So what accessories should you have? There is a dizzying array of them out there. What I’ve listed below are either accessories I’ve used myself, have seen in use, or appear to fill a gap in my experience. I have no arrangement with the manufacturers or resellers of these products.
There has been a long-ongoing debate regarding the usefulness of a stylus with a tablet. Apple, for many years, insisted that a tablet should never be used with a stylus- until they completely reversed their position and came out with their own.
There are two types of stylus- powered and unpowered. Powered stylii (styluses?) connect to your tablet over Bluetooth to enable a function called ‘palm rejection’. This simply means that if you rest your hand on the tablet to write (just as you would on a piece of paper) that the tablet does not accept your hand resting on it as a second touch point (aka multi-touch).
When writing with an unpowered stylus, you either need to ‘float’ your hand over the tablet, or rest it off to the side (and write only on the edges of the glass).
Apple Pencil and clones have perfected palm rejection, and the writing experience is very normal. Unfortunately, this technology is only available on iPad.
Before the advent of the Apple Pencil, I used both powered and unpowered stylii from Adonit and Bamboo.
A clip is used to hold the tablet onto a microphone stand, so that you can easily read it without holding it in your hands (which are probably busy playing an instrument…)
- I currently use the K&M 19790, which will adjust to almost any size (up to the massive 12.9″ iPad Pro. K&M 19793 is the same clip with a bundled microphone stand (see below for the stand specifications). K&M 19791 is the same clip with an arm to attach to any microphone stand, allowing you to have your tablet and a microphone in the same place.
- AirTurn Manos: I have seen several people using this stand, and it appears to be very stable and easy to pack away
If you have a clip, you also need a stand to put it on.
- K&M 259 (2.5kg; 43-140cm) (5.5lbs; 1.4 – 4.6 feet) Heaviest of the options here, but useful as the only stand with a boom (so you can have the tablet relatively close, but not hit it with your guitar).
- K&M 19793 (1.52kg; 70-155cm) (3.35lbs; 2.3 – 5 feet) As mentioned above, this is a stand/clip combination, and popular in choirs in Europe.
- AirTurn goSTAND (1.25kg; 45-147cm) (2.76lbs; 1.5 – 4.8 feet) I find this one intriguing, simply due to how small it folds, and how light it is.
Note: K&M and AirTurn use different screw threads on their products. While these are standard connectors, if you choose to mix between these two manufacturers you will also need an adapter to attach the clip directly to the stand (such as K&M 216 or K&M 217).
A pedal allows you to turn pages, or start/stop scrolling without having to touch the screen of the tablet.
- AirTurn PEDpro This is the pedal I use. It’s incredibly small and light. It is a bit finicky to get it to connect to the tablet the first time, and since some controls depend on how long you hold a button, it can take a couple of tries to turn on. Runs on a rechargeable battery.
- PageFlip Butterfly I’ve seen this pedal in use, and it appears to be completely stable and easy to connect. It isn’t as compact as the PEDpro; but it runs on AA batteries (so, you can own it effectively forever).
If you are going to type a lot on your tablet, a keyboard is a necessity. Any Bluetooth keyboard should connect to any tablet- so just choose the wireless keyboard you like the best. I use an Apple Wireless Keyboard (A1314) that I bought in 2012.