There are tons of cases that include a built-in keyboard, like Incase Origami Workstation (requires Apple Wireless Keyboard ), Belkin Keyboard Folio, Logitech Zagg keyboard case, ZaggFolio, OR Kensington KeyFolio. These are primarily cases; typically a portfolio type case. While this may be OK for some iPad owners, there are some that wants more a laptop experience. They not only want a keyboard, but what the case and the iPad to function as if it was a laptop computer. There are also a few items on the market or soon to be on the market to fulfill these desires.
They all naturally include an integrated Bluetooth keyboard, but add some other features that gives the combined device a better laptop-like experience. The two devices that offer stereo speakers or a touch pad are currently being developed and are not available at the time of this writing. Without further delay, here are my list of the laptop-like solutions for the Apple iPad.
The Crux360™ for iPad 3 (DELTA) (Retail $99.99)
The Crux360™ features four modes:
1) Laptop Mode: which allows use of the keyboard.
2) Movie Mode: great for watching movies and videos.
3) Tablet Mode: great for reading books or magazines.
4) Carry Mode: when not in use the Crux360™ closes up and protects your iPad’s® screen from nicks and scratches.
Crux360 (iPad 1)
Crux360 (iPad 2) or Amazon Link: Crux Crux360 for iPad 2
Crux360 (iPad 3)
The Crux Loaded™ (In Development - Retail $249)
Trackpad: CruxCase™ has been developing technology that allows you to navigate the iPad via a remote Bluetooth trackpad. With the remote trackpad, you’ll be able to control your iPad’s screen using all the same multi-touch functions currently on iOS. Scroll pages, resize pictures, play games, and do many other functions without having to lift your arm to touch your iPad’s screen. The Crux Loaded™ is also the preferred tool when accessing another PC using a remote-desktop program such as LogMeIn Ignition™, Jump Desktop™, or Splashtop™.
Battery: The Crux Loaded™ features an extra external battery within its base. When the battery is connected to your iPad via Apple’s 30-pin cord, it extends your iPad’s battery life by about 7.5 hours between charges.
BRYDGE for iPad (Pre-order $170 Standard or $210 with Stereo Speakers)
Brad, Eddy and Sam are developing an iPad case that will blur the lines between laptop and tablet. Called Brydge, the special case has a built-in keyboard that transforms your iPad into a more laptop-like device capable of performing many of the same functions you know and love from your traditional computer.
Made out of aerospace-grade aluminum, the case looks and feels like your iPad. Rather than look like your iPad shoved in a case, the two are designed to fit together in such a way that looks like they’re the same device. Together and closed, the two devices are slightly thicker than an 11" Apple MacBook Air.
The hinge on the case holds your iPad in place with super strong magnets which turns the unit on and off when opening andf closing the lid (aka iPad). The iPad can extend almost to the table, giving you 180 degrees of positioning much like you have with a traditional laptop screen. When you’re done using your tablet, you can close the case to put your iPad to sleep and protect the screen while you travel.
Brydge connects to your iPad via Bluetooth, and special hot keys on the keyboard perform different functions on your iPad. The keyboard charges through a USB connection. Brydge weighs 1.28 pounds by itself and 2.59 pounds when connected to an iPad 2. For comparison, the 11 inch MacBook Air weighs 2.38 pounds and the 13 inch MacBook Air weighs 2.96 pounds.
A pledge of $170 will get you the standard device. For a pledge of $210, you can get built-in stereo speakers. So, when you’re watching a movie or listening to tunes you can do so at a higher volume than you might be able to using just the iPad's speaker. It works with the iPad 2 and iPad 3 only (no iPad 1).
Brydge is currently raising money for its first manufacturing run on Kickstarter. The company estimated it needs $90,000 for a first run of the case, and has 33 days to go before it ends it pledge drive on June 4, 2012. As of May 2, 2012, the project has pledges in the amount of $402,522.00.
Byrdge (Official site) (Kickstarter site)
ClamCase (Retail $149)
This accessory is made entirely from a hard shell polycarbonate (plastic) with a rubberized coating on the bottom. The iPad2/3 case weighs 1.6 lbs and the iPad 1 version weighs 1.8lbs. The built-in rechargeable Lithium-ion Polymer (Li-Po) battery is listed as providing 90 hours uninterrupted in use time, 100 day standby time, 3 years battery life and needs 90 minutes to fully charge. LED lights provide status of charge. The units ships with a mini USB charing cable, but not with a power adapter.
Clamcase (iPad 1)
Clamcase (iPad 2/3)
Amazon Link: ClamCase iPad 2-3 Keyboard Case - Black Amazon Link: CLAMCASE FOR THE IPAD2 - WHITE Amazon Link: ClamCase iPad 2-3 Keyboard Case
One note to keep in mind is that the iPad is not as wide as most laptops; therefore, any keyboard that is the same length of the iPad would be smaller than those typically available on a laptop. As a result, the keyboard will feel cramped and may require getting used to. I encourage you to research these options and read reviews by tech reviewers and customers before making a decision. I always suggest doing a search on YouTube to see the item in action.