No offense to users of the innumerable smart phones on the market, but the iPhone 5 is still the number one seller in the U.S. and is therefore a good barometer for currents trends in smartphone case design. That said, most finer cases below, with a few exceptions, are also made for most major smartphone models like the Samsung Galaxy. Like us, you're naturally looking for a way to make your phone feel like your own and protect it from the inevitable scrapes, bumps and drops that life invites upon our most trusty of gadgets. Beyond that, you might be looking for a particular look (leather, bamboo, nickel plated), purpose or level of protection. Whatever the case, ahem, you need to cover that thing properly. Here we've organized the tip-top of iPhone 5 cases in various categories, so your phone won't be caught naked anytime soon.
Engage Bamboo, $35 at x-doria.com
Real laser-etched bamboo comes slim in the Engage.
Grove bamboo case, $99 at grovemade.com
Custom engraving of your renewable resource is available, but we're digging the Pulsar pattern.
Root Zebrawood Wood Back, $30 at rootcases.com
Woody and natural, the woodbacked case feels solid in the hand.
Corkor Case, 25€ at corkor.com
Be the first on your block with a case handmage in Portugal from renewable cork.
The Little Black Book, $40 at padandquill.com
Surprise, it's not my secret diary, just my iPhone.
Life Proof frē iPhone 5 case, $80 at lifeproof.com
A low-profile case that's waterproof, shockproof and snow-proof. Adventure-ready if you are.
Ballistic Hard Core, $60 at goballisticcase.com
The aptly-dubbed Hard Core features five, yes five, layers of protection.
Lunatik Taktik iPhone 5 case, $TBA at lunatik.com
Rugged and futuristic, the Taktik has Corning-made Gorilla Glass protection for unexpected slams.
Dodocase Durables Wallet, $50 at dodocase.com
Waxed canvas on this American-made wallet case gives it a unique look at a nice price.
Taffeta Camo & Rosewood: Card Carrier 2.0, $69 at killspencer.com
The edgy L.A.-made carrier is lined with Italian suede and fits 4 cards.
Q Card Wallet Case, $40 at cm4.com
If you like to travel light (3 cards and some cash, max)—give the non-nonsense Q Card a try.
Roberu, $100 at roberu.com
This beautiful handmade leather case from Japan with the elastic back is our top pick.
Makr, $95 at Makr.com
Hand-sewn with Chromexcel from Chicago leathermaker Horween, the Makr cases are going quick.
Mujjo Originals sleeve, £35 at mujjo.com
Dutch minimalism meets handmade—also available in white.
X-Doria Kick, $30 at x-doria.com
If you Facetime all the time, you'll need a kickstand.
Orange and Beige Chevron Zigzag Print Fabric Covered Case, $19 at etsy.com
The zigzag case rides a fine line between crafty and modern.
Pastel Aztec case by Vasare Nar, $35
If color is your thing, patterns by llustrator Vasare Nar has