New term – new iPad ideas

I had a bit of a laugh to myself when I saw a press release about going back to school and iPads. How many kids have iPads, I thought? After all, I’m a consumer technology writer and I don’t have one (that is a big hint, if any Apple PR people are reading!), so surely kids don’t have them?


Okay, well now I have to eat my words, after a conversation with a 10-year-old in the park the other day when we were talking about Plants vs Aliens (great game by the way). “Oh yes,” he said airily, “I have it on my iPad.”

And then a friend told me about a mother who had bought her child a low-spec first-gen iPad so that she wouldn’t use her mum’s high-spec iPad 2.

So, while I go away and mutter about what the world is coming to when kids who haven’t even reached the lofty heights of secondary school have better gadgets than I do, let’s take a look at the latest goodies from Newertech, which, their bods say, are perfect for going back to school (or uni, I guess, as I’m writing this on the day that the A-level results come out).

The NuGuard Bundle offers maximum flexibility for your lovely shiny device, allowing you to use it at a desk, while walking, on your lap and so on. The bundle includes- iPad 2 Stand, Base and Strap.
The GripStand hard plastic protective shell grips the tablet securely, offering a 360° view so that the screen can be positioned away from sun or glare. It also doubles as a one-hand grip, so you can carry on viewing while you’re standing or walking.

If you’re at your desk, the GripBase lets you turn your iPad 2 into a desktop workstation that is virtually impossible to knock over.

Finally if you’re in the car, the Nylon Strap securely mounts your iPad 2 to a car headrest for easy viewing.

Not bad pricing considering the usual cost of iPad accessories _ $39.99 (that’s about £24).

For more see

Slightly more pricey, but pretty classy nonetheless, is the NewerTech iFolio leather case, which will help you get your tablet to school or college safely. Handcrafted in the US from Brazilian leather, it comes in 11 colours including cognac, black, yellow, and red and can be used with or without the shoulder strap. The case is padded for extra protection and includes a slot for holding documents as well as an ID or business card holder. The cost? From $87.99 (about £53).

More info at

Finally, NewerTech has introduced the NuVue Anti-Glare Screen Protector for viewing your iPad outside or in a sunny room. It reduces glare and smudges with no “rainbow” effect,and is custom-designed to fit the iPad perfectly (note it is not compatible with the iPad 2).

Just over $12, or £7, at

Proporta’s four ‘Back to School Essentials’ – Essential or superfluous?

Corresponding with the GCSE results day, the British iPad and iPhone accessories specialists, Proporta announced a new range of Back to School products for the iPhone 4 and HTC Sensation. In our gadget-obsessed society, the kids of today have a lot more to worry about than merely being seen with the right pair of trainers. iPad, iPhone and MacBook cases have the power to influence the esteem of kids in a school playground, hence when Proporta name their range of such cases as being “Back to School Essentials”, no one bats an eyelid. Here are four items from Proporta’s ‘indispensable’ new range.


Times Table Hard Shell (Apple iPhone 4)


Teachers better watch out that gadgets such as the Times Table Hard Shell don’t lead to some serious cheating in exams. Oh well, at least this one is mildly educational, as by having the times tables printed on the back, lessons spent gazing at an iPhone instead of listening to the teacher may at least result in kids finally learning their times tables.

Perfora Hard Shell for the HTC Sensation


Those children owning a, dare we say it slightly inferior HTC Sensation, can now deck their precious gadget out with a Perfora Hard Shell. This super tough crystal case will protect an HTC Sensation from the inevitable knocks it will endure during a day at school, and its soft feel finish with funky range of colours, means Perfora Hard Shell cases are likely to be a big hit at high school.

Leather Protective Sleeve for the Apple iPad 2


For those kids lucky enough to own an Apple iPad 2, they could further their enviable status by tarting up their iPad 2 with this custom made, hardwearing and stylish leather bag – Although it has to said, leather isn’t always the most desirable material of those so young they don’t appreciate its quality.

Aluminium Lined Leather Style Case for Amazon Kindle 3


Are Amazon Kindle’s a popular gadget amongst schoolchildren? According to Proporta they are, as the company has placed this aluminium lined leather style case for the Amazon Kindle 3 in their ‘Back to School Essentials’ list. Well at least buying your child an Amazon Kindle would encourage him or her to read, and placing it in a sturdy case would help protect it from any potential damage that may occur on the commute to school. We still reckon the ‘cooler’ kids are seen with an iPhone or iPad though!

