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Top accessories for your iPhone and iPad

The "best of the best" accessories that you can buy for your iPhone or iPad.
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1 of 15 Adrian Kingsley-Hughes/ZDNet

The iPhone and iPad are considered by most to be the best devices in their class, but you can dramatically improve upon both of them buying the right accessories. However, given the incredible popularity of these devices, there are an overwhelming number of accessories available for both. Finding the best accessory in a particular category can be very difficult.

Over the course of this gallery, I'm going to work my way through several categories of accessories and highlight "best of the best" that you can buy for your iPhone or iPad.

Related postTop accessories for your iPhone and iPad (gallery)

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2 of 15 Adrian Kingsley-Hughes/ZDNet

iPhone 4/4S Commuter Series Case

If you're not expecting to drop your iPhone down the side of a mountain, or have to fight off a hungry bear with it, then the OtterBox Commuter case will likely offer all the protection your shiny  iDevice needs. It will protect your precious iPhone from drops, bumps and scratches, while still maintaining some of the stylishness that Apple intended it to have.

Note that this case does NOT offer protection from water damage.

Fits both the iPhone 4 and 4S.

Price: $34.95

Image credit: OtterBox

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Incase Sports Armband Deluxe

If you're the sporty type and like to have your iPhone close to hand while you run, jog, cycle, pound the treadmill or whatever else you do to keep yourself in trim, you'll need a case specially designed for your active lifestyle. The Incase Sports Armband Deluxe is just what you are looking for.

Constructed from tough neoprene, the case protects your iPhone while you're working out, yet still allows you to interact with it through the clear front panel.

This is also one of the most comfortable armband cases for the iPhone that I've ever tested. I find that most are either become too sweaty after a short period of time, or cut off the circulation to my arm. I had no such problem with this case.

Note that this case is NOT suitable for swimming!

Fits both the iPhone 4 and 4S.

Price: $44.95

Image credit: Incase

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Griffin Survivor

If you're going to be throwing your iPhone about the place, or fighting hungry bears off with it, you're going to need an case that can keep up with your active lifestyle. One of the toughest cases on the market is the Griffin Survivor.

Tested and certified to meet or exceed US Department of Defense Standard 810F and UK Department of Defense Standard 00-35, the Griffin Survivor case is designed from the inside out to protect your iPhone from a variety of extreme conditions, such as dirt, sand, rain, shock, vibration and a whole host of other environmental factors.

Many would call this case overkill, but if you're going to be subjecting your iPhone to harsh conditions, this case will help make sure your handset lives to fight another day.

Fits both the iPhone 4 and 4S.

Price: $49.99

Image credit: Griffin

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iPad Smart Cover

I remain convinced that for light usage, Apple's Smart Cover is the best, most cleverly designed case you can buy for your iPad. The Smart Cover is a thin, durable cover that cleverly uses magnets to align itself for a perfect fit. It automatically wakes and sleeps your iPad when you lift or close the cover, and it converts into a handy stand for reading, watching videos, and typing. And to top all that off, the microfiber lining keeps your iPad screen clean (except it does have a tendency to leave three greasy lines down the front of the screen that correspond to the folds, but it's still far better than nothing).

However, if you're accident-prone and drop your iPad, you're on your own as this case offers little in the way of impact protection.

Fits both the iPad 2 and 3.

Price: $39.00

Image credit: Apple

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Griffin Survivor for iPad 2 & iPad 3

If, like me, your iPad is regularly pulled from your grip by gravity, you're going to need a case that offers better protection for your investment. One of the most robust cases out there for the iPad is the Griffin Survivor.

Incredibly over-engineered, this case has been tested and certified to meet or exceed US Department of Defense Standard 810F and UK Department of Defense Standard 00-35, and is designed from the inside out to protect your iPad from a variety of extreme conditions, such as dirt, sand, rain, shock, vibration and a whole host of other environmental factors.

Fits both the iPad 2 and 3.

Price: $79.99

Image credit: Griffin

For more keyboards and cases for your iPad, take a look at James Kendrick's "Top keyboard/cases for the iPad 3."

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New Trent iCurve Dual Charger

One of the major drawbacks of relying on portable devices like the iPhone or iPad is that you're totally reliant on the built-in battery. Once that hits empty, you're done for the day. Fortunately, there are portable battery packs that allow you to keep your iPhone and iPad topped up throughout the day so they're always ready for action.

One such portable battery pack is the New Trent iCurve Dual Charger. This offers 7,000 mAh of power and it compatible with both the iPhone 4S and the new iPad 3 (as well as any other device that can be charged from a USB port … as long as you have the appropriate cable). It's fitted with two USB ports so you can charge two devices simultaneously.

Price: $45.95

Image credit: New Trent

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New Trent iCarrier Dual Port Charger

If you want more power than the iCurve Dual Charger offers then you need to take a look at New Trent's iCarrier Dual Port Charger. Here's a battery pack that offers a whopping 11,000 mAh of power, enough power to charge the new iPad 3 from totally flat to 70 percent charge, or fully charge your iPhone 4S a whopping six times!

