I think it’s the geek in me that wants to improve, customize and accessorize my favorite gadgets. Having finally purchased an iPhone 4S, I found myself trawling the internet for the weird, wonderful and sometimes useful iPhone accessories.
Some of these solve problems that Apple hasn’t yet attended to itself, while others extend the functionality of the phone to make the most of its computing power. To save you from repeating the time consuming search, here are my top five iPhone peripheral fixes:
New Trent iDual-Port Pack ($38.00 on Amazon): Of course one of the biggest gripes with the iPhone (and most smartphone devices) is the short battery life. High performance and reduced form factor mean that there is only so much juice that they can fit into the diminutive hardware.
While I’m happy with charging my iPhone daily, I’ve found that having an external battery has been a godsend on business trips.
Of the various batteries I’ve tried, the New Trent charger has performed the best. Not only does it extend the iPhone’s battery life, but it also means that I can stop micromanaging the Wi-Fi, 3G and brightness to trying and eke out a few more minutes. I actually have a couple of these now so I can keep them charged at all times.
Otterbox APL2 Defender($32.00 Amazon): The other aspect of my iPhone I wanted to improve upon was durability. Day to day use of the phone at home and work are a pretty tough test. My previous phones have suffered a variety of different “injuries” from drops, scratches and even the odd unplanned submersion. The Otterbox is the best case I’ve come across to help with my fumbling fingers.
It offers excellent protection not only to the body of the phone, but also the screen and various inputs. I like that the case covers the headphone jack when not in use as well as the other buttons. It also provides a clear membrane for the touch screen that was easy to fit.
But more than these practical concerns it’s the fact that it looks good (my choice with the gunmetal grey) that made me opt for this case.
Apple Digital AV Adapter ($29.99 Amazon): Having tried a variety of AV adapters for the iPhone/iPad I had to admit that the official one from Apple was the best for the job. Not only did it turn my diminutive phone into a HD source for various streaming services, but it also enabled me to keep it charging while it did it.
I love being able to access a variety of online content via the apps on my iPhone. I’ve also found that some of these offer more content and functionality than on other devices (the PS3′s 4OD services for instance).
The Apple adapter has a pass through connector that means you can still connect it to your computer, or charge via the mains, while it outputs the HDMI signal. Simple and effective.
Wilson Signal Booster ($78.98 Amazon): Although my reception has been better with the iPhone 4S (compared to my old iPhone 4), I still find myself dropping calls when on the go. This seems to be worse when I’m in the car using my hands-free kit. It stands to reason that trying to use a phone from a moving metal box isn’t the ideal way to get the best performance.
The Wilson Signal Booster is a car cradle kit that boosts the signal of your mobile phone. You mount it on your dash and it magically enhances both outbound and inbound signal. Getting the external antenna fitted was a slight fiddle, but having done that it was all very straight forward. I’m still giving this a proper test, but I’ve initially been very impressed.
Jawbone Jam Box BlueTooth Speaker ($175 Amazon): The final accessory is the biggest indulgence. It’s a Bluetooth speaker that costs a little more than other on the market, but works so well that I thought the extra investment was worth it. Firstly it functions as a speaker for playing music and watching films — and sounds much better than its small size would suggest — particularly impressive bass.
I also use this for conference calls when at work and as a wired speaker for my iMac for listening to music when no one else is in the office.
It charges via a USB cable and runs for around 10 hours on one charge. The most innovative aspect is the series of apps that can be downloaded for it via Jawbone’s MyTalk portal. These extend the functionality of the speaker in new ways. I’ve been trying the Thoughts apps which offers a fresh take on how we send and receive messages on the iPhone.
Together these peripherals have turned my little iPhone into a device which could pretty much run my business single handed. But let me know what I’ve missed!
[Header image from flickr/bluespark.]