Turn Your iPad into a Full-Fledged Desktop with the myKeyO

Increasingly, iPads are replacing laptops and even desktops as the computing platform of choice, especially in schools. But the onscreen keyboard is often the weak link. There are a plethora of Bluetooth keyboards, notably Apple's own pricey Wireless Keyboard. It could get expensive to outfit each student with one.

Enter the myKeyO. This is a unique combination of a Bluetooth keyboard with something I haven't seen before. Indeed I was skeptical of this item when the vendor first emailed me about it, but now that I've had a chance to use it, I totally get it.

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First, there is a base station, made of heavy duty silicone. There are cutouts to hold an iPad (or other tablet) in portrait or landscape mode. More cutouts can hold a variety of things, like a pen or stylus, business cards, paperclips, and more.

The most important slot is for either the official Apple Wireless Keyboard, or their own keyboard. They have designed a lower cost tough plastic keyboard that shares the exact same dimensions as Apple's version. In some ways, this keyboard could be better because it has iPad-specific buttons like the HOME button. It also could work with Microsoft Windows computers or tablets, as it has labels for Windows.

I could easily see the myKeyO units being placed throughout a school or office, so students could set down their tablets and get to work. Ideally, each student would work at the same spot, so the Bluetooth keyboard would already be paired, but if not, pairing is an easy process with the Connect button on the bottom of the keyboard.

The base station is really heavy and should stay put on most desks. It's also available in assorted colors, so students can have some customization. It's one of those accessories you didn't know you needed until you see it. But now it's earned a dedicated spot on my desk  The stand alone is $29.95 and the Bluetooth keyboard adds $40.

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Todd Bernhard is a bestselling (6+ million downloads) award-winning (AARP, About.com, BestAppEver.com, Digital Hollywood, and Verizon) developer and founder of NoTie.NET, an app developer specializing in Talking Ringtone apps including AutoRingtone. And his profile photo is of the last known sighting of Mr. Bernhard wearing a tie, circa 2007!

An iPhone is almost always attached to his hip or in his pocket, but over the years, Mr. Bernhard has owned an Apple Newton, a Motorola Marco, an HP 95LX, a Compaq iPaq, a Palm Treo, and a Nokia e62. In addition to writing for iPhone Life, Mr. Bernhard has written for its sister publications, PocketPC Magazine and The HP Palmtop Paper.