Top ten tips for taking your iPad back to school–that don’t have to do with apps!

Top ten tips for taking your iPad back to school–that don’t have to do with apps!

My bag with everything I carry

Everything is pointing to this school year being the year of the iPad, and while there are lots of articles on what apps to get, I haven’t seen any on the stuff you need to take your iPad to school with you. And since I’ve been carrying around my iPad for some time now, I thought I’d pass onto you my top 10 tips for taking your iPad back to school (or even just out and about):

  1. A good case. Myself, I like the thin and functional case from Apple, but it is limited in how you can use it as a stand. Other cases offer more options, but also add bulk to the case.
  2. The right bag. I have a small bag from Mountain Equipment Co-op (they actually call it “small bag”) that I purloined from my wife. It fits everything I have on this list and plenty more if needed. Yes, I carry a man-purse, man-bag, murse, satchel, whatever.
  3. Cable and charger. I always have an iPod/iPhone/iPad cable with me. It started when I got an iPod and then found that iPhone owners tended to forget theirs so… As for the charger, well you just never know when you might run low, better to have it than not. You can also charge your iPhone with it too!
  4. Pogo sketch. Sometimes it’s easier to draw,what you’re thinking or describing than to type it. I use several apps like Penultimate, etc to sketch an idea or map out something I’m thinking.
  5. iPad Camera Connection Kit. I’ll admit I’m a late-comer to the whole camera connection kit, but beyond using it for importing photos there are lots of things like connecting keyboards, headphones, even hard drives (jailbreaking required) that you can use it for (see MacLife).
  6. Apple Wireless Keyboard. I tried the keyboard dock first and returned in within 24 hours. The dock is just too limited. The wireless keyboard is awesome and perfect when you want to tap out something a little more long form (like this post, in fact). One tip here: flip one of the batteries backwards to keep it from turning on in your bag.
  7. Extra batteries. Yeah keeping a couple of extra AAs in your bag might seem like overkill, but you never know, and they are small. Plus you can lend them to friends in need.
  8. SD cards & flash drives. Just keep one or two extra in your bag. You can use the SD cards to transfer more pictures and movies to your iPad. Flash drives? Well they are just plain handy.
  9. Microfibre cloth. Face it, iPads get smudgy fast. Since I wear glasses I always have a cloth in my pocket, except I found the larger, fuzzier cloths that we have for the house are so, so much better.
  10. Earbuds. Doesn’t matter if they are the basic Apple ones, fancy noise canceling (I love my Shure’s), or what, just have them to both let you listen to music and keep from bugging people with beeps and stuff from your iPad.

Those are my main tips. Sure, as you can see from the picture, I carry a lot more in my bag (pens, mechanical pencil, gum, notebook, bus passes, shopping bag, USB cable), but those are the 10 things that I think are must haves for being out and about with your iPad. If you’re like me, you might find that with the right stuff on hand (like the keyboard), you can forgo carrying your laptop most of the time. The one thing that I haven’t tried, and just might soon, is if your school has those “traditional” desk/chair combos, getting a smal spring clamp to clamp your iPad case to the desk might be a good idea. I’ve found that standing in landscape mode the whole thing to be a little tippy, but maybe clamping it to the table might help.

These have been my 10 tips, do you have any to add? Do you have a case or bag that you like more? Share!

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