MirrorCase and its companion app provide a useful tool for subtle video recording, or surveillance

I first got to preview the MirrorCase at the Consumer Electronics Show in January, and again at the New York CES Preview a few months ago, but now it's shipping and I've had a chance to use it firsthand.

The MirrorCase lets you lie your iPhone almost flat and point the camera at your object of interest, and record videos or take photographs.

Master your iPhone in one minute a day:

Sign up to iPhone Life's Tip of the Day Newsletter and we'll send you a tip each day to save time and get the most out of your iPhone or iPad.

This is possible thanks to a clever mirror and even more clever free app that records the images negating the reverse effect of the mirror. You can tell the app to save the video in portrait or landscape. There is also the option to display any photo from your library while the video is recording, to hide your intentions.

In a way, the timing is perfect. The hidden camera footage from Mitt Romney's $50,000/plate fundraiser demonstrates the potential use, or abuse, depending on your perspective! I would not want to see these used in a locker room for example.

Since that first preview, Apple has released the iPhone 5, which you might think makes the case obsolete. However, I tried the MirrorCase with my iPhone 5 and it works! You just can't slide the end cap on all the way, but you can use the mirrored camera portion just fine. Or you can repurpose an old iPhone 4 or 4S strictly for use as a hidden nannycam.

An iPad version is in the works. Either solution could also be a nice way to capture college lectures without having to hold your iPhone or iPad the whole time. The MirrorCase is a neat idea, well executed, that, in the right hands, can be quite useful.

Master your iPhone in one minute a day: Sign up here to get our FREE Tip of the Day delivered right to your inbox.

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.