Nobody tries to drop their iPhone, but the darn things are so easy to drop. So smooth, so thin, so constantly in our hands -- and occasionally on the ground. Today in the name of science I dropped my iPhone 5 on the carpet, on lineoleum, and even once I concrete. It didn't break. Some of that is luck -- any drop can break a phone if it lands juuust right -- but some credit also goes to the double-layer Superleggera Pro case.
When a product is as simple as an iPad sleeve, it's the little touches that matter. iDreamCase crafts the iDC Sleeve in San Francisco, using a leather-like fabric from Italy, and it feels much more expensive than it is: just $10.95 for the iPad mini, and $14.95 for the big iPad.
Apple's switch to Lightning could have gone better. On iPhone 5 launch day, my local Apple Store had plenty of the $19 Lightning-to-USB cables, but the promised 30-pin adapters (both cable and dongle) weren't shipping yet, and lower-cost third-party cables hadn't hit yet either. Finally our preferred destination for low-priced cables, Monoprice, stepped up with a 3-foot Lightning cable, certified by Apple, for under $12.
The perfect quality for an iPhone or iPod accessory, in our opinion, is if you can use it with not only more than one current device, but also devices of the future. I've had this Nest stand since shortly after the iPad's launch in 2010, and it's been a great little companion for every tablet I've had since. (Only when putting together our list of 20 iPhone and iPad Accessories Under $20 did I realize we'd never reviewed it formally -- sorry, Bluelounge!)
The thing I love most about the iPad mini is how it fits in all my computer bags and purses, even just nestled snug against my MacBook Pro. But I want to keep the screen and back of the mini as pristine as I can, and RadTech's stretchy, soft RadSleevz is just the ticket -- it can even fit over a Smart Cover.
Finding an iPhone case for under $20 is a bit easier than finding a sub-$20 case for an iPad. Cygnett's Red Vector deftly limbos that bar with its price of $19.99 for a glossy red case that protects the corners, sides, and back of your iPad mini from bumps and scrapes.
I don't know about you, but I run farther, more often, and more happily if I can blast some tunes while doing so, and get reams of dorky statistical data from my iPhone afterward. Finding some running pants with an iPhone pocket was tough enough, but what's been even harder is getting a pair of earbuds to stay put in my ears and not drive me crazy with whooshing sounds as the cable flops around and rubs against my shirt. The kind souls at Klingg must know what I mess I am, because they made this groovy little device that basically tapes the cable down to your shirt with magnets.
Touchscreen gloves in April? Tell it to our friends in the Midwest and Colorado right now. (And shoutout to anyone else who has snow and isn't too excited about it.) Newer Tech's NuTouch Gloves are the first step toward admitting that you're addicted to your iPhone since you can't even keep your hands off it when it's cold and gross outside and if you don't wear gloves your fingers will go numb.
The Cell Lens Band is really the ideal iPhone accessory, since it's just as much fun for "serious" photographers as it is for people like me whose knowledge doesn't extend far beyond "macro means really close up, right?"
Your iPhone, with its music, GPS, and myriad fitness apps, is a great workout partner, once you solve the problem of where to keep it while you're working up a sweat. Griffin's Trainer armband (also available for iPhone 4/4S, iPod touch, iPod nano, and iPod classic) fits the bill for under $20.