In the Bluetooth round-up of headsets, one of my favorite items was the MoGo Talk for iPhone. That got me thinking about other really cool accessories for the Apple handset (and there sure are a lot). We’ll be reviewing our hearts out with apps and accessories when our latest network site, TodaysiPhone.com, launches. But in the mean time, here are a few iPhone-related picks that would make great last-minute holiday gifts.
Gorillamobile for 3G/3GS
Joby, makers of the Gorillapod for digital cameras, is at it again! The Gorillamobile is a multiply jointed tripod that’s made to work with the iPhone 3G/3GS. It has a low-profile, take-anywhere iPhone case that snap into the stand, so users can set it up on a desk, wrap it around bike handlebars or put it anywhere else they need a steady shot. It also comes with additional fixtures for other devices, including a universal camera adapter (with standard-size threaded screw) and adhesive clips for securing other gadgets. Joby also came out with a free iPhone app called Gorillacam (link opens iTunes), which offers users a timer, a time-lapse feature, and bubble level for snapshots. $39.95. Joby.com
Mophie Juice Pack Air
We all wish our phones had better battery life, so having some portable juice is incredibly handy, especially for power iPhone users. Set in an iPhone case, this accessory keeps extra power in hand at all times. Personally, I loved the original Juice Pack for my old 2G, but it was large and kept charging the phone (signaled by a vibration) whenever the built-in power levels dipped even just a little — which meant it kept shaking in my hand all the time. With the Juice Pack Air, though, Mophie seems to have solved a lot of those issues. The case is slimmer, and there’s an on-off switch for powering up. It also has a pass-through USB, which means users can charge and sync the phone while still in the slide-on case. Although it’s still a little larger than a standard iPhone hardshell, the Juice Pack Air virtually doubles the battery life of a handset between charges, so for a lot of people, the extra bulk will be totally worth it. $79.95. Mophie.com
The highly pocketable iPWR external 1800 mAh Lithium polymer battery is super small and thin — at just a half-inch in thickness and 1.5 oz in weight — and hardly takes up any space. And since it has an on/off switch, it holds a charge really well (which means that it can just stay in a briefcase, suitcase or backpack as emergency power), for as long as weeks or even months. I’ve seen other batteries that look the same — as if they were all made in someone’s low-rent, third-world shack — so I was skeptical of it at first. But after a few months, this is still going strong. Although charging it fully isn’t blazing fast (it takes 2.5 hours), even a few minutes offers enough juice for a quick phone call or text. (Or just use the phone with the battery attached; the device will draw from the battery first.) It’s also compatible with a wide range of devices: 3G/3GS, 1st gen, iPod Touch (1G/2G), iPod nano (3rd, 4th, and 5th gen), iPod with video and the classic iPod. $59.95. iPwr.com
Well okay, this accessory may seem a little goofy to some people, since the whole point of a capacitive display is that a stylus isn't required for it. But even so, others actually like the Pogo a lot. Why? Because users with long nails or big fingers are sometimes challenged using a touchscreen. (And this winter, I am actually finding it especially handy, since I can use this to operate my phone without taking off my gloves!) The electrostatic tip of the Pogo Stylus works really well on iPhone displays, as well as the trackpad on my Macbook Pro (for when I occasionally need a little pen/tablet functionality). Best of all, this really helps when playing games that require more pinpoint accuracy than my nubby little fingers can provide. $14.95. Ten One Design
MyFrogz hard shell case
iPhone cases are one of the biggest sellers during the holidays. But how do you know what color your gift recipient will really love? It’s a challenge that the MyFrogz case (from iFrogz.com) meets head-on, with personalized two-tone (or single color) cases that snap together. If your chosen color combo isn’t a big hit, the loved one can exchange it hassle-free. Better yet, when you purchase the retail box at an AT&T location (which has a purchase code inside), the user can use that code to go online and customize his or her own combination. So you actually have something physical to wrap and hand over, and the loved one is guaranteed to wind up with something he or she likes. (See mine above? Yep, I happen to like PhoneDog green.) And unlike other custom products, these ship the same day as the order, so there’s no excruciating month-long wait to receive the goods. $34.99. iFrogz.com
So that's the short list of my favorite iPhone accessories of the moment. If you like these kinds of items, or are intrigued by stuff like an iPhone attachment for gaming and even a hard case with telescopic photo lens, be sure to stay on the look out for TodaysiPhone.com, which will feature all this and more when it goes live in the coming weeks. (And we just may have a few giveaways up our sleeves too!) In the mean time, if you have a favorite accessory or are eyeing one that you’re curious about, send us a tip! We’ll get you the scoop on what it is, how it works and if it really is hot or not.
You can post suggestions down here in the comments. Or, for a chance to win the green and white MyFrogz item shown above, follow me at @PhonedogAdriana and Tweet your suggestion. (The first Tweet wins — that is, if you don't mind my name on the packaging :-) But the case itself is pristine and ready to hold your 3G/3GS.)
Happy holidays, everyone!
OKAY, MAYBE JUST ONE MORE: Once you start looking at accessories, it's tough to quit! So here's an additional honorable mention: I just recently got a WallDock, and I have to say — it's a pretty handy wall charger in a cute, itty bitty little package. If you have anyone on your list who travels often or just wants an extra charging station in the house, this little $24.99 item will make them happy and won't break your piggy bank. Check it out here.