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Great gear you may have missed

Dan Frakes | Jan. 20, 2014
As the editor who coordinates most of Macworld's iOS- and Mac-accessory coverage, I'm inundated with miscellaneous cables, connectors, chargers, and other "minor" products that don't necessarily warrant a full review or article. But, as I wrote back in late 2012, that doesn't mean they should all go unnoticed. Some of these products are interesting or useful enough that they're worth talking about; or they're things that, though they may not have impressed me at first, have since earned a spot on my desk or in my bag.

Smarterflo Smarter Stand: Apple's Smart Covers and Smart Cases for the iPad and iPad mini have a cover that folds up to offer a couple useful stand positions: a low angle for typing and a nearly upright angle for screen viewing. But what if you'd prefer something in between? The $15 Smarter Stand, which started out as a Kickstarter project, is a simple set of clips that bridge the cover's folds to offer several additional angle options. You can slide the clips to change the cover configuration — they move fairly easily — but they're tight enough that they won't fall off while you're using your iPad. The company includes three clips (two to use and one as a backup), as well as three non-slip pads that you can attach to the Smart Cover or Smart Case for a better grip on your desk or table.

CardNinja Like The Nest, above, I didn't know what to make of the $20 CardNinja at first. But after trying it, I can see its appeal. This thin, stretchy pouch adheres to the back of your iPhone (or any smooth iPhone case) and provides a place to stash some cash, an ID, and a credit card or two, letting you leave your wallet behind. When empty, the pouch hardly adds any bulk to your phone, but it can fit a lot more stuff than you'd expect — and its stretchy material keeps that stuff from sliding out. The CardNinja is available in black, gray, or purple, and its adhesive is non-permanent, so you can remove the CardNinja if you ever get tired of it.

CalypsoCrystal CalypsoPad: I'll finish up this list with one final "This is surprisingly useful" product. The $39 CalypsoPad is simply a leather pad on which to place your iPhone while it's charging on your desk, nightstand, or counter — a safe haven, if you will, that keeps your iPhone and desk apart. But it's the little touches that make this pad appealing. It's handcrafted using premium Italian leather, with a bottom covered in a soft material that won't scratch your desk but also offers a bit of grip to keep the pad in place. It looks great, thanks to attractive, black or tan leather and complementary stitching. And my favorite feature is the leather band, which fastens using embedded magnets, that keeps your charge/sync cable from falling behind your desk or nightstand when your iPhone isn't connected. It's undoubtedly a luxury product, but it's a useful luxury.


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