Logitech is launching a couple of cool expansion items for the Apple iPad: a joystick for games and a fold-up keyboard for the iPad 2.
These add-ons show that it’s not so hard to come up with clever extras that extend the functionality of an iPad so that it can be better used for work or play. If you can extend the versatility of an iPad in this way, you’re less likely to need a PC.
The Logitech Joystick for iPad is a thumbstick-style game controller that attaches to the iPad screen with suction cups. It includes a coiled spring for force feedback that automatically returns the joystick to its center position. You can use it with any game that uses an on-screen joystick or D-pad. The joystick costs $19.99 and will be available in the U.S. and Europe in September.
I used it to play Ms. Pac-Man, the old arcade classic, pictured right. The game was unplayable using your finger on the surface. It’s too easy for the screen to miss your finger stroke at a critical moment, like when you’re trying to evade the pie guys that eat you. It’s also easy to make a mistake with one of your palms. But with the joystick, I didn’t make a single wrong move. The game was suddenly much more fun because I wasn’t cursing at the screen for missing my finger swipes.
The fold-up keyboard works only with an iPad 2. It is a full-size keyboard that connects via Bluetooth and charges via universal serial bus (USB). The keyboard, pictured, lets you work on documents or fill out web forms without resorting to the virtual keyboard on the iPad, which isn’t all that usable. You can tilt the iPad 2 at an angle and type without needing to support the tablet. The keyboard can fold up and fit underneath the iPad 2 when closed. It works fine with a smart cover. The keyboard costs $129.99 and will be available in the U.S. and Europe in September.
Both of these are pretty smart add-ons. If Logitech keeps coming up with winners like this, it could have a thriving Apple peripherals business.