CES 2015 Recap: Creative Cases

After a long week at the Consumer Electronics Show, it's time to reflect on what we just experienced. CES isn't really just a show anymore; it's a show of shows, each with its own theme. When I get back each year, my friends and family ask me what was "The Big Thing?" Because the show is so big, I've decided to break down the "theme" into multiple themes. This year, the different "big things" were as follows:

  1. Creative Cases

  2. Stands and Speakers

  3. Selfies 2.0 including “Dronies" & “Petsies"

  4. Home Automation and Security

  5. Smart Watches

  6. The Internet of (Weird) Things

  7. Signs of the Times

In this and upcoming articles, I will focus on each of these themes, but lets start with the obvious one, Creative Cases. At every CES since the iPhone was introduced, there have been tons of vendors showcasing protective and fashionable cases. What interests me are the cases that do something creative, besides protect the iPhone inside. This year we had a plethora of such cases!

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E.K. Ekcessories makes some durable, fashionable cases that attach to a lanyard or keychain. I was able to wear my iPhone around my neck, with my name displayed using my own NameTie virtual nametag app! The $40 EK Stick It is a solid case on its own, but its special feature is the clip that allows it to connect to an EK accessory. That clip also lets the iPhone stand straight up, which could be useful for FaceTime or photography. All of EK's products are made in the USA so that's a nice touch as well.

EK Stick It

 

Typo, Ryan Seacrest's pet project to make touch typing on the iPhone more like using a Blackberry, was back in full force. The $99 Typo 2 improves on the original Typo model for the iPhone 5 and 5s, which wasn't hard, frankly. I was rough when I reviewed the original model, as was Blackberry, who sued them, successfully, for copyright infringement. The new design is more original and a big enough improvement that they earned one of iPhone Life Magazine's Best of Show awards. It's still a bit awkward to use, but for those that insist on mechanical keys, it can be a way to wean oneself away from Blackberry. With iOS 8, Apple allows the use of third-party software keyboards and I've found some of them to be sufficient instead of a mechanical keyboard. To each his own.

Typo 2

 

The most creative case on display was probably the $100 IZZI Remix from IZZI Gadgets. This "triclops" case offers three rotating lenses that offer 2X, 13X, wide angle, polarizing, and fisheye lenses. Similar to the Olloclip, the IZZI lets an iPhone photographer get creative; but in this case, the lenses are always with the iPhone thanks to the rotating mechanism. The case is solidly made, out of aluminum and available in multiple colors. A separate silicone shell is provided to make the iPhone fit snugly and can be used for basic protection when the Remix isn't necessary.

 

Protective and/or fashionable cases are always well represented at CES, but some that stood out include the following: Catalyst is making a name for themselves in waterproof, everyday cases for iPhones and iPads. They had been providing cases to Griffin, but now they are out on their own. The remarkable achievement is their full support for Touch ID in a slim, affordable (around $70) waterproof case. I like that the rear of the Catalyst is clear, so you can see that Apple logo and fancy gold color if that's what you went with! Catalyst also offers waterproof "sleeves" for tablets that can be great for trips to the beach, pool, or just walking in the rain!

Catalyst

 

For a protective case that isn't waterproof but also doesn't add much bulk, consider the UAG (Urban Armor Gear) brand. They combine a hard plastic shell with a honeycomb protective shell and soft rubbery reinforced edges. The effect is an attractive, slim but clearly rugged case that looks right at home in The Expendables or on the runway, and it conforms to MIL STD specs for drop testing.

UAG

 

Finally, when you just want to look good, you need a phone that looks good. You can easily match your outfit with the many options from Recover. They offer beautiful dye-sublimated wood prints (with a protective polycarbonate bumper/shell.) New products coming out this year at LAXGadgets.com include futuristic-looking gold and glittery options that go from daytime to night on the town. The hard part is choosing one case, but at $40 each you don't have to!

GetRecover

LAX Products

 

 

 
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Todd Bernhard's picture

Todd Bernhard is a bestselling (6+ million downloads) award-winning (AARP, About.com, BestAppEver.com, Digital Hollywood, and Verizon) developer and founder of NoTie.NET, an app developer specializing in Talking Ringtone apps including AutoRingtone. And his profile photo is of the last known sighting of Mr. Bernhard wearing a tie, circa 2007!

An iPhone is almost always attached to his hip or in his pocket, but over the years, Mr. Bernhard has owned an Apple Newton, a Motorola Marco, an HP 95LX, a Compaq iPaq, a Palm Treo, and a Nokia e62. In addition to writing for iPhone Life, Mr. Bernhard has written for its sister publications, PocketPC Magazine and The HP Palmtop Paper.