The good, bad and ugly of iPad docks

IT’S here! It’s here! Let us skip hand-in-hand through fields of rose petals and clouds of pure, distilled happiness, for the latest offering from Apple has finally descended to earth. The number of words scrawled in newspapers and online about the iPad 2, if placed end to end, would recede into infinity, twist back on themselves and poke you in the eye. Frustratingly, it’s as good as the hype. My laptop (my beautiful laptop) lies gathering dust. My mother, a woman so technophobic lift buttons bring her out in a cold sweat, is going to order one (which, at current estimations, should be delivered some time before the four horsemen of the apocalypse ride through the streets of London to herald the end of all civilization). It's just too good to moan about. So on to accessories... Apple has effectively killed off the iPad-case market with its brilliantly innovative magnetic smartcover, strangling at birth its child’s-pencil-case rivals. So, then, to iPad docks.

The i-Station Podium resembles nothing more than a Victorian instrument of medical torture. A bizarre prong-like clamp pokes out of the back, giving you the worrying feeling it should be sterilised before use (in another life it would have been named the gyno-claw). When you clip your iPad into the rotating holster on the front it looks less hideous, although there is still far too much plastic going on for something designed to hold an Apple product. The sound quality is acceptable for something in this price range.

i-STATION BASE • £59.99 • LOGIC3
A second iPad-specific dock, the i-Station Base is far less obtrusive than its larger sibling. While it isn’t going to win any design awards, it’s smart enough in an accidentally-80s-retro way. It shows off the iPad without drawing attention to itself and, unlike the Podium, you wouldn’t be embarrassed to leave it lying beside your bed. Both docks have a handy app that allows you to use them as alarm clocks, which is a nice touch. The sound is tinny but if you just want something to make your iPad louder, you could do worse than this.

It looks like a giant rugby ball from the future, where the game is played by robot super-beings able to lift its gigantic heft. Its USP is that it can wirelessly stream music from your iTunes library or your iPad. The problem is, setting it up is an endless Sisyphean task that will leave you wanting to gouge your eyes out just so you don’t have to look at its big oblong head any more, which is unacceptable for something the same price as a second hand Nissan Micra. But when you finally get there the sound quality and depth is unbeatable.