The video below is a quick introduction to how the Ten One Design Mountie and how it works with the iPad Air 2 and a MBP.
As up can see, the Mountie easily attaches to the iPad and MBP and allows you to use the iPad as a second display with the Duet or Air Display app. I am using Lightroom in this video, but I could see how it could be useful for the many different applications that you would use with a dual monitor setup (Twitter, Facebook, RSS Feeds, etc..).
Typically, when I need a keyboard, I switch to a laptop, but I decided to test the Targus Keyboard case with its included Bluetooth keyboard. The main reason was to be able to use it when I am out of town, but to also test using it for a few days to see if I could be happy with using this keyboard rather than switching to my laptop.
When I first opened the box, I popped out the case and noticed a fairly short USB cable for charging the keyboard. I was kind of surprised by the length, since it would make it hard to charge while its in use, but it could be easily switched out with a longer cable for little money.
The next thing I noticed was that it had a hard vinyl type of outer case. If I wanted to use this as a daily driver, I know I would miss the softer feel of the Apple case.
I popped my iPad out of the Apple Leather Case and it was easy to put into the new case. It is harder to remove from this case than the Apple case, but I have had cases that make it even more difficult to remove, so I would put the difficulty at a 7.5 out of ten.
I tested this on a desk first and I liked the ability to put the iPad Air 2 in portrait of landscape modes. Some apps that I use are only in portrait mode, so this is an important feature for any keyboard case.
I also used in my lap, like a laptop. If you don't figit around a lot, I found that it works fine in both landscape and portrait without much problem. I did get a phone call and had to get up quickly to answer the phone and I moved the case quickly out of the way and the keyboard fell to the floor. There are magnets that secure it pretty well, but you still want to be careful with it if you only have the top edge touching the case. If you have the entire keyboard in contact with the case, it stays much more secure, so it also depends on how you use it. Personally, I prefer having the keyboard in a postion that the entire screen has contact.
The keyboard also has some nice shortcuts built in. There is a key that will take you to the homescreen or if you double click it, it will bring up the open apps. It also has copy/cut and paste shortcuts, volume control, and a key to lock the iPad. I should also mention that the keyboard is in QWERTY format, so it easy to adapt to.
The keyboard has a blue LED that lets you know that it is being charged. It will start blinking when you need to plug it in. The keyboard had a charge when I got it out of the box, but I am not sure if it was fully charged. It is supposed to have a 100 hour battery.
The iPad is mounted on a piece that rotates. This is nice for typing, but makes the case awkward to hold when you just want to lounge with the iPad. I would just pop it out of the case for lounging, but as I mentioned above, they have made it too difficult to remove from the case. I believe they either need to figure out a way to make it less awkward to hold in the hand or find a way to make it easier to remove.
Personally, I plan to use the case without the iPad inside. Since it still folds up nicely with just the keyboard inside, I will just slide it in my backpack next to the iPad that will stay in its Apple leather case. Of course, this will make it much harder to use in the lap, but I am willing to sit at a table and type, which is easier on the neck, anyways.
My 10 favorite apps for the Mac:
1. Caffeine - This free little app will force your Mac to stay awake.
2. Airfoil/Airfoil Speakers - If you own an iOS device or Airplay devices this is a multipurpose app that allows you to send any audio to Airplay devices and the "Speakers" part of the program will allow you accept an Airplay signal from an iOS device (great if you prefer your Mac's speakers to your IOS device speakers).
3. Crashplan - This will backup your data to the cloud.
4. Splashtop Personal - Easy way to access your Mac from anywhere (including iPads and iPhones).
5. BitPerfect - There are some great audio apps for the Mac, but BitPerfect is only $9.99 and works with iTunes. One great feature is automatic sample rate switching. For example, when you play a 24/96 file in iTunes, it will output it at the default sample rate that you are using (typically 16/44.1). You can change it in Audio Midi manually, but this app handles that process automatically.
6. Evernote - This allows you to save lists, clip web articles, and more. It will sync across many different devices, so it is also one of the best apps for iOS.
