Twelve South HoverBar Is a Mac Accessory You are Going to Want

GearDiary TwelveSouth HoverBar

Impress friends and office mates with a jaw-dropping, super futuristic, straight out of Hollywood Mac setup. HoverBar hangs iPad 2 beside your Mac, letting you use iPad as a secondary, touchscreen computer. The flexible HoverBar arm positions iPad in a place where you can keep tabs on Twitter, stocks or partake in a FaceTime chat. As a bonus, you can use HoverBar separately to float iPad 2 as a micro workstation, a handy kitchen mount or as a tool that elevates iPad, creating a whole new way to interact with apps.

That’s how Twelve South introduces their new HoverBar accessory. It lets you use your iMac and iPad as a single unit with the iPad “hovering” next to the computer’s screen. Still, “a jaw-dropping, super futuristic, straight out of Hollywood Mac setup” is pretty high praise and one has to ask, “Is it true?”

The simple answer is, “Yup!”

That’s right, Twelve South has done it again. They’ve created the accessory you never knew you wanted but quickly can’t imagine doing without. Let’s take a closer look.

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Twelve South constantly offers some of the nicest packaging I’ve seen. Like Apple (yes I’m comparing them to Apple), they use minimal packaging that presents their products in the very best possible light.

In this case, the HoverBar comes in a heavy-duty box wrapped by a single band of promotional material. That means that, once you’ve opened it up and removed the contents you have a nice box you can reuse. In fact, the company often includes an insert suggesting ways to repurpose the packaging.

Here’s what Twelve South has to say about the product:

iPad becomes wingman for your Mac. HoverBar connects iPad 2 to your Mac, creating a dynamic duo. An awesome, Tony Stark – inspired, desktop workstation with a beautiful Apple display and a killer touchscreen computer hanging by its side. HoverBar presents more ways to use iPad more often. Collaborate on a project with FaceTime, monitor the weather and interact with your favorite apps. HoverBar rescues iPad from the computer bag.

One strong arm. Or two. HoverBar floats iPad 2 next to any iMac or Apple display with an L-shaped stand. The sleek black, flexible arm on HoverBar connects to your Mac using a sturdy, silicone-lined clamp that leaves no trace. HoverBar has enough muscle and reach to position iPad above or beside any size Mac. Flex the bar and tilt iPad in any direction to find your favorite viewing position. What could be better than one iPad hovering above your Mac? Having a second floating beside it.

Floats like a butterfly in the kitchen. HoverBar is a sweet accessory in the kitchen. It connects to a cabinet quickly and easily with a simple clamp. No drilling holes or putting screws into your expensive Cherry cabinets. Pop open your favorite recipe or cooking app, or stream a how-to video while your iPad floats safely above the counter, away from splatters, spills and floury concoctions.

Stand out, stand alone performer. Attach HoverBar to a table to create a mini, minimalistic workstation in a dorm or other small space. The sturdy, two-way clamp positions HoverBar upright so you can stand before it and jam with DJ and music apps, or launch a racing game and use HoverBar as a fixed steering wheel. HoverBar is useful in so many ways, we can’t wait to see how it fits into your world.

Elevates your Mac to a multi-computer. Why wait for your favorite apps to come to your Mac? Use HoverBar to bring apps to your Mac. With HoverBar floating iPad next to your Mac, you can stream Pandora from their super cool iPad app, while you tackle an iMovie project on 27-inch, wide-screen iMac. While your Mac is running a Keynote show, your iPad 2 can be powering your go-to smaller screen apps

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Once you take off the lid you’re presented with some paperwork and a glimpse of the accessory. But just a glimpse.

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Here’s what’s in the package:

iPad display clip with collar
Two-way mounting clamp
HoverBar arm
Allen wrench
Silicone Pad
Cable manager clips

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The “iPad display clip with collar” has a long name but is actually quite simple. The bottom of the triangle holds the corners of the iPad while the top is a latch that clicks over the iPad or, by pulling back on the tab, releases it. I was able to use the holder with an iPad that has both a screen protector and a back protective film. I didn’t expect that would be the case and am happy it is.

