Look Ma, No Hands: It’s spiderArm

| Quick Look Review

The spiderArm system for iPad 2 is composed of articulating arms and two base systems that allow users to safely position an iPad 2 anywhere they want so that it remains in place without being held.

The product includes three anodized aluminum arm sections: 

  • baseArm, 45 degree joint 48 cm length (18.75-in)
  • midArm, 46 cm length (18.125-in)
  • shortArm, ball joint connection knob, 21 cm length (8.25-in)
  • plus two each adjustment knobs

Articulating arms

Also included are two base options:

  • A 3-way base that clamps to tables, desks, counter tops, etc.
  • A surface mount 2-way base with 360 ° radial adjustment (screws included).

Base units

and the secureSnap™ case as shown here:

secureSnap case

The MSRP is US$79.99 with free shipping available for the US and Canada.  spiderArm is available through the company website. The product is warrantied for materials and workmanship for 30 days.


Using the product

When I heard about this product, my first thought was reading in bed without holding my iPad 2. Since I frequently read for two or more hours at a time, I had lovely visions of snuggling under my warm electric blanket and just flipping the pages as needed. Those visions certainly proved prophetic. However, I actually get more use than that out of the spiderArm.

There are two base options and three arm options plus the swivel option that attaches to the case. I fastened the surface mount above my headboard and used a long and a short arm to obtain appropriate positioning. That left me with the clamping base and the third arm which I fastened to my desk. I can simply move the case and the iPad 2 from one place to the other as I desire.

About that case. The iPad 2 must be inserted into the case in a specific way and there are instructions attached to the case to that fact. It was very, very hard for me to securely fasten my iPad 2 in the case the first few times I tried. Once it was in place, it was extremely secure, but getting there was tough. Recognize, along with me, that I have no strength in my hands and put that in perspective, but along with the secure placement, there is some strength required to place the iPad 2 in the case.

The other minor difficulty is that there was some movement noted when I touched my iPad 2 to turn pages. The convenience of having my hands free far outweighed this minor issue, but it should be noted.

Do I recommend it?

I do. No more tense shoulder muscles from holding my iPad 2 at reading height for two or more hours at a time. No more balancing it with one hand while I flip a page with the other. I can sit at my desk now and watch ABC’s Castle on my iPad 2 when I need a break and the iPad 2 will be straight up and down, not tilted. 

The construction is sturdy. Care has been taken to protect furniture with padding where needed and the case is constructed in a manner that the Apple Smart Cover fits. 

Product: spiderArm

Company: spiderArm

List Price: US$79.99



Allows users to use iPad 2 without holding it.


Somewhat difficult to insert iPad 2 into case.

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Gravley: No more tense shoulder muscles from holding my iPad 2 at reading height for two or more hours at a time.

I saw something like this device at MacWorld SF a year or so ago, but they wanted a bloody fortune for it. At $79.99, this seems a lot more reasonable.

A lighter device might help alleviate muscle fatigue?like a 7” iPod Touch (or iPad Nano) weighing under 12 ounces!


A lighter device might help alleviate muscle fatigue?like a 7? iPod Touch (or iPad Nano) weighing under 12 ounces!

Not sure if that would help. I get arm fatigue when I’m lying in bed playing video games on my iPod Touch for an extended period of time. IMO the biggest mass is from the arm itself, not the device. A lighter device wouldn’t hurt of course.


I think we need more and varied devices like this. I have a floor stand book holder (converted to tablets) by my bed, and I loooove it. Only it’s big and heavy.



Sorry, but I think these articulating arm things are ugly and clunky.  Would you really screw, or even clamp this to your bedside table?  You’d do it once, then realize what a nuisance it is.  They almost never really hold the object of your attention in place, over the long-haul, at least.  My circle of friends have been trying these type of things out for 30 years or more, and every one of them has ended up in someone’s garage.

Want something to hold your iPad or Macbook steady in bed or on your lap?  Get a small cheap beanbag.  Get two, and you can use the 2nd one for lower back support.


I just got one of these Spiderarms.

It arrived a week or so after ordering—I had tried to get an order status but no one ever answered my customer service inquires until I filed a Paypal dispute (more on that in a bit)—in a cheap box with parts pressed popping through. There was no packing materials whatsoever and no description of the parts, besides the in manual (which didn’t reflect how the materials are packed).

Still, I gave it a shot—I really wanted this doohickey to work. Not just for reading in bed, but it seemed like a great way to type.

I set up the arms first and then put in what I assumed was the special iPad 1 “secureSnap? case” I ordered. It shook heavily but I thought it might just need the weight of the iPad in the case.

Well, putting my iPad in the case damaged the iPad. The “secureSnap? case” pressed the rubber rim protecting the screen from the metal outer rim. I could visibly see it damaging the iPad so I stopped. Sadly, just because I stopped pressing didn’t magically make the rubber rim go back to where it was before I tried out the “secureSnap? case”.

Looking at the case, which is made out of the flimsiest plastic I’ve ever seen (it’s all scratched up from the shipping too), it doesn’t look like it can fit the iPad without doing some kind of damage.

It’s an iPad 1 and the damage is minimal (or so it seems… I mean, Apple put the rubber rim there for a reason right?), but I’ve kept it in pristine condition since I got it. I see in the review you had problems too, maybe the iPad 2 is just more resistant, but I also see you got instructions. I’m not sure I’d call what came with mine (that I purchased) would be called instructions. And the case is in no way labeled (iPad 1, iPad 2, this end up).

The spiderarm has been the worst tech purchase I’ve made since I got one of those stupid spider tripods.


The spiderarm has been the worst tech purchase I?ve made since I got one of those stupid spider tripods.

As Nancy said, “The product is warrantied for materials and workmanship for 30 days.”


As Nancy said, ?The product is warrantied for materials and workmanship for 30 days.?

I’ve been talking to someone at the company for a few days now and haven’t heard anything about a warranty. If I ship it back to China on my own dime I might get a refund. Nothing else.

Certainly no repairs of my damaged iPad.


..haven?t heard anything about a warranty.

Warranty info is here:  http://www.spiderarm.com/faq/
And there’s a User’s Guide here: http://www.spiderarm.com/user-guide/


Warranty info is here:? http://www.spiderarm.com/faq/
And there?s a User?s Guide here: http://www.spiderarm.com/user-guide/

Thanks for the links, not sure what I need them for. I’ll repeat exactly what I said before—the company representative I am talking to has said nothing to me about any warranty availability for the issues I’ve experienced


Did you ask about the warranty?

The links were in my post to show you
a) that there is in fact a 30 day warranty for materials and workmanship and
b) to show that a parts list and assembly instructions exist on their website, which is much more common these days than printed materials, as they can be updated more quickly as changes occur.

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