7. Pocket - Personally, I use this to gather articles from the web and apps like FlipBoard (iOS) and when I see something I want to keep or add to a list, I save it to Evernote. Using the two together is a great way to streamline projects in Evernote without cluttering it with everything.
8. LastPass - There are at least 3 really great password managers out there and you should use one of them. I chose LastPass a long time ago when I was still exclusively on Windows, but since it is web based, I was able to move it to the Mac and iOS seamlessly. A lot of people on Macs prefer 1Password, so if you are just starting with password managers, I would review them to see which fits your needs best. Leo Leporte and Steve Gibson like LastPass, so that is one of the main reasons I have stuck with them.
9. Dropbox - Integration into the OS X is seamless. For me, it is still the easiest way to transfer files from a mobile device to my Macs.
10. Hazel by Noodlesoft - I am still in the test phase of this app, but it is simply fantastic. It will look at folders, delete duplicates, automatically empty the trash, move files based on your criteria, etc. I plan to devote an article to it after I use it for a while.
I want to mention that one of my most used applications on the Mac is Lightroom and I would highly recommend it if you are a photographer, but I wouldn't say it is needed for everybody. Also, Apple is getting ready to make some major changes to Photo software, so it may be best for the casual photographer to wait it out to see if it does what they need.
These are definitely some of the best apps for Mac, but of course, the list can't include every single app I like. If I missed an app you would have in your top ten, let me know.
The Elgato Thunderbolt 2 Dock is really useful for those that have 2011 Thunderbolt capable Macs or for those that just want a way to easily dock their thunderbolt equipped laptop.
The dock also has two USB 3.0 ports, 2 thunderbolt ports, an HDMI port, and a gigabyte ethernet port on back. Since the two Macs that I own that have thunderbolt do not have USB 3.0, this is a great way to add it. I ran a Black Magic Speed test on a Seagate Backup Plus Slim 1TB Portable External Hard Drive and it came through with 31 read and 38 write speeds via USB 2. The same drive ran at 86 read and 99 write speeds via the dock. This is a significant improvement over direct connection to USB 2.
On the 2011 iMac, I was using the second thunderbolt port to feed an HDMI display via a Display Port to HDMI cable. This cable has had issues since I first starting using it. My second display would work fine for a few minutes, but it would either go black or go to complete static. It has made me stay with one display use most of the time. However, after I hooked up the Elgato dock via the same thunderbolt port, I tested the HDMI output with my second monitor. The connection was rock solid. I am going to get rid of the Display Port adapter and use the HDMI cable with the Elgato going forward. I recently discovered how useful a second display can be in Lightroom for browsing catalogs, so this came right on time. I should mention that Elgato claims that it works with displays up to 4096 x 2160 pixels of resolution, but I only tested it with a monitor in 1080 HDTV mode.
I also hooked up a 2011 MBP to the dock via thunderbolt. This allowed the iMac (which was connected to the other thunderbolt port) to be used as a second display (CMD F2) for the MBP (very useful since I have Win7 installed on the MBP for work). It also worked flawlessly. The Elgato comes with its own fairly short (1.6 feet) Thunderbolt adapter, but it came in handy and was the perfect length for this application since the Elgato sits on a mStand that is right underneath the MBP.
I have not had a chance to test the ethernet output, but I can see how it would come in handy for docking a laptop and getting Gigabit ethernet. I doubt I will ever use the microphone input since the microphone I own uses USB.
All in all, I am very happy with the device. It really is a perfect compliment to 2011 Macs (those with thunderbolt) and I will definitely get a lot more use out of my second display with its HDMI output. The device retails for around $200.
Dog loving, Big Green Egg worshiping, Tech enthusiast, residing in Memphis, TN. Home of the Tigers, Grizzlies, Elvis, Al Green, Stax, Hi Records, Ardent Studios, Beale Street, Peabody Ducks, etc.. I have also added the Jeep Wrangler to the list of things I am enthusiastic about.
Flickr pics below