathe a little bit: do you really need to spend almost half of the price of your iPad again on accessories? You can if you like, but please don’t spend your money on these four “must-have” iPad accessories that are absolute bogus! Read on to learn how you can save almost $200…
With Apple’s next generation iPad 3 looming on the horizon, many people will buy their very first iPad and wonder whether they will need a screen protector, a cover or case, extra warranty, and other stuff. There must be something on the web to help you decide!
If you google for “iPad accessories”, you are pretty likely to find the following quote very soon:
“So you just dropped a bunch of cash on a shiny new iPad 2. All you want to do now is spend a little quality time getting to know your new device. But no, you’ve got more shopping to do. You need to accessorize!”
I am not saying that all iPad accessories are bad. In fact, I am a big fan of improving my workflow through accessories. But so many items that float around online on countless “must-have” lists are so ridiculously useless that it makes me wanna scream!
The following four items make it to the top of my “must-have iPad accessories you should never buy” list:
Bogus “must-have iPad accessories” #1: Screen protectors
Screen protectors are the biggest scam! There are plenty of companies and bloggers out there who will tell you that you must permanently cover the screen (and the back) of your iPad in order to prevent scratches. ZAGG is one of the biggest player in this game, and they lure you with impressive attributes such as “military grade” and “self-healing properties”. Wrapping your iPad in its invisibleSHIELD will set you back $40, or even more if you let somebody else do the wrapping.
I call bullshit! You don’t need to worry about scratching your screen for the following reasons:
- You don’t carry around your iPad in your pocket, therefore there is little risk that its screen will be scratched by keys or coins.
- The iPad’s screen is made out of very durable glass. While no-one except Apple and their contract partner knows what exact glass is used for the iPad, you can assume that the glass is very strong. I am using my first generation iPad since the day it came out in Canada, and there is not a single scratch on my screen that you could detect under normal use. UPDATE: Apple has just (March 2, 2012) acknowledged that it uses the famous Gorilla Glass for the iPhone. Its quite likely that Gorilla Glass will be also used for the iPad 3.)
- Apple sells many iPad accessories in its stores, but it stopped selling screen protector before the original iPad came out in 2010. Hint, hint, hint…
Another reason why screen protectors are a lame idea is that they are damn hard to apply without ending up with a bunch of bubbles and trapped-in dust. I admit, I once bought a screen protector (for a different reason than scratches – see below) in 2010, and I ended up with a lot of dust in between the screen and the film (obviously, I am not the most talented guy). It impaired my using experience so much that I ripped off the film after 30 minutes. Learn from my mistakes and save your money for iPad accessories that are actually useful.
Don’t trust the propaganda!
But why are so many bloggers telling you that screen protectors are a “must-have” iPad accessory? It is because if I told you today that, for example, ZAGG’s screen protectors are the best thing in the world and that you are a fool for not protecting your iPad with it, I would right away make 20% commissions on whatever you are spending on ZAGG’s stuff. I believe that the affiliate programs of ZAGG and other vendors are among the main reasons why so many people out there recommend screen protectors. It is a clever marketing campaign. As somebody who is doing a PhD in Marketing, I find this approach by ZAGG and others quite interesting. But as a consumer and as your fellow academic comrade, I say stay away!
In the interest of full disclosure: I do use affiliate links, but I only recommend stuff I really believe in. See academiPad’s policies on affiliate links here.
So please, don’t spend your money on a screen protector, at least if your only worries are scratches. If you worry that your iPad screen and back might get scratched while carrying it around in your bag (I am), get a case or a sleeve (but see item number 2 on this list).
There is only one reason why you can buy a screen protector and still be my friend: The iPad’s glossy screen makes it very prone to reflections, especially when light is shining right onto the screen. A matte screen protector might be a good investment for you if you are struggling with reflections (this was the reason why I tried out a screen protector once). Check out this video to see the matte effect yourself and to learn how to install a screen protector.
But again, in most cases you will be fine without a screen protector. Except for the 30 minutes back in 2010, my iPad’s screen has been all-natural all the time, and I never had any issues with that.
Money saved: $40
Check out the other three items on my list of “must-have” iPad accessories you should never buy (more details coming soon):
- #2: Apple’s Smart Cover: Save up to $57 with a more stylish alternative that will protect your iPad way better. Or don’t save at all but get a better deal.
- #3: Magical cleaning potions: Save up to $18 and come to terms with reality again.
- #4: Apple Care Protection Plan: Save $79 by reading the fine print. UPDATE: It seems like somebody at Apple is reading my blog (ahem…), as the warranty program was updated on March 7 to include warranty from accidental damages. That makes the new Apple Care+ Protection Plan more consumer friendly. However, I am still not convinced that it is a “must-have”.
All together, this list of four iPad accessories you should not buy will save you $194.
UPDATE: When I wrote the original post, the stylus nearly made it on my “Don’t Buy” list. Back then, there weren’t really good styluses out there for academics. But this has changed recently, as you can now buy a stylus that is optimized for handwriting and conceptualizing ideas. If you can fit it in your workflow, a stylus that matches your academic needs can be a useful tool, indeed. You can read more about stylus for academics here.
One accessory that is really and truly a must-have one, at least for academics and anybody else who plans to do some serious writing with the iPad (maybe even in the park), is an external keyboard. For the money of Apple’s Smart Case you can already get really good keyboard cases. Here is a post for how to find the keyboard case that fits your individual writing style best. Alternatively, if you are more about style than function, here are some really nice iPad cases that put Apple’s smart case to shame!
But before you head on to read these posts, please first help academiPad busting the “screen protectors are must-have iPad accessories” myth by sharing this article through the buttons on the left.
Disclaimer: All images by academiPad. While Jo is convinced that this is the best advice you will ever get (as always), you cannot sue him or be mad at him when this advice didn’t work out for you. Please consider sharing this article if you found it useful.