Friday, July 11, 2008

A few thoughts about the iPhone 3G and iPhone cases

So the new iPhone (the iPhone 3G) launched today. Let me start by saying this. I don't NEED a new iPhone at all. I already have an 8GB 1st generation iPhone that I put to use quite nicely. And, since I already have an iPhone, all I'm really getting by purchasing the new one is faster downloads and GPS. Still, though ... me wanty. I have plans for that extra 8GB I'll have with a 16GB phone.

So I choose to wait out the long lines and hit the Apple store around 2pm. I find out they're out of 16GB black iPhones. So I find myself thinking "I can do white. I have fond memories of owning white iPods and I'm actually sad I can't buy white iPods anymore. A white iPhone will be like a nice little renaissance." So then I gander the white iPhone in person and ... it just looks funny.

I stared at it for 20 minutes and just couldn't do it. So I ended up holding onto my cash and leaving the store with plans of picking up a black 16GB iPhone at a future date.

But before I left the store, another customer had the same dilemma as I did. He wasn't into the white iPhone either, but he was turned quickly when the clerk said "well, if you just get a black case, then you won't even see the white." And that was all it took. He was headed for the register. I could tell from his reaction that the white-masking case made more sense to him than the sky being blue and Tucson being hot. I mean, the concept of him not getting a case was right out. First comes iPhone, then comes case, then comes a baby in a baby carriage. Bing bang bong.

Here's my question: why?

It seems to me that the main concept of a case is protection. Cell phones are expensive. Cell phones are fragile. Protect your expensive fragile merchandise, right? Well here's the thing. The iPhone cases don't protect the fragile part of the iPhone. By definition, they can't. The iPhone requires you to be able to see and touch the screen. So the cases can't cover that.

And as far as I can tell that's all you'd want to protect. But you can't. Cuz then the iPhone would be worthless. And yet, iPhone cases sell like mad. There are tons of iPhones out there where the hard plastic backing is some kind of great shape. The backs of those iPhone are in mint condition, ya know? The screen might be cracked to all hell, but the back of that iPhone is like new out of the box.

In my opinion, all you're really getting with your iPhone case is a little bit of extra volume added to your iPhone. What was once thin and sleek is now a little bit bigger. And you're still on your own to protect that giant piece of glass.

I've had a case-free iPhone since launch day 1 and I've enjoyed how slim it is all the while. And my jean pocket has done a fine job of protecting my precious screen (I actually have some deep thoughts on this that I'll explain on a later post).

In the meantime, buy your precious worthless iPhone cases, everyone. Keep pumping that shadow economy.

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