The “iPad display clip with collar” (seriously, try saying that five times quickly) does introduce the one major criticism I have of this product. At this point in the iPad 2’s product cycle an expensive accessory that is specific to this generation iPad is a questionable move. Sure, there are a tremendous number of iPad 2s in use and will be for some time but if the new iPad has a different shape, for instance if it is significantly thicker, this accessory won’t work for someone who upgrades. Ouch! Here’s hoping that is not the case.

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As you can see in this image, once the iPad is in the “iPad display clip with collar” it is held quite securely.

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Here’s another view of it. If you look in the lower left hand side you’ll see that the 2 bottom pieces of the triangle basically cut around the iPad and hold it securely. There is no way the device is slipping out by accident.

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To set up the HoverBar you first attach the arm to the “iPad display clip with collar”. The connection point is a rotating ball (the “collar”) that allows you to have different viewing angles once the iPad is in place.

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Two-way mounting clamp is made from heavy metal and it is quite solid. It had better be since this is what is holding my $830 iPad in the air and connected to an iMac. That’s the reason for the hex wrench. When you tighten the grip around the iMac stand you want it to be incredibly tight and finger tight just isn’t going to cut it.

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The arm screws into the black piece on the mounting clamp which, once again, creates a solid connection.


You then take the two-way mounting clam and connect it to the iMac or Cinema display stand. Locking down as tightly as possible you create a strong connection between the two which, in turn, lets the iPad “hover”. You can, by the way, mount the HoverBar on things other than the iMac stand thanks to the wide opening that can be created when the grip-bar it pulled all the way back.

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From there you can put in the iPad and, like magic, it’s floating in front of you.

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Today was the 1st day that I had a chance to use the HoverBar in any serious way. I’ve been working on the website and some other side projects on the 27″ iMac that came the other day and was able to position the iPad so that I could have my e-mail on it or, at times, had a video running. This left me able to use the entire display of the 27″ iMac for the serious stuff I was doing.

The HoverBar is the type of product that I wouldn’t have imagined wanting had it not come from Twelve South. I’m serious about this- the company doesn’t make a lot of products, but the ones they do make are always useful. I mean, the PlugBug is pure genius. That noted, I trust that when the company comes out with something it will enhance the experience of using my devices in some way. And had they not been kind enough to send a review sample I would have ordered one immediately.

Now that I’ve spent a good few hours using it I really can’t imagine not having it available on the iMac. With it I can run iOS apps right next to my iMac at eye level or, if I want, I can use one of the many display apps to turned the iPad into an additional screen for the iMac itself. I’m tempted to buy one or two more to put in other locations but I do think I will wait to see if the iPad 3 is compatible.

Yes, at $79.99 the HoverBar is not inexpensive but it is a high-quality accessory that will last a good long time, is constructed in a manner that you will feel secure in knowing your iPad is safe as it floats in the air, and provides an incredible boost to productivity by giving you eye-level apps or additional screen space. It certainly isn’t for everyone but if you spend a lot of time working on your iMac and would like the ease of having your iPad right next to it at eye level it’s fantastic. I love it.

Details and ordering can be found here.

MSRP: $79.99

What I Like: Love the secure way it holds the iPad; Flexibility as to where to use it and how you locate the iPad; Really cool to see people’s face when they first see the iPad floating

What Needs Improvement: I’m considered my the rumors the iPad 3 will be thicker and might not be compatible


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About the Author

Dan Cohen
Having a father who was heavily involved in early laser and fiber-optical research, Dan grew up surrounded by technology and gadgets. Dan’s father brought home one of the very first video games when he was young and Dan remembers seeing a “pre-release” touchtone phone. (When he asked his father what the “#” and “*” buttons were his dad said, “Some day, far in the future, we’ll have some use for them.”) Technology seemed to be in Dan’s blood but at some point he took a different path and ended up in the clergy. His passion for technology and gadgets never left him. Dan is married to Raina Goldberg who is also an avid user of Apple products. They live in New Jersey with their golden doodle Nava.