iPad 2 accessories trickling out

New accessories include covers and jackets to fit the lighter and thinner iPad 2

Apple and accessory makers are offering cases and jackets that fit the dimensions of the thinner and lighter iPad 2, which was announced on Wednesday. The iPad 2 is 8.8 millimeters thick, compared to the 13.4-millimeter thickness of the original iPad. Apple announced a accessory called the Smart Cover, which effectively uses iPad 2 hardware and software to protect the device. Apple also introduced an adapter that connects the iPad 2 to high-definition TVs, while HardCandy and Kensington released cases and jackets.

Apple's Smart Cover

Apple is offering a multipurpose Smart Cover accessory that protects an iPad 2 screen and serves as tablet holder. The magnetic cover can be easily attached or removed from the tablet, which also has magnets. Working with the software, an idle iPad 2 can be awoken when it is pulled out of the cover or put to sleep when the cover is attached to the tablet. The Smart Cover also folds into a stand to hold the tablet so users can view videos or type.

The Smart Cover is available in multiple colors with two fabrics, polyurethane for US$39 or leather for $69. Apple hasn't announced the shipment date for the cover, but it will likely become available with the iPad 2 on March 11.

New Digital AV adapter

The iPad 2 allows "video mirroring," which involves mirroring tablet activity on a TV through an HDMI (high-definition multimedia interface) cable connection. Apple is offering the Digital AV Adapter, a dock connector which includes an HDMI port. Users can connect the iPad 2 to high-definition TV sets through the adapter, and activities on iPad 2 will be mirrored on the TV. The dock connector is priced at $39 and is "coming soon," according to Apple's website. The adapter will also work with the original iPad, iPhone 4 and the fourth-generation iPod Touch.

Kensington's BlackBelt protection

A solid protector for the edges and back of the iPad 2 is Kensington's BlackBelt Protection Band. The protector has a rubber edge that fits the contours of the tablet, and it "offers all around protection for shock and scratch protection on flat surfaces," Kensington said in a press release. The band preserves full access to iPad ports and controls, and has openings for the cameras on the front and back. The accessory will be available in April for $39.99 through Kensington's website.

The company is also redesigning its KeyFolio keyboard case to fit the slimmer iPad 2. The case includes a keyboard and a stand to hold the tablet. KeyFolio will become available in April for $99.99.

iPad 2 car backseat mount

TouCoul is developing a backseat car mount for iPad 2 called CoolVue. The mount secures an iPad 2 on a seat's headrest, allowing backseat passengers to use the more comfortably. The mount can be extended up to 10 inches toward the middle of the vehicle so passengers can shoot video using the iPad's front-facing camera.

"Combined with the iPad 2, backseat passengers will be able to easily video chat with family and friends, watch movies, play video games, use applications, and surf the Web -- all without uncomfortably holding their iPads," the company said in a statement.

The company said the iPad 2 mount was under development and could not provide a price, but said it would ship around the middle of April. The company is taking orders for a $79.95 mount for the original iPad on its website. That mount will ship on March 15.

Accessory roundup

HardCandy Cases is taking orders for the $39.95 iPad 2 Street Skin case, made of shock-absorbing rubber. Targus announced the ruggedized Street Skin iPad 2 Case, which also is made with rubber, and is priced at $39.99. Zagg said it is offering the Invisibleshield screen protector that "keeps harmful particles from getting between [Apple's] Smart Cover and the iPad 2 screen." Prices for Invisibleshield range from $29.99 to $39.99.

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