The nice thing about the iPhone 4S having the same form factor as its predecessor is that there are plenty of cases to choose from. If you are upgrading from a Verizon iPhone 4, then your case(s) will fit your new phone. However, if you are upgrading from an AT&T iPhone 4, or from any other phone, you will need to buy a new case.

And now a word of parental advice (from a childless author): Always use protection when talking on your iPhone. The iPhone is made of glass, and replacing it can cost upwards of $800 dollars.

With so many cases out there to choose from, finding the right case can be a little overwhelming. Here are a few of my favorite cases organized by these categories: Nearly Naked, Heavy Duty, and Specialty.

Nearly Naked

The iPhone is such a sexy device that it’s a shame to cover it up. If you like to live on the wild side, if you value style over safety, or if you live in a house made of bubble wrap (that’s the dream), then try one of these revealing cases. They offer basic minimal protection, while still showing off your phone’s curves.

Incase Snap Case


Incase Snap CaseThe Snap Case is a very thin hard-shell that snaps onto your phone. It provides basic protection to the front and sides of the phone while remaining unobtrusive. The case comes in a variety of styles and color choices, including an Andy Warhol collection and an Ace Hotel model. I prefer the transparent model because it shows the look of the iPhone underneath and is barely noticeable. I’ve had two of these cases (danger is my middle name), and both of them have died in the line of duty. While neither case survived my destructive tendencies, my iPhone survived thanks to their sacrifice. This may not be the most durable case, but it seems to protect the phone pretty well.

Apple Bumper


apple-iphone4-bumper-colorsWhen Apple released the iPhone 4, they also came out with a bumper case to go along with it. The case is a plastic band that wraps around the sides of the phone. While the case provides some protection, it leaves the face and the back of the phone exposed. If you want a little extra protection, but don’t want to cover your beautiful new phone, the bumper may be a happy compromise. It’s hard to go wrong with Apple’s sense of style.

Heavy Duty

If you wear a life jacket on boats, if you purchase travel insurance before going on vacation, or if anyone has ever called you butterfingers, then these cases are for you. They may not show-off your iPhone’s slim body, but they will protect it from the speed bumps on the road of life.

OtterBox Reflex Series


OtterReflexOtterBox makes some of the most protective cases in the industry. In past articles, I have referred to OtterBox as the Humvee of case makers. The Reflex case has a hard plastic shell with a silicone band around the back of the phone. The band absorbs the shock of a fall and the hard plastic protects the glass. While most of Otterbox’s cases are a bit too bulky for my taste, the Reflex series is a nice balance of protection and style. Don’t get me wrong, it’s still an OtterBox, but no one will ever wonder if you have a case on or not. At least the phone will still fit in your pocket.

Marware Sportshell Convertible


MarwareSportshellThe SportShell Convertible is a hard shell case, an armband case, a belt case, and a tabletop viewing case. It has an ingenious design that allows you to switch backs to transform it from a regular (and surprisingly sleek) hard shell case, into a versatile clip-on case. I like to listen to music while I work out or go for a run, so this case is perfect for me. If you work out or need to clip your phone to your belt, then this case is a great option.


As the iPhone accessory industry grows, many manufactures are reaching out to new niches. There is a wide range of specialty cases on the market to meet every imaginable iPhone need.



BodyDockBodydock is one of the most innovative cases out there. It uses incredibly strong magnets to clip the case onto any surface, including any article of clothing, your car, or a bag. It also comes with a lanyard for those who prefer to wear their iPhone as bling. The case itself looks like a bomb shelter for your phone. It is very protective but certainly bulky. Fortunately, it doesn’t have to fit in your pocket because it clips on anywhere! The case also has a built-in stand and even comes with a mirror. While a magnetic docking case/phone armor may not be right for everyone, it is certainly an innovative solution.



PongMost cases protect your phone from you; the Pong Case protects you from your phone. There is a growing body of research showing the negative health effects of cell phone use. Cell phones emit damaging radiation when you hold the phone to your ear. Pong research claims that their case reflects 60% of that radiation away from your ear. The hard-shell case looks similar to any other case and is actually surprisingly sleek. While the jury is still out on exactly what the effects of cell phone radiation are, I, for one, would rather not be a test subject. If you are a heavy user, or your children have iPhones, you may want to consider the Pong Case. For long conversations, you may also want to consider using a headset.

Plenty of fish in the sea

These were just a few cases to get you started. I encourage all of you to explore the vast world of iPhone cases. Don’t settle for the first case you see at Wal-Mart. And, if you come across any cases that stand out, please let me know!

These cases will keep your iPhone protected and looking stylish
January-February 2012
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