Ever since I got the iPad mini, I’ve been trying out various solutions to keeping a stylus with my iPad. I used to just attach my Maglus stylus to the Smart Cover magnetically, but that doesn’t work well on the mini. I came up with a solution that I’ve been using since December, but I’ve also occasionally played with ideas for other ways of accomplishing this.
After scrapping a few other prototypes over the last couple of weeks, I finally came up with a solution that I frankly should have thought of sooner, since I have in fact used it before. After testing it out on my prototyping back case (one of the advantages of using cheap but good cases is that you can have one to experiment with), I implemented it in the case I have on my mini, and it works great.
The concept is quite simple: cut a slit in the side of the case, and create attachments that have long plastic pieces that slide into the slit. I cut the slit with a thin Dremel cutting disc, made the edge smoother with a scalpel, and then cut pieces out of a plastic document folder to create the attachments. To make the stylus holder I ended up using, I cut a small piece of elastic band, sowed it together into a loop with a diameter slightly smaller than the stylus, and glued it onto the plastic cutout. It’s important that the plastic piece is thing enough to be able to be inserted between the iPad and case, rigid enough to support the attachment, and not end up scratching the iPad.
The purpose of this is to have a stylus holder that I can quickly attach and detach. This allows me to use it during the day when I’m carrying the iPad and stylus around with me, and still be able to take it off when I come home, without changing the case in any way that matters for using it without the attachment.
This should work fine with a variety of cases for a variety of devices, but will probably work best for hard cases. This trick can be used to attach a variety of accessories, including passive amplifiers (plastic pieces that redirect sound), headphones, styluses, and so on.