The iPad is an astonishing work of art and engineering. However, it lacks a means to stand it up on a flat surface. While Apple could have easily included a fold-out tripod-style leg that extended from the back of the device, doing so would have impinged on its aesthetic design. Apple does offer an optional iPad Case ($39), which not only protects the device but can be folded back to act as stand for viewing videos and images. In addition, Apple offers an optional iPad Dock ($29) and an iPad Keyboard Dock ($69), both of which stand the iPad up. But each of these includes a connector port and neither works with an iPad when it is protected by the optional case. (Apple accessories are available at apple.com/ipad/accessories .)
Fortunately, third-party developers were quick to offer a variety of stands for the iPad, ranging from simple and economical to expensive and elegant. I've organized this review into three tiers based on pricing: economy, midrange, and high-end. While each of the stands featured here reasonably accomplish the same objective—standing the iPad up for better viewing—each has its own design aesthetics and approach to fulfill the customer's needs.
Economy stands (under $40)
BookArc provides you with an attractive curved base with a slot that holds your iPad. The product ships in a beautiful box and includes the base and two silicon inserts that slip into that slot and hold the iPad without scratching it. BookArc will hold an iPad with or without a case, provided that the case is not too thick. (The iPad case sold by Apple works with this stand.) BookArc can hold your iPad in horizontal or vertical viewing positions, but does not allow for much angling of the iPad. This can be improved somewhat by using the base without the silicon insert, but this method can scratch the iPad—you should only try it when your iPad is protected by a case! BookArc's alloy base matches the iPad's body, making the stand look like a natural extension of the iPad itself.
Like BookArc, GroovyStand is a base with a slot that holds the iPad. However, the small wooden block with a notch cut in it is a more basic and less expensive solution. Like some of the other stands, it doesn't do a great job of supporting an iPad sheathed in a case, but it works adequately as a simple stand.
In addition to the Writer, GroovyStand comes in Groovy Round, Groovy Square, and Groovy Dual models. The Writer and the Dual models have the largest base (5.5 x 4.75 inches) and are the most stable, but none of the GroovyStand models provide back support for the iPad. Still, if you don't mind a rustic, minimalist design, this is the most economical stand in this round-up.