and iPhone Accessories
Part two of a series showcasing low
cost add-ons for your iPhone
An almost bewildering
variety of accessories are available for Apple's various
iPod portable music players.
It is kindest to comment that some are more useful than
others. Here are four interesting ones we've found.
Part two of a two part series on
iPod and iPhone accessories, part one is here and please
see links on the right for more articles on iPods and other
MP3 type players.
Whether it is something as
mundane as a replacement power supply, or an adapter to play
your iPod through the car radio, or something more imaginative
(for which there is truly no limit) such as the device profiled
below to allow you to enjoy your iPod in the bathroom, you've a
wonderful range of accessory choices for your Apple iPod or
Here are another two add-on accessories are not only
helpful for you, they can be great stocking stuffer type gifts
to present to other people, offering a good solution to the
ever-present problem of 'what do I buy (anyone) for their
Note that the film shield is
available in other shapes and sizes and so can be used with many other
small electronic items too, not just the iPod and iPhone.
Invisible Shield Protective
you've just bought your lovely new iPod or iPhone; you've taken
it lovingly out of its presentation packaging, and you resolve
to keep it in perfect as new condition.
But almost immediately,
you'll be inadvertently scratching the unit, bumping it, and
damaging it in a dozen different superficial ways. Maybe
you don't care about this, or maybe you decide to get some sort
of protective case.
Except that, when you put
your unit into a protective case of any nature, you're greatly
increasing the unit's bulk and detracting from its stand-alone
Enter the Invisible Shield
range of products. These are custom sized and shaped
pieces of super-strong clear adhesive plastic which you can
place over your device - with common choices being to protect
the 'glass' (often plastic) display only, the front only, the
back only (who would want to do that?), or the entire thing.
The illustration above shows
an iPod Nano, but Invisible Shields are available for over 2000
different units, including not only Apple iPods and iPhones but
also most other major personal digital players and phones.
The plastic film is very thin -
0.2mm, which is less than 1/100th of an inch thick. It is
also very strong, and claims to be scratch proof. This is
very different to other types of plastic shield which seem to be
offered on the basis of 'use it until it gets scratched then
replace it' (how else to explain products that are, eg, sold in
packs of three). While having a sacrificial and
replaceable plastic protective shield is good, having a shield
that doesn't get scratched is even better.
The film stretches, unlike
other mylar type films offered by other companies, making it
better able to absorb and resist potential scratching and other
Applying the film to a
device seemed complicated (with detailed instructions listing
six steps in the process) compared to other types of protective
film (which typically come with no instructions at all) but is
actually much easier and much better.
I always have problems
putting sticky sheets of plastic onto something - I get
fingerprints on the film, and I don't get it exactly right, so have to
lift it up and re-affix it, and then end up with air bubbles
trapped underneath. These problems are brilliantly solved
with the Invisible Shield.
The Invisible Shield film
comes with a very clever liquid spray which, when applied to the
film, temporarily annuls its stickiness. So you spray the
film with the liquid, then you can readily place the film
exactly as you want it placed, and even slide it around a bit to
get it exactly right. The spray also stops fingerprints
And, as for the air bubbles,
because the film isn't yet very sticky, it is easy to squeegee
them out. Ah - did someone say squeegee? They even
provide a squeegee with the kit.
I tried covering my iPhone
with an Invisible Shield. The front sheet went on
perfectly, but I had problems getting the back sheet to wrap
around the unit and ended up pulling it off and throwing it
One tip - if there are any
holes to be punched out of the film (for buttons, speakers, etc)
make sure to remove these while the film is still on its backing
paper. It is much easier to do it then than to do it
I played with the unused
sheet of film, and duplicated the picture they show on their
packaging of a ball point pen stretching but not breaking the
film. I also tried to scratch it with no apparent success.
This is really tough film.
Prices for Invisible Shields
range from about $10 - $25, depending on if you just want a
glass shield, a full front shield, or a complete front and back
shield. In cases where you have a choice, my suggestion
would be the full front shield is your best option, and the
entire front and back shield is generally not so good an option
(unless you have more patience than me!). Invisible
Shields can be purchased direct from the manufacturer's website,
which of course has the most complete range of all their
products, or doubtless from various other places too.
Their pricing is in line
with inferior shield products, but the product is vastly
superior. While the other accessories here are optional to
varying degrees, this is one accessory you should consider for
all your small electronic items - PDAs, phones, MP3 players,
computer game devices, GPS units, and who knows what else.
There are over 2000 devices that Invisible Shield now has
protective film for.
for more details.
