By Todd Bernhard on Tue, 05/10/2011
In Part 1, I wrote about the ActiveSLEEVE, an accessory that lets you wear your iPhone on your arm. It's a great gadget, but what if you want to access the touchscreen while the device is 'at hand'? Or what if it's colder weather and you need a jacket. Enter the WEARCOM SOMA-1 from Alphyn Industries. The SOMA-1 Wearcom pullover is a remarkably well-made jacket that just so happens to have a flip-open velcro covered capacitive-touchscreen-friendly pocket on the forearm. Even if you don't use the gadget pocket, this quality garment could be your everyday jacket. There are grommets and special materials to help avoid perspiration. And the gadget is discreetly designed so it's not like your clothes scream 'I own an iPhone'. The black styling of the 1/4-zip pullover is subtle, save for the embroidered 'WEARCOM' and 'Alphyn' logos accented in orange. And the WEARCOM will keep you warm, I can assure you, thanks to the fleece lining. There are also fleece-lined pockets for your hands as well as a zippered 'kangaroo' pouch up front, so you could store a charger, external battery, or earbuds, etc. You can also run the earbuds from the gadget pocket to your ears thanks to a built-in zippered 'channel!'
Alphyn also makes an iPad-friendly jacket called the PAD-X LEDGE that lets the iPad flip down from the front so you can access it and stow it away as desired.
Because I am an app developer, with an app (AutoVerbal Talking Soundboard PRO) designed for kids with Autism as well as adults who are non-verbal, these jackets make a lot of sense for my users. When they need to communicate, the device needs to be close at hand. And the jacket pocket provides some protection. An external speaker could be routed the way the earbuds are, providing a nice solution.
What I like most about the Wearcom pullover is that it is first and foremost a quality jacket. They did not start with the idea of a gadget pocket and add a jacket around it. Everything comes together in a well-designed, well-made solution to wear your iPhone on your sleeve, literally! At $185 (sale price, normally $285) it should be high quality, but fortunately, it is.