This season, Apple’s iPhone and iPod touch will again be two of the hottest holiday gifts around. But what to give someone who already has an iPhone?
No problem! The iPhone’s myriad uses — and powerful software and hardware platforms — mean there are hundreds of potential accessories you could give as gifts.
For instance, TomTom’s GPS dock turns an iPhone into an in-car navigation unit. The $100 dock sticks onto a car’s windshield, and includes a built-in phone charging station, enhanced GPS, and can hook into a car’s stereo system.
Photo filters are another fun gift category. These range from the cheap and funky — jelly filters that distort your shots — to a kit that turns an iPhone 3GS into a souped up movie-shooting machine, complete with mic and lens.
And because of the iPhone’s notorious short battery life — and its owners’ tendency to regularly use it past the “20%” warning — we expect iPhone power extenders to be among the most popular gifts this holiday season. They range from slim accessories that latch on via the iPhone’s dock connector to hard cases with built-in batteries and charging sytems.
What it is: For the wannabe Wes Anderson in the family, 'OWLE (Optical Widget for Life Enhancement) Bubo is a camera mount; stabilizer, repositioned microphone, and 37 mm wide-angle lens built for the iPhone 3GS that improves the quality of mobile video.'
Price: 3 for $15.00
What it is: The iPhone camera might not have the greatest resolution in the world, but with these phone filters, you can take pictures that will at least stand out. The kit comes with three filters, for three different effects like the one shown here. Obviously not something you'd use for most of your pictures, but it's fun, and the price is right.
What it is: One of several iPhone batteries sold by RichardSolo, the 1800 has enough power to fully recharge a dead phone with extra juice to spare. The battery is shaped like a smaller iPhone, which is perhaps convenient for carrying the two together when you aren't charging. When the two are connected, however, the resulting object is long and awkward. If that's a problem, read on.
What it is: The Juice Pack provides all the battery power of the RichardSolo in the convenient form of a hard case. The added convenience costs more, of course, but instead of carrying an extra object around, you're basically doubling the battery life of your iPhone (and its thickness). A cheaper model with less capacity is also available.
What it is: Apple's standard earbuds are adequate, but anyone who listens to a serious amount of music will want something better. These Klipsch earbuds have good reviews and a built-in mic for phone calls, too.
Prefer cans? Check out these $270 Monster Beats studio headphones by Dr. Dre.
What it is: The day when every car sold will have a built-in GPS system isn't far off, but for now, Tom Tom's iPhone dock is a good alternative for anyone who doesn't want to shell out for a dedicated device. Your iPhone comes with a GPS, of course, but the signal isn't anything to write home about, and you don't get live turn-by-turn navigation.
Tom Tom sells an app that will take care of the latter, but you may be better off paying for the dock, which has its own built-in GPS chip, charges your iPhone, and can plug into your car's stereo so you can listen to your directions and keep your eyes on the road.
What it is: There are countless audio docks for the iPod and iPhone. Which one is right for you depends on a range of factors: how much you're willing to spend, how portable you need it to be, what sort of music you play most frequently, etc.
For our money, though, there is no beating the iMT800's classic boombox appeal. This is the dock for the 21st century Radio Raheem.
Price: $29, plus special Nike shoes
What it is: With special Nike shoes, an iPhone 3GS, and a special radio transmitter, you can turn your shoes and phone into a workout tool. Track your distance, pace, and how many calories you've burned while running or walking.
What it is: Hard cases are designed to protect your iPhone, of course, but they're also the easiest way to customise it and make it your own. If the message you want to project is 'I am incredibly rich and have lost all sense of the value of money', we recommend this item. The case is gold, and is generously studded with real diamonds.
If you aren't ready to make a five-figure investment in your mobile device just now, Case Mate also sells some cheaper, more traditional hard cases.
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