Mophie Juice Pack Air
This is a must-have
accessory for everyone who has an iPhone 3G or an iPhone 3GS.
As you will surely know if
you have one of these phones already, the Achilles heel of the
phone is its short battery life. Although the battery life is
not a problem when you only use the phone for making and
receiving phone calls, if you are going to start to use some of
the other features of the phone, it's battery life will reduce
dramatically, to the point where it becomes a struggle to go
through a complete working day on a single charge.
Fortunately, there is a
brilliant solution. This is the Mophie Juice Pack Air. This is a
two-part sleeve, into which you fit your phone. The sleeve acts
as a external protector/carry case for your phone, but its real
purpose is as an additional external battery pack. Within the
sleeve is an extra 1200 mAh lithium ion battery that can almost
double the life of the battery sealed inside the iPhone itself.
It can give you up to another 270 hours of standby time, nine
hours of talk time, 5.4 hours of Internet use, 20 hours of
listening to music, or six hours of watching video.
The cleverest feature of
this external battery pack is a switch. When switched off, the
phone runs exclusively on its internal battery; when switched
on, the Mophie external battery starts powering and charging the
phone. The benefit of this is that you can keep the Moshi
battery fully charged and untouched, and only switch it on when
you need to recharge the internal battery.
You can charge your iPhone
through the Mophie battery pack, and the Mophie pack is clever
enough to first of all charge the iPhone, and only when the
iPhone is charged will it then start charging itself. Four LEDs
on the Mophie juice pack air let you know its own internal
battery charge level.
This is a 100% essential
accessory that you must get. It comes in a range of
colors, retails for about $80, and
can usually be found for a bit less, e.g. on
Just Mobile Xtand Go
Many of us now use our
iPhone as a GPS unit too. Even if we are not using the iPhone as
a GPS unit, there are a dozen (in fact, countless more than
a dozen!) other
uses that the iPhone can be put to while we are in our car.
All of which begs an answer
to the question - Where and how do we mount the iPhone while
I've experimented with various sorts of useless mounts. They are all too flimsy, too wobbly, or in some other way just
simply not good enough. In addition, it is difficult to find a
mount that can securely hold an iPhone both in and out of an
external protective carry case (such as the Mophie Juice Pack
Air above). One more problem with most of these mounts is that
they end up covering the sides of the phone, making it
difficult or impossible to access the control buttons.
And now -- drumroll please
-- enter the Just Mobile Xtand Go. It is an excellent and
complete vehicle mount solution, giving a very stable and secure mount, with a
great deal of flexibility in terms of where and how the phone is
mounted, either onto the windshield or onto the dash, either
vertically or horizontally, and with the phone either in or not in an external
This is a wonderful piece of
industrial design. It solves all the shortcomings that other
inadequate amounts suffer from, and while primarily designed for
an iPhone, it can also be used with many other handheld devices
by using the mounting buttons (three of which are generously
supplied with the kit).
At $39.95, and available
and doubtless elsewhere too, it isn't cheap.
But it is a wonderful device, that completely addresses all the
mounting needs of your iPhone and other handheld mobile devices. Recommended.
And One More Accessory
to show that there is no limit to the devices one can buy to
augment your digital music experience, here is an, ahem,
This device - the iCarta
iPod Toilet Paper Holder - includes four waterproof speakers,
and docking adapters for all models of iPods. Toilet paper
It comes with an AC adapter
that plugs into an available nearby power outlet.
Of course, there is actually
a small potentially normal use for this - it allows you to
listen to your iPod while in the bath or shower, and while
you're shaving (men) or putting on makeup (women), etc.
When you think about the accessory in that context, it actually
offers some more sense than the 'just for yucks' concept of
something that plays music while sitting on the 'porcelain
Which is not to say there
isn't a market for throne related music players. In Japan in particular, some
toilets have accessories that will play music or make other
natural sounds (the wind in the trees, birds singing, etc) to
allow more self conscious people to mask the other sounds they
may be making in the bathroom. This unit clearly can also be helpful for covering
up those sounds, too!
for about $60 (it originally listed for $100).
Read more in our MP3
See the links at the
top right of the page to visit other articles
in our extensive series on personal music and video players and
related technology issues.
This particular article is
part 2 of a two part
article profiling some accessories to consider for your iPod
or iPhone. Please
iPod and iPhone Accessories
2. iPod and iPhone Accessories
Related Articles, etc
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13 June 2008, last update
21 Jul 2020
You may freely reproduce or distribute this article for noncommercial purposes as long as you give credit to me as original writer.