6 iPad Gadgets to Help You (And Your iPad) Get Through The Next Disaster

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I have a plan for trouble. When it rears its ugly head again, I’m grabbing my all-hell-has-broken-loose list, dumping the items on the list into my trusty backpack and hauling ass. I figure there’s still the zombie apocalypse and the Mayan whatsit (which may well be the same thing) to worry about, so I might as well be prepared.

I’ve populated the list with things I would need in a disaster scenario: things like a sleeping bag, first-aid kit and rum. Of course, my iPad is also on the list. Oh, I’ll be taking my phone for sure — but the iPad’s large screen will be invaluable in any disaster situation as a navigation tool, for work (yes, even in a zombie apocalypse, blogs must be updated) or just keeping up with current news; mine’s a wifi+cellular, so I suppose wifi-only versions would be somewhat less useful in that last role.

Now, I know what you’re thinking: “A disaster zone, Eli, is no place for an iPad.”  That’s true only if you don’t have the right gear to accompany it. The following list will show you how to turn your iPad from a liability into an asset when things go very wrong.

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Back To School: Every App & Gadget You Need To Survive College [Buyer’s Superguide]

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Going back to school? Then let us help.

You lucky thing. The summer’s over, or nearly over, and you’re already planning on heading back to school. Just like last year, you will begin this year fresh and full of energy and enthusiasm, only to be ground down by the man. Luckily, we’re here to help with advice on the best apps and gear to get you through the year and into next year’s summer vacation with the least effort possible.

So sit back, relax and take a look at the Cult of Mac back to school/college superguide.

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This Week’s Must-Have iOS Apps: Solar, PIXEL’D, Bokehful & More [Roundup]

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The Logitech K760: Like Apple’s Wireless Keyboard, Only Better

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Isn't she pretty?
Isn't she pretty?

I love my Apple Wireless Keyboard, but I don’t love changing its darn batteries every couple of weeks. But the Logitech K760 Wireless Solar Keyboard could soon be taking its place on my desk. Powered entirely by ambient light (it doesn’t even need batteries as a backup), the K760 will run for three months on a full charge with eight hours of use a day.

It’s ideal for those with Mac and iOS devices, because it allows you to connect to three devices simultaneously and quickly switch between them using the function keys.

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Rukus Solar Bluetooth Speaker Never Needs To Be Plugged In

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The Rukus also comes in black and green, but if you want to leave it in the sun, you should probably pick white

What if I told you that you could buy a Bluetooth speaker than you would never need to charge again? “Charlie!” you would say, “Have you lost your mind? Have you been drinking again?” To which I would answer “No” and “Yes” respectively. Because such a speaker does indeed exist. It’s called the Rukus Solar, and it gets its power from the 620 million metric tons of hydrogen fused each second by the Sun’s nuclear furnace.

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With This Rugged Case, Your iPhone Could Go Camping Alone

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The AQUA TEK S has a face even a mother couldn't love
The AQUA TEK S has a face even a mother couldn't love

Apple’s designs constantly prove that beauty and practicality can exist in the same place, but that’s clearly not the only way to do things. Take a look at the AQUA TEK S, which manages to be possibly the most practical and the most ugly iPhone case ever. It bills itself as “the first ever battery powered, solar charged, rugged under water iPhone 4/4S case on Kickstarter.”

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Joos Orange Portable Solar Charger: What Indiana Jones Would Use To Charge His iPad [Review]

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There’s nothing like wandering through the Outback, camping under the stars…with an iPad: It can help identify the constellation you’re gazing at, let you sneak in a few chapters from your latest read or track your odyssey. That is, if you can keep the thing juiced.

Solar power is the obvious choice, but there aren’t many portable solar panels with the ability to charge the iPad; add the requirement that the panel be truly rugged and your choices become very, very slim. Luckily, the Joos Orange solar panel ($150), the outfit’s first product, may be the only choice you’ll need to consider.

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Take Your MacBook Completely Off-Grid, Says Voltaic

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voltaic mat

Another sign I should move to San Diego: After playing around with their 15-watt solar panel and a 6oWh HyperMac battery, the folks at Voltaic have found the two perfectly compatible — meaning a MacBook can be taken completely off the grid, and theoretically used without ever needing to be plugged in. Voltaic says you should get about 45 minutes of runtime for every hour in the sun for a 13″ MB/P (much less for more power-hungry units). You can even use the HyperMac to power your MB while it’s charging.

The 60Wh HyperMac battery is $170, and Voltaic’s 15-watt solar charger is $200; that’s just under $400 to create a MacBook that’s perfectly happy out in the boonies (as long as the boonies are bathed in lots of sun).

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We’re Amped About These New Charging Bags From Voltaic, Powerbag [CES 2011]

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Jeff Crystal, COO of Voltaic, with their new Spark Solar Tablet Case.

If a bag is on display at CES, chances are excellent it’s got some kind of snazzy tech feature. Newcomer Powerbag caught our eye with its line of four handsome bags that all include batteries for charging iDevices (or other peripherals); Voltaic —  we featured their OffGrid backpack in our Holiday Gift Guide — just launched an iPad case with high-efficiency solar cells slathered all over one side.

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