Apple Gives Free Dock to iPad mini Owners…2 Min. Required Labor

Apple provides a free dock to every iPad mini owner, but of course there is a trick. iPad mini users will have to sacrifice their boxes and spend a few minutes to turn their tablet into a very useful stand and charging station.

Apple sells the Smart Cover for iPad Mini for $39, which in our opinion is a bit too much for a piece of polyurethane and some magnets. You can read our full Smart Cover review for iPod mini here. We’ve seen images and demos of dozens of iPad mini cases with built-in feet, but many that we like are yet to ship, which limits the options for iPad Mini owners for now. Unfortunately, Apple does not sell a suitable iPad mini docking station or stand.

But iPad mini owners don’t have to wait to get a very handy stand that can hold their tablet from various angles in both portrait and landscape mode. Instead, all you have to do is break a knife and punch a few notches and two holes in the iPad mini cases. You can see the results in the video below. Works great for charging and using my iPad mini on my desk in portrait mode. I prefer making FaceTime calls and using a few apps in portrait mode, something the Smart Cover was not designed for. I need to cut the notches a little wider for the stand to work properly at angles in landscape mode.

The free docking station can support iPad mini at three angles in portrait mode and two angles in landscape mode. iPad mini users can of course cut more or less notches and use the device at any angle they want. The Lightning cable goes through a hole in the bottom half of the box and the connector protrudes from the front edge. The upper half of the case slides into the notches in the lower half of the case, supporting the iPad mini.

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One nice thing about the iPad mini box stand is that it lifts the bottom of the tablet about 1.5 inches above the user’s desk. This makes it easy to view content and tap the home button.

Of course the iPad mini box docking station isn’t for everyone, and I’m sure it doesn’t meet Apple standards, but it works and it’s free. What more could you want? One thing to consider before hacking your iPad mini box is that it will be impossible to return the device to Apple or other retailers unless they make exceptions to their policy.

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