It’s fair to say almost everyone has bought at least one accessory for their iPhone. My own collection consists of two items, a simple protective case, and protective case with a built in battery. I can’t emphasize how crucial my battery case has been, especially when I hit the 20th hour of a 30 hour on call shift and my iPhone’s native battery is about to die.
The Wall Street Journal recently reported on the development of iPad accessories, and how companies such as Griffin, Gelaskins, Sanho, and others are scrambling to manufacture products as fast as possible. Time is money in the accessory business, and the iPod/iPhone accessory business is big money — totaling 3.7 billion in 2009 alone.
Medical app developers have already mentioned how they will be customizing their products for the iPad. Epocrates and Macpractice are examples of two significant players who have already committed to the iPad platform — and there are more.
With that said, there’s no doubt some health care professionals will be using an iPad, whether for reading medical books or for EMR purposes. So then two key questions come to mind: What accessories do we want to see and whats already out there? The following are 5 key accessories:
The iPad has a capacitive touch screen, similar to the iPhone, requiring the natural conduction ability of your body to register movement. If you have gloves on, your fingers lose their “conductive” ability, and a capacitive touch screen is your worst nightmare — you cant do anything.
To remedy this, a stylus is needed. Luckily, there’s already one available for the iPhone, called the Pogo Sketch. Since the iPhone and iPad both have similar capacitive touch screens, this stylus should work just fine with the iPad. Now if only the rumors of the iPad having a handwriting style keyboard come to be true…
2) Medical Grade Case
If you’re using your iPad with gloves, you better have a medical grade case as well. Many health care IT folk have complained the iPad could pose problems in the medical setting because it’s not “industrial” enough, and could be hard to disinfect. The solution to this is simple, develop a case that solves these issues and make sure it meets the requirements to be used in medicine.
3) Battery Case
One of my favorite iPhone accessories is my battery case(pictured below) that extends my iPhone’s battery by about 50% — helpful on those 30 hour shifts. Why not bring the same type of battery case to the iPad? Proportionally, the iPad is similar to the iPhone’s dimensions, and designing a bigger battery case for the iPad couldn’t be that hard.
The extra portable battery life would be especially key for health care providers who would be using the iPad for patient interactions.
4) External Camera and Video recording adapters
There are plenty of rumors swirling about the iPad and how its been built with the intention of having a camera and video recorder, but until this functionality is tangible, we’re hoping a 3rd party developer can step up to the plate and deliver on the goods. Granted, they’ll need permission from Apple to connect the hardware directly to the iPad — and that’s no easy task.
5) VGA / AV out adapter
It would be great to show patients interesting medical videos you might have on a bigger screen, such as video from the Blausen Human Atlas app. Also, if the #4 feature mentioned above comes to fruition, you could easily show pictures or videos of interesting pathologies on a big screen. Key for grand rounds or any other large gathering.
So there you have it, 5 accessories health care providers who plan to use the iPad in practice are sure to appreciate. I’m sure there are other accessories as well, and if any come to your mind make sure to let the us know in the below comments section.
Update: One of our commenters did an great job of explaining that the iPad will be shipping with the option to have the #5 accessory — awesome. Now if the #4 accessory mentioned, an external camera/video recorder is there, than having VGA/AV capability would be even more useful.