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Laptops, Desktops, and Supertablets, oh my! The Future of Tablets

Remember how back in the day when a tablet was just an oversized iPod? Us too. 


And we’re glad those are the old days, because tablet tech has advanced so fast in the last decade that it would be a shame not to recognize the tablet for what it is: hyper-mobile touch screen modern life.


Tablet tech has headed in three fun directions. We want to celebrate each of those today - The Laptop Tablet, The Desktop Tablet, and the Supertablet. And of course, you could always just use the iPad all by itself, if that’s your thing. 


Disclaimer: Fledging isn’t affiliated with, or earning any commission from, Apple or Kensington. We just love great products. And of course, we invented Hubble for iPad.

(From left): Apple Magic Keyboard, Kensington StudioDock, Hubble for iPad
(From left): Apple Magic Keyboard, Kensington StudioDock, Hubble for iPad

 

The Laptop Tablet: Think “iPad Pro with Magic Keyboard”. This creates a laptop-like portable experience that, frankly, is a ton of fun. 

The Desktop Tablet: Think “Kensington StudioDock”. This creates a true desktop experience complete with a monitor stand and base, built for the person who owns everything Apple makes. Let’s be honest - it’s super cool. 

The Supertablet: Think “Hubble for iPad”. This creates the truest tablet experience on the market by integrating a high-power USB-C hub directly into a solid aluminum case that looks and feels just like your iPad. We might be biased, but we think it’s cool. And a lot of people agree.


Let’s take a look at each approach. We’ll discuss the specs and features, the price points, the use cases, and the downsides. Each approach offers something special for a different way of using your iPad.



Meet the the Laptop Tablet: iPad Pro with Magic Keyboard

No introduction needed. It’s cool, it’s sleek, and it couldn’t be better built for the iPad. There’s a lot to love.


The Magic Keyboard creates the most laptop-like iPad experience on the market. It will be friendly and familiar to folks who want a hyper-mobile laptop with touchscreen flexibility. With up to 1TB internal storage, an incredible camera, and the A12Z bionic chip, you’ll hardly notice that your iPad isn’t a laptop. Or if you’re like us, you might even prefer it this way. 


Apple Magic Keyboard with iPad Pro

Apple Magic Keyboard with iPad Pro (Credit: Apple)

 


Compatibility:

  • iPad Pro 11” - 1st or 2nd Gen - 2018 to 2020 - USB-C
  • iPad Pro 12.9” - 3rd or 4th Gen - 2018 to 2020 - USB-C
  • iPad Air 10.9” - 4th Gen - 2020 - USB-C
  • All models must run iPadOS 13.4 or later

Features:

  • The case connects with a worry-free magnet
  • The keyboard connects automatically
  • The touchpad works as well as a MacBook’s and the swipe commands are familiar
  • The keyboard is backlit 
  • The USB-C port offers pass-through charging
  • The entire case folds up to protect your $1,000 investment
  • The Apple Pencil is fully supported
  • The case protects your iPad well when not in use

Prices:

  • 11” for iPad Pro 11” and iPad Air 10.9” - $299 at Apple and Amazon
  • 12.9” for iPad Pro 12.9” - $349 at Apple and Amazon

The downsides:

  • We hope you like a black case, because that’s all there is
  • The case hides the iPad’s beautiful design. No one buys a space gray iPad Pro or sky blue iPad Air so that they can hide it in the case
  • The angled support is limited, forcing you to use the iPad screen at very specific angles
  • The keyboard is cramped, though it’s well designed for the limitations
  • The price point is high - you already spent $600 - $750 on an iPad Air or $800 -$1300 on an iPad Pro. Spending another $300 - $350 for the Magic Keyboard really hurts
  • It can be a little top heavy, which is fine iif you’re using the keyboard, but riskier if you want to also use the touchscreen

 

Who doesn't love low-profile hardware? (Credit: Apple)

Who doesn't love low-profile hardware? (Credit: Apple)

The rundown:

The Magic Keyboard offers the closest experience you can have to a MacBook Air, without actually buying a MacBook Air. You’ll spend another 33-50% of what you spent on your iPad, and there are some limits, but everything works to the magical Apple standard. If you’re looking for a Laptop Tablet, the Apple Magic Keyboard for iPad is a sure thing. 


Would we buy it? We have! And we love it. It’s the best in class for the Laptop experience. 



Meet the Desktop Tablet: Kensington StudioDock

New at CES 2021, the StudioDock is a wonderful bit of design that almost stole the show. With an ultra-low profile, all the connections you expect from a computer, Apple ecosystem wireless charging, and a handsome and fluid docking station, you’ll love hosting a StudioDock on your desk. 


The StudioDock looks like you couldn’t ask for anything else to recreate that desktop experience with an iPad. The functionality is familiar to anyone who owns Apple products. And docking your iPad is magnetically effortless. Just connect automatically and plug right into your entire desktop configuration. Pop the iPad out when it’s time to go without worrying about plugs. We see StudioDock as both a great desktop device and also a complimentary device to your main device.


The only downsides are that the StudioDock isn’t on the market just yet, and we don’t know if it’s a great price or an Apple price (AKA, a car payment). But we love everything about it. It will certainly be best in class for the Desktop Tablet market. 