Three ‘must have’ back to school gadgets

Dare we say it? The summer is drawing to an end and no sooner are we worrying about how to keep the kids entertained for six weeks, we are rushing around buying everything our little darlings may need to prepare them for the new academic year. Whilst the only thing our parents and their parents before them needed to fork out for in the run-up to September was a school uniform, satchel and a pencil case, parents of today are increasingly pressured into buying the latest and coolest back to school gadgets. LG checks out three gadgets to help our kids beat the back to school blues.

Image courtesy of Flickr user Liz Henry

Nike Core Medium and other high-tech school bags  

Long gone are the days when a school satchel was made from vintage leather and resembled an old donkey pannier rather than a bag for school. Modern school bags, like the Nike Core Medium, are super lightweight, super snazzy and comprise of secret compartments for all those gadgetry essentials, such as a laptop sleeve and pocket for an iPhone or iPod.

Altaz Internet Clock Radio

Trying to prize your child from their bed and get them ready for school is particularly difficult after the six week break. Why not let the Altaz Internet Clock Radio help you out? Waking up to the sound of their own music collections and checking to see if there has been any developments on Facebook since they have been asleep, is a lot more enticing than grumpily switching off a conventional alarm clock before turning round a going back to sleep.

The Smash Pad

With all that homework, revision, exams and dreadful teachers to contend with, school can be a stressful time to say the least, and it’s no wonder kids can have a tendency to get a little wound up every now and again. Why not let them channel their anger in a more manageable manner with the RageCage Smash Pad? These customizable smash pads contain a pressure sensor embedded in silicone gel that is capable of withstanding the angriest of abuse. The cheeky RageCage will even attempt to pacify its aggressor by coming out with words such as “Why are you hurting me?” – Sounds more like an anger aggravator rather than a pacifier.

4 Top “Back to School” gadgets for a new term

It is that time of year again where parents pay out huge amounts of money so their children can have the latest and greatest for the new school year. We also have the university students who are soon to be off in the big bad world. I can say with absolute certainty if I had just a handful of the gadgets available for students when I was at university, my life would have been so much easier. Well here are some gadgets to help you along the way whether you are preparing for your GCSEs or degree.


I don’t know about you, but my textbooks were enormous. Right at the top of my wish-list at university would have been an e-reader. Instead of breaking your back why not have all your textbooks on an e-reader? Most publishers are now providing digital textbooks. Samsung have released the Samsung E60, available from WH Smith, to rival Amazon’s Kindle. With 2GB of storage and Wi-Fi access, you can read books in PDF, TXT and ePub formats. The memory is expandable to 16GB. It also comes with a MP3 player and organiser. You can annotate books and newspapers and images by writing them. For students, this would great feature to add notes while in lectures. At £199 it is more pricey than the Kindle but for students, the ability to annotate books is vital.


Livescribe have released the Echo Smartpen. Echo, the successor to the Pulse smartpen, records audio and everything you write at the same time so you never have to miss anything from your classes. Built-in speakers can play back your recorded audio and you can transfer notes and audio to your computer using the USB connection. It captures everything you write using an infrared camera in the replaceable ink tip. It comes in 4GB and 8GB sizes enabling it to hold 400 or 800 hours of audio. You can use customizable Livescribe applications allowing you can write and email by hand or even write a word down and hear the translation in Japanese. The Echo is available from Amazon where the 8GB will cost £180 and the 4GB costs £160. A handy little time-saving gadget.


Language students should check out the Rosetta Stone, which attempts to recreate immersion – one of the best ways to learn a language. The Rosetta Stone is a software or Flash based web service that tests your reading, writing, speaking and listening. Each skill is broken into short little chunks – so you can do a 10 minute writing lesson, or a 5 minute listening test, making it ideal for a busy student lifestyle. The whole course is carried out in the target language – forcing you to learn and hammering home grammar and vocab until you get it. However the Flash based nature of the website means there are certain portable devices (iOS ones most notably) that won’t run, making it a little less flexible than it could be. However the Rosetta Stone people have assured us that they have noticed the relentless march of apps and are working on some mobile solutions.


Our top application to help with your studies is iStudiez Pro. Student life can be hectic juggling different classes and knowing your homework deadlines. iStudiez Pro offers a detailed schedule planner and a daily calendar view of your classes for the day and what homework is due in. You can view by week or month to plan ahead. Push notifications will alert you to any upcoming classes and tasks. Courses can easily be setup for a term and labelled with colours. This app will always ensure you are where you meant to be.

Remember: fail to prepare, prepare to fail. Good luck!