Regardless of your budget for holiday gift giving this year, you’re really in luck if some of the friends and family members on your shopping list happen to be iPhone users. That’s because there are tons of great accessories out there for Apple‘s smartphone, ranging from practical to fun, and from inexpensive through affordable.
Here are some suggestions to get you started on doing your shopping for iPhone owners. While the products below fall into catch-all categories such as camera accessories, iPhone protection, docks, headsets, and batteries and chargers, each item offers something different. Among the protective iPhone cases alone, for instance, you’ll come across cases with added capabilities around water resistance, multimedia playback, and using an iPhone as a bottle opener (although all of this functionality won’t show up in the same iPhone case!).
Among the docking stations, there are docks that charge up an iPhone with electrical juice, pull dual duty as alarm clocks, and position the phone snugly inside a car for discreet use as a GPS navigation device.
Beyond the gifts to the folks on your shopping list, you’re likely to see something below that you’d be happy to find in a box with your own name on it, whether as a holiday present or whenever your birthday rolls around. Prices run the gamut from around $15 to $130. Read on for all the details.
Kotego Dot Panoramic iPhone 4/4S Add-On
The iPhone’s camera keeps gaining in functionality, due not just to improvements in the camera itself but to a growing number of impressive camera accessories. Take, for example, the new Kotego Dot Panoramic iPhone 4/4S Add-On.
You can now can shoot videos of what’s “all around you,” instead of just what’s directly in front of you. The Katego Dot is a clip-on lens — or as Kotego calls it, a “panoramic viewing accessory” — that lets you shoot 360-degree panoramic video and then share the digital footage via Facebook, Twitter, and Kogeto.com. Along with the hardware add-on, you’ll also need the free Looker app for shooting, tweaking, and uploading your video.
Happily, the Dot doesn’t need any batteries or external power, though. Moreover, its microfiber pouch can also serve as a lens-cleaning cloth.
A naked iPhone is moderately scratchproof and durable. However, additional protection certainly can’t hurt, since iPhones are rather routinely subjected to dirt and weather and the occasional bump or drop.
At minimum, an iPhone needs a “screen protector” — a thin layer of plastic to cover the display. ZAGG‘s invisibleSHIELD screen protector, for example, “has its origins in the military, where it was used to protect high-speed helicopter blades from dust, dirt and debris,” according to ZAGG.
There’s no adhesive involved here, so if you need to remove the invisibleSHIELD, you won’t also need to peel off any gunky residue. As an added plus, the invisbleSHIELD’s finish is designed to prevent interference with screen visibility by reducing fingerprint smudges and breaking up glare.
Otterbox iPhone Case
A good case adds more protection against thumps, just for starters. My own iPhone 4 lives in an OtterBox iPhone 4 Defender Series case. The iPhone buttons, cameras, and touch-screen all work perfectly through the case.
There are flip-up flaps over the headset and dock ports, along with holes for the microphone and speakers. The Defender includes a cover/belt-clip holster, if you want extra carrying convenience.
For even tougher protection, consider LifeProof. The highly ruggedized LifeProof case weighs less than an ounce and adds only one-sixteenth of an inch to the phone’s thickness. Meanwhile, it safeguards your phone not just against dirt, but also against shock, water, and even snow. Supposedly, an iPhone decked out in a LifeProof case will keep working even when submerged in up to 6.6 feet of water.
All iPhone features can still be used while the phone is in the LifeProof case, but you’ll need an optional adapter to use waterproof underwater headphones. The LifeProof’s optical glass lenses are double AR-coated, so as not to stand in the way of photo or video quality.
Some iPhone cases offer more than just protection. If you have a friend or sibling who likes playing music and movies on an iPhone, you should definitely take a look at Zerochroma’s Teatro iPhone case.
The Teatro works as a fold-out adjustable “theater stand” which rotates between landscape and portrait mode, with settings for 14 different angles. Other features include a “sound scoop” for audio enhancement, corner bumpers for drop protection, and “finger dimples” to make it easy to hold for texting. Yet the Teatro can also fold flat, so it doesn’t make your iPhone harder to hold or carry.
Do you know someone who dislikes carrying a bottle opener around? Well, why not get him or her a ThinkGeek iBottleopener – Bottle Opening iPhone Case? As its name makes clear, this iPhone case offers an added capability for opening bottles.
Alternatively, for opening can tabs along with bottles, you can buy the only slightly pricier HeadCase iPhone 4/4S Bottle Opener Phone Case, a product with an MSRP of $24.95. The HeadCase also rolls in a free app which “plays your favorite song or sound and displays a photo when you open a bottle or can.”
Part 2 of this ist of gift suggestions includes several home and car dock options, plus several other accessories for iPhone shoppers.
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