 

Handsome on any desktop (Credit: Kensington)

Handsome on any desktop (Credit: Kensington)

Compatibility:

  • iPad Pro 11” - 1st or 2nd Gen - 2018 to 2020 - USB-C
  • iPad Pro 12.9” - 3rd or 4th Gen - 2018 to 2020 - USB-C
  • iPad Air 10.9” - 4th Gen - 2020 - USB-C

Features:

  • 37.5W iPad charging (20% faster than Apple)
  • Wireless charging for AirPods, iPhones, and Apple Watches
  • Supports both Portrait and Landscape mode
  • SD card support
  • 3.5mm headphone jack
  • 3 x USB-A/USB-3.1
  • 1 x USB-C
  • HDMI
  • Gigabit ethernet

Prices:

  • Unknown - StudioDock has not released their pricing yet and StudioDock is not available for pre-order

The downsides:

  • Not a lot, and trust us, we’ve looked. Everything in the promotional materials looks like exactly the right desktop product.
  • Limited color options - Just the silver color is available, but you bought that beautiful Space Gray iPad, didn’t you?
  • Total immobility - It’s a desktop solution, so it’s not moving. But you can easily disconnect your iPad and go. 
  • Accessories required - It’s a desktop, so you’ll need a keyboard, mouse, and the other tools you want for such a configuration.

 

Whoa, that's a lot of Apple products wirelessly charging all at once (Credit: Kensington)

Whoa, that's a lot of Apple products wirelessly charging all at once (Credit: Kensington)

 

The rundown:

From everything we see, StudioDock could become a legitimate replacement for a laptop or desktop. Wirelessly charge everything Apple that you own. Connect all your desktop accessories. Disconnect on the fly and reclaim your tablet. The only unknown is the price point. 


Would we buy it? Absolutely! We’re signed up for the minute it’s available. 




The Supertablet: Hubble for iPad

Chances are, you haven’t heard of a supertablet before. That’s because we’re inventing the segment. The iPad is an amazing device, but it’s still a giant, expensive, fragile glass screen that has only ever had one port. Remember thinking it was an oversized iPod? We do, too. 


Adapters, dongles, and hubs have tried… and tried… and tried to solve this problem. There are lots of great devices out there. But every option requires you to carry extra hardware that you plug into that single, fragile connection and leave hanging off your iPad for easy breaking. And they drain your iPad battery even when not in use. We all know the iPad doesn’t exactly charge fast. Not cool. 


And then there are cases. So many cases. None of which looks or feel like your iPad, or offer especially good protection against catastrophic bending.


Why not marry the two? That’s what Hubble does. The USB-C hub offers every bit of connectivity you want and more. The aluminum case protects against drops, bends, and break. By integrating the hub into the case, we have eliminated all the “wiggle” at the iPad’s USB-C connection point. This means your iPad will live a lot longer without expensive repairs. It also means that Hubble and your iPad become a single, solid-body, high-functionality, handsome... supertablet. See our point?

Meet Hubble for iPad - and every connection you could want (Credit: Fledging - that's us!)

Meet Hubble for iPad - and every connection you could want (Credit: Fledging - that's us!)

 

 

Compatibility:

  • iPad Pro 11” - 1st or 2nd Gen - 2018 to 2020 - USB-C
  • iPad Pro 12.9” - 3rd or 4th Gen - 2018 to 2020 - USB-C
  • iPad Air 10.9” - 4th Gen - 2020 - USB-C

Features:

  • 30W USB-C charging
  • SD card support
  • microSD card support
  • 3.5mm headphone jack
  • 1 x USB-A/USB 3.1
  • 1 x USB-C data
  • 4K 60 Hz HDMI
  • Travel switch for saving power between uses
  • Magnetic folding cover
  • Apple Pencil support
  • Silver and Space Gray to match your iPad
  • Full keyboard support for Bluetooth and pluggable keyboards
  • Limited support for magnetic keyboards, specific to the keyboard model
  • Minimal profile - Hubble adds about an inch in length and 1/8th inch in height

Prices:

  • iPad Pro 11” and iPad Air 10.9” : $100
  • iPad Pro 12.9” : $110

The downsides: We know, we know - We built Hubble, so what would we say bad about it? We promise to be honest.

  • It’s hard to disconnect your iPad from Hubble - The product is built to stay connected. It’s not a casual accessory
  • Color matching - While we support Silver and Space Gray, we don’t support the iPad Air’s other colors
  • Magic Keyboard support - Hubble doesn’t play well with the Magic Keyboard’s magnets
  • Power drain - While we’re the first to introduce an on/off switch, Hubble will still drain 1.4% per hour if the switch is ON and 0.7% per hour if the switch is OFF

It's hard to be lower profile than Hubble, while bringing this much freedom and protection (Credit: Fledging - that's us!)

It's hard to be lower profile than Hubble, while bringing this much freedom and protection (Credit: Fledging - that's us!)

 

The rundown:

Stop giving laptops a run for their money - leave them behind with this supertablet accessory. Connect to anything without sacrificing portability. Have peace of mind that your iPad is as safe as it can be. Enjoy it all at a great price point. Call us biased, but we only make products that innovate what people love. 


Would we buy it? We’d buy thousands! (Kidding, that’s for fulfilling orders). Our team and hundreds of customers are already using Hubble daily. The Wall Street Journal thought Hubble was worthy of its "Best of CES 2021" roundup, too.

 

The future of tablets

Personal computing is changing, fast. Lots of people don’t even own or use a desktop. Laptops are popular and fairly mobile, but truly mobile devices like smartphones and tablets are winning the market. This becomes truer as the performance of these devices matches, or even sometimes exceeds, that of a laptop. 


The tablet is the natural winner. All the benefits of touchscreen smartphones, the portability and processing power of a laptop, and with the right tech all the benefits of a desktop. What’s not to love?


Watch for the market to continue segmenting. Traditional tablets will remain popular (as they should). But increasingly, people will turn to Laptop Tablets like the Apple Magic Keyboard, to Desktop Tablets like the Kensington StudioDock, and to Supertablets like the Fledging Hubble for iPad.


Join the evolution now! Hubble for iPad is for sale today at fledging.net/products/hubble and is selling out faster than we can produce it.


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