CES 2011 – Joby Accessories for Apple iPad

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Our CES 2011 coverage continues with a look at two new products from our friends at Joby. You might already be familiar with the company’s GorillaPod product and its various variants. The flexible legs on the tripod allow you to attach your digital camera at just about any angle, providing for some very interesting shots.

Moving just a little bit away from the world of creative digital photography, Joby was showcasing at least two new products that focus more on the Apple iPad. This only makes sense, given the rising popularity of Cupertino’s tablet and I imagine Joby will continue to pursue this path with more iPad products in the future. So, what did they have? Let’s have a look.

Joby GorillaMobile Yogi for iPad

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The first product is the GorillaMobile Yogi. It is named as such, because it can provide for nearly limitless possibilities thanks to its pair of signature Joby flexible legs. It’s like going to yoga class with your iPad. I can say for certain that the Yogi is a heck of a lot more flexible and limber than I’ll ever be.

Combining two signature flexible legs with a protective iPad case, the GorillaMobile Yogi is designed to suit a variety of situations. You can bend the legs so your iPad hangs over a ledge. You can flex them so that you get a video viewing angle on a table. You can even get them to wrap around a thigh for handsfree video-watching while waiting at the airport.

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Not surprisingly, the two legs are quite a bit more robust than what you’d get from the decidedly smaller GorillaPod line for compact digital cameras. The iPad is quite a bit bigger than your Samsung point-and-shoot, after all.

One of hte other key features on the GorillaMobile Yogi is that the included case allows you to attach the bendable legs in either landscape or portrait orientation. The legs easily “click” into the provided slots, just like how the tripod mount “clicks” into the GorillaPod.

Joby GorillaMobile Ori for iPad

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When you look at most of the products from the Joby collection, you’ll find that just about all of them make use of the characteristic flexible leg joints. That’s not the case (no pun intended) with the GorillaMobile Ori for iPad.

Instead, it looks more like an aluminum notebook cooling stand. The idea behind the Ori is that it can serve two main functions: First, it can be a protective case for when you are taking your iPad on the go. Second, it functions as a stand for the iPad when you’re staying in one place for more than a few minutes at a time.

Rather than using single sheets of aluminium, Joby engineered the GorillaMobile Ori with an “aluminum composite found in high performance cars.” It looks like two sheets of aluminium with an extra layer of supporting material, similar to a plastic, in between the two sheets. This allows the Ori to be light yet strong.

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When used as an iPad stand, the GorillaMobile Ori can switch between three different configurations, all without removing the iPad from the case at any point. These provide for three different ergonomic angles, ranging from a shallower angle for ease of typing to a completely elevated stand for handsfree video watching.

At the highest setting, the iPad is supported by a pair of notebook hinges. Some people may worry about the robustness of these hinges compared to a more “supported” stand configuration, but based on my few minutes with the Ori, I’d say it feels pretty good. At this highest level, you can also rotate between landscape and portrait mode on your iPad at will.

Beyond Flexible Leg Joints

They say that if you don’t adapt to the market, you’re going to fall behind and get forgotten. In some ways, you could say that the GorillaMobile Ori is diluting the Joby brand, but in other ways, you could just say that they are diversifying and addressing some emerging needs in the marketplace. In this way, I think that Joby is doing a great job with both the Ori and the Yogi. Now that they’ve expanded beyond the flexible legs, it’ll be interesting to see what else they come up with in the future.

Be sure to check out our other CES 2011 articles, including fun video game accessories and products that offer three times the fun for the price of one.

About

Michael Kwan is a freelance writer who also happens to be a professional gadget geek. From smartphones to digital cameras, he's gotta get 'em all. Follow him on Twitter: @michaelkwan.

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