By Todd Bernhard on Thu, 09/30/2010
If you're like me, you're always on the lookout for the right accessories for your iPhone or iPad. I found an iPad stand that, if you'll pardon the pun, stands out from all the rest. Most stands are designed without much thought to ergonomics. They raise the iPad about 2 inches at most. The user has to bend their head down to view the iPad. The vue-console from vue-products.com is designed to position the iPad in a more ergonomic position, suitable for reading, viewing videos and even typing without neck strain common to desktop-level stands. The stand is made out of a lightweight material and can even be collapsed with the iPad enclosed adding only minimal thickness and weight.
As a writer for iPhone Life Magazine I get to try out the latest accessories for iPhones and iPads on a regular basis, but this was the first time I actually got a chance to influence a product as it was being designed. I met the designer of the vue-console when I was giving a talk at the local (Rochester, NY) Apple user's group meeting. At that time, the vue-console was just a prototype and I offered my suggestions. The designer followed up and showed me the finished product which is quite impressive, especially given the $12.95 (plus shipping) price tag. I've paid two to three times as much for stands from other manufacturers and they still do nothing to address ergonomics nor portability. The vue-console does a good job on both fronts.
The folks at vue-products have put together a nice video that shows how the stand can be used and how easy it is to fold it up, with the iPad enclosed, and go. The vue-console could be useful for college kids and mobile office workers, especially when paired with a Bluetooth keyboard. Certain apps, like teleprompter and painting apps could also take advantage of the extra height.
While the stand is made of a lightweight material, the base is weighted slightly to keep its form and balance without adding too much heft. After all, one of the attractions is that this stand is quite portable. I was worried that the circular Home button is obstructed, in portrait mode, but the engineers at vue actually placed a pushbutton 'nub' between the stand and the iPad, so you just touch where the home button should be and it works! Notice the "retainer clip" at the top. It's on an elastic band which allows it to keep the iPad in place, in portrait or landscape mode, even when folded up.
As the iPad begins to replace notebooks as workhorse devices, thanks to apps like Pages and Numbers, ergonomics are an area to pay attention to. Without such a stand, I can see users suffering from straining their neck to see the iPad or their hands from holding it for extended amounts of time. The vue-console is an interesting way to address this need.