Despite the huge battery capacity, the device will still fit comfortably into your pocket when you're out and about.

Price: $89.95

Image credit: New Trent

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Griffin PowerJolt Micro

If you spend a lot of time on the road then it's a good idea to have a way to keep your iDevices charged up while you're in your car. The best in-car charger that I've come across for the iPhone and iPad is the Griffin PowerJolt Micro.

This is a tiny device (it looks almost comically small), but don't let the size fool you! It can deliver a massive 10 Watts of power from a 12 Volt vehicle power outlet, enough to charge even the massive battery built into the iPad 3.

This is simply an awesome bit of kit!

Price: $24.99

Image credit: Griffin

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Sony RDP-X500IP

One of the best speaker dock for the iPhone, iPod and the iPad is manufactured by an unlikely company - Sony. The Sony RDP-X500IP is a premium speaker dock that offers booming bass and crisp, clear highs thanks to the built-in subwoofer and groundbreaking damperless speakers.

What's unique about the RDP-X500IP is that the dock is built not only to fit the iPhone of the iPod, but it will also accept the iPad.

It can be a little fiddly to get your iPad into the dock the first few times, but once you get the hang of it, it becomes second nature. Despite my initial concerns that the arrangement would be flimsy, it actually holds your precious iDevice securely.

Price: $299.99

Image credit: Sony

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Bose SoundLink Wireless Mobile Speaker

Sometimes, rather than a stationary speaker dock, you want a speaker that you can take with you when you're out and about. Also, docking your iDevices with a speaker means that you can't use it while you're playing music. A solution to both these problems is to get a portable wireless speaker that allows you to stream music from your iPhone or iPad using Bluetooth.

The Bose SoundLink Wireless Mobile Speaker ticks all the boxes. This is an awesome portable speaker system that offers unparalleled sound quality, superb build quality, and has a built-in rechargeable battery pack that will last a good 8 hours.

Not only will the Bose SoundLink work with your iPhone or iPad, it will also work with any Bluetooth-enabled device, such as a BlackBerry, Android handset, or even a laptop.

Price: $299.95

Image credit: Bose

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Apple Wireless Keyboard

There are literally hundreds of wireless keyboards out there for the iPhone and iPad, but no matter how many I try, I keep coming back to the Apple Wireless Keyboard. It seems to tick all the right boxes for me. It's light, slim, compact, stylish, robust, and very comfortable to use … a feature overlooked on many keyboards.

Also, the two AA batteries last for months, which is a real bonus.

Price: $69.00

Image credit: Apple

For more keyboards and cases for your iPad, take a look at James Kendrick's "Top keyboard/cases for the iPad 3."

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Jawbone Icon HD

The Jawbone Icon HD is the best, clearest, most comfortable, and easiest to use Bluetooth headset I've used.

Call clarity is taken care of by the military-grade NoiseAssassin 2.5 noise-cancellation and wind reduction technology. The built-in 10mm wideband speaker allows you to privately listen to music, podcasts, YouTube videos, sports, phone calls and more, all in full-spectrum, HD-quality sound.

To top all that off, the Jawbone HD supports a whole range of downloadable apps and voices. 

Price: $99

Image credit: Jawbone

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Belkin TuneCast Auto Live

If you're going to carry around your entire music collection with you wherever you go, it makes sense to be able to access that resource when you're on the move. One place where it's great to have access to your tunes is when you're in the car. If your car stereo isn't equipped with Bluetooth, then the easiest way to pipe your tunes from your iPhone to your car stereo is by using an FM transmitter.

By far the best FM transmitter for the iPhone that I've used is the Belkin TuneCast Auto Live. Featuring ClearScan technology, it can scan for the clearest FM frequency for you to use. The optional iPhone app can be used to recommend the best frequencies for you to use as you travel. TuneCast Auto Live is also the only FM transmitter with GPS-assisted frequency scanning, allowing for the best audio quality when you drive.

As an added bonus, this device will keep your iPhone's battery charged up while you use it, so there's no need for a separate car cord.

Price: $69.99

Image credit: Belkin

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iPhone SLR Mount

Without a doubt the craziest photography accessory for your iPhone is the iPhone SLR Mount which allows you to couple a Nikon or Canon SLR lens to your iPhone 4/4S.

This case-adapter combo lets you mount a Canon EOS or Nikon SLR lens to your iPhone, giving you access to powerful photographic techniques such as depth of field and manual focus otherwise not available on the iPhone.

The whole arrangement is quite unwieldy, but it is capable of taking some fantastic photographs. Eat your heart out Instagram users!

The only drawback of this device is price, but if you are the sort of person who has Nikon or Canon glass laying about the place, then you're probably not going to be that shocked by the price tag.

Note that this is only the adaptor and that you don't get a lens thrown in for that price.

Price: $249.00

Image credit: Photojojo

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