by Tom Kaneshige

Five Great Apple iPhone and Mac Accessories

Feb 17, 2010
Computers and PeripheralsConsumer ElectronicsiPhone

Cool iPhone accessories aren't just for Apple fan boys. At last week's Macworld show, we spotted five cool new toys - from crazy cases to a gizmo that turns an iPhone into a machine that can swipe credit cards and process purchases.

Not just eye candy for Apple fans, today’s Mac and iPhone accessories really deliver the goods.

Imagine watching television on your iPhone. Or say you want to process a credit card at a customer site. Then again, you could simply be looking for an iPhone case that reflects your odd, errr, artistic personality.

[ Macworld showcases an emerging new class of iPhone apps, reports ]

Mac and iPhone accessories draw thousands of Apple fans to Macworld every year—and last week was no exception. has chosen five favorites. (Hint: We like add-ons that are actually useful or have some technology flair.)

By the way, it would have been nice to include the Apple iPad, but it’s not an accessory and didn’t make an appearance at Macworld. Of course, neither did Apple.

Cool accessories carry the weight of the Apple brand.

Putting Pen to Paper

Many CIOs still take notes with a good old-fashioned pen. Are they to be left out of all the Apple fun? Livescribe’s Pulse Smartpen lets users write notes on special paper and then upload them to a Mac. The pen also records audio.

For those wanting something simpler than a high-tech pen and paper, Trexta, which makes wood and leather iPhone cases, has come up with Sketch Up covers. Call it the low end of the line. These disposable covers are basically recycled paper that you can mark up, doodle, take notes, whatever. They’re sold in packs of five with a marker.

Cool iPhone Cases

iPhone cases for everyone.

Speaking of iPhone cases, many could be found at Macworld adorned with everything from flags to rock bands to imitation leopard skin. Given Apple’s appeal to artists, it’s no wonder the iPhone has inspired some cases with off-the-wall designs.

While many of these cases probably won’t make it onto a CIO’s iPhone—a little too much flair, mind you—creativity and expression is something the image of IT desperately needs. And a little splash of color inside drab cubicles doesn’t hurt, either.

Credit Card Processing on the Fly

Our favorite cases, however, take advantage of functional technology. Mobile accessories company Mophie showed off its credit-card processing case for the iPhone: this lets sales people, small businesses, and independent contractors accept credit cards.

Simply slide a customer’s card through the base of the iPhone case, assuming, of course, that someone is willing to give you the card. The card reader communicates with Mophie’s mobile payment iPhone app and—cha-ching!—the credit card is charged.

Mophie’s credit-card processing case will hit stores in April.

I Want My MTV (mobile television)

Mophie’s Juice Pack TV.

Another gem coming from Mophie later this year (and shown at Macworld): Juice Pack TV. Soon, people will be able to watch live TV shows, news and sports from CBS, Comedy Central, Fox MTV, NBC and Nickelodeon right on their iPhone.

Mophie’s iPhone case is an external battery that taps into the Flo TV service, a subsidiary of Qualcomm. We’re assuming an extra battery will be needed to run live mobile TV on the power-plagued iPhone. Mophie is short on details, pricing and release date.

Two Turntables and a Microphone

A short line formed around a booth to check out accessories from Djay that allow DJs to mix and play music from iTunes. One guy even began “scratching” CDs spinning on a record-like turntable. What does this have to do with techies and CIOs?

DJ-ing is a geeky creative outlet.

“The Bay Area is dominated by people in technology, and the number of DJs here is ridiculously high,” Alan Cannistraro, a software developer, told “We sit in front of computers all day. We love it, but we all need creative outlets. DJ-ing is a geekier creative outlet.”

After all, who doesn’t like to spin records? Check out our slide show, Two Turntables and a MacBook: Geeks Get Their Groove On.

Wish List: iPhone Keyboard

It’s fun to imagine what a small hardware keyboard for the iPhone would look like. Apple didn’t look like it would budge on this front until the surprising announcement a couple of weeks ago when Apple said it would offer a docking station with a hardware keyboard for the iPad. Maybe an iPhone keyboard is in the works, too.

Until then, all we have is a non-functioning prototype.

All ready to go, but where’s the iPhone?

Tom Kaneshige is a senior writer for in Silicon Valley. Send him an email at Or follow him on Twitter @kaneshige. Follow everything from on Twitter @CIOonline.