6 cool and retro gadgets for the Apple iPad 2

December 05, 2011 10:27 AM EST

Go on, take a break from reading those Samsung versus Apple [AAPL] legal reports and sifting through the cries and clamor claiming Apple plans to open a shop at a railway station and take a glance at this short list of six fabulously fun and ever so slightly retro iPad accessories for the gadget-loving human in your life.

Helo TC: Your iOS helicopter
Griffin Technology ($49)

This iOS-controlled flying machine is easy to fly. It ships with a clip-on device for your iPhone which enables you to control the machine, using an iOS app, which features neat things like Auto Land and right-handed vs. left-handed flying. Control the helicopter using the virtual joystick on the display or tilt the iPhone to move the chopper forward, backward and side-to-side. Flight plans are another fun feature, you can record and store up to three of these, so you can automate routes around furniture, routes and more. You can fly up to three of these helicopters in the same at once (one on each RC channel) for racing and other fun.

What they said:
"The Griffin Helo TC is one of the most fun iPhone accessories ever. At $49, it's about the same price as similar remote-control helicopters, making it a killer toy for those with iOS devices and flights of fancy." Laptop Mag.

iCade - an arcade in the hand
ThinkGeek ($69.99 at present)

You like games? You like retro games? You like those old console games? Take a look at ThinkGeek's quirky iCade system, which turns your iPad into a retro arcade console -- complete with, you know, a joystick, and buttons. It started as an April Fool's joke. Then they thought about it some more. Then they spoke with Atari, who began releasing its titles for iOS, all with support for the Bluetooth-based iCade system. (Oh, and there's iCade support in MAME4droid, phandroid phanatics.)

What they said:
"This is an attractive, capable piece of hardware that does exactly what you want it to do: it makes you feel like you're playing on a slightly smaller than average arcade machine." Ars Technica

Yeti, nothing abominable about it
Blue ($149.95)

This thing looks cool, right? That's because it is and if you want to capture the best possible audio on your iOS device then you should take a look at this USB microphone. One of the most advanced around you'll be able to capture high-quality sounds with tremendous clarity, partially thanks to the triple capsule array inside of the machine.

What they said:
"We loved the Yeti's versatility and the way it made vocals sound rich and radio-friendly. It has enough tonal nuances to make recording vocals and guitar straight into GarageBand satisfying and is easily good enough for recording small live events with multiple acoustic instruments. the bi-directional mode is great for interviews. It's quite big and heavy, though." Macworld UK.

iStation -- back, back, back in time
M.I.C. Gadget ($85.90)

If you've been pining for a classic slice of outstanding Apple-related iPad-savvy computing gadget add-on gift-frenzy awesomeness, then you might already have heard about the iStation. This thing is an iPad dock with speakers and a Bluetooth keyboard that's been designed to look a little like one of those hand-made Apple I computers which launched the company. There's also another version which captures a little of the spirit of the Apple II.

What they said:
"Alright, so this $85 setup won't exactly ape those Jobs / Woz lovechildren of the late '70s, but it does pack stereo speakers, a subwoofer, Bluetooth keyboard, USB port, microSD card slot and a 3.5mm headphone jack into its wood-paneling." Engadget

USB Typewriter -- full of characters
USB Typewriter ($799, DIY kit, $74)

Sad truth is an Apple I is still a relatively modern notion, hardcore retro-fashionistas will want to go back, further back, because way before the computer we had the typewriter. This USB keyboard is a re-tooled vintage typewriter with an iPad dock and support for all those new keys: Ctrl, Alt, and so on. If you like this, then do take a look at this previous collection of unusual iPad-related goodies.

What they said:
"For those who really love typing on a typewriter, this seems to actually be better than paper: you no longer have to retype whole pages, and white-out will be a thing of the past." Wired.

Etch A Sketch iPad Case
Headcase ($39)

You have an iPad, you need a case. You like retro fashion? You might want to take a look at this, a case which turns your iPad into an Etch A Sketch machine, protected by impact resilient plastic, rubber feet and a felt back to keep your tablet safe. There's even a retractable stand so you can watch video at your table in gentle comfort while thinking which garish color of late 60's wallpaper you fancy pasting on the walls of your den. Oh, yes, one more thing, when it comes to iPad and Etch A Sketch, there is, of course, an app for that. It's free.

What they said:
"It’s still a fitting fusion of brands, though. I’m hard pressed to identify the most magical tablet I ever owned, my iPad or my first Etch-A-Sketch…" Geek.com.

Have you come across any other unique retro iPad products you want to let the world know about? Let us all know in comments below.

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