Extend Your iPhone
Did you know you can make phone calls on an iPhone? You probably did, but simple voice connections seem to be a minor part of what these smartphones do today. A wide range of accessories turn them into more powerful cameras, conferencing devices, video displays, to name a few. Here are some gadgets to make your iPhone do more.
By Grant Buckler
A box into which you slide your iPhone, the mCamLite provides two external lenses – a wide-angle lens and a macro lens for close-ups– for the iPhone’s camera. The unit also has three tripod mounts and a cold shoe on top for attaching flashes and other accessories. The maker, Action Life Media, also provides a directional microphone as part of the package. $159.95 (U.S.) from actionlifemedia.com.
Another option for adding lenses to your iPhone camera is the Olloclip, a little gadget that slides onto the corner of an iPhone so that it covers the built-in camera lens. It comes with a fisheye lens and a wide-angle lens that, by removing part of the assembly, becomes a macro lens for close-ups. The lenses are on opposite sides of the clip, so you just turn it around to switch between fisheye and wide-angle or macro. $69.95 (U.S.) from olloclip.com.
iPhone Solar Charger
Everyone has had a mobile phone run out of juice at an inconvenient moment. If there’s no outlet around, one option is this solar charger from Chinese company GreenBaba. It’s an iPhone case with a built-in solar panel, which feeds power to your iPhone until it’s fully charged, or stores it in its own storage battery so it’s available as a backup later. The case also has a USB cable so you can charge it from another power source. $33.90 (U.S.) from greenbaba.com.
By making an iPhone speaker 10 decibels louder, says manufacturer Griffin Technology, this acoustic amplifier can turn the device into a portable audio and video conference unit. And it does so without extra wires or power. The AirCurve play routes sound from the iPhone speaker through a built-in coiled waveguide rather than relying on electronic amplification. $19.99 (U.S.) for iPhone 4, $14.99 for iPhone 3G and 3GS, from griffintechnology.com.
Sliding Bluetooth Case With Keyboard
Okay, as an iPhone user you think BlackBerrys are uncool. But admit it, there are times when you long for a real keyboard. ThinkGeek’s Sliding Bluetooth Case gives you one. This unit serves as a case for an iPhone 4 or 4S, with a small QWERTY keyboard that slides out from under the phone. It connects to your phone via Bluetooth wireless connection, and because it’s as wide as the long side of the iPhone, it’s bigger than a BlackBerry keyboard. $29.99 (U.S.) from www.thinkgeek.com.
iPhone SLR Mount
Other photo add-ons give you access to a couple of external lenses, but this iPhone case with lens adapter lets you attach either Canon EOS or Nikon lenses (depending on the version you buy) to an iPhone 4. It may look a little odd to see an iPhone hooked up to a zoom lens three times the size of the phone itself, but it works. Photos come out upside down because the iPhone doesn’t have a mirror to invert images like SLR cameras do, but flipping them over with software is easy. $249 (U.S.) from photojojo.com.
Crabble iPhone Stand
On business trips when the airline movie is terrible or non-existent, you can pass the time watching video on your iPhone. Or you can show a quick video clip to a customer. To do either, it’s nice to have a way to stand the iPhone up in a convenient viewing position. The Crabble provides that, and when not in use it folds flat enough to fit in a wallet. It’s available in several designs and custom colours. 5.99 British pounds from seskimo.com.
Gary Fong Inc. sells photographic accessories. Its Flip-Cage is a little tabletop mount for cameras, acting as a kind of mini-tripod. It’s available with a mount for the iPhone 4 and 4S or with one for the iPhone 3GS, allowing to set up an iPhone on a tabletop for taking pictures or for video, or you could use it for viewing video on the iPhone screen. $29.95 (U.S.) from garyfongstore.com.
The Glif does a lot for such a small product. It attaches to an iPhone 4 or 4S and has a standard tripod mount socket in the bottom, so you can attach the iPhone to any tripod. But it also has a notch exactly wide enough to fit snugly over the edge of the iPhone, so it can be used as a stand to prop the phone up at various angles. $20 (U.S.) from studioneat.com.
“Gorilla” is one of those words that seems to creep into product names for no discernible reason, but in this case it seems rather descriptive. It’s not hard to picture this iPhone stand with its three knobby, articulated legs clinging to the top of a model Empire State Building. You can use it like a little tripod or you can twist the three legs around to grip whatever object is handy. Meant mainly for taking photos and video, it could also be used to position your phone for other uses. Manufacturer Joby makes similar stands for cameras and other devices. $39.95 (U.S.) from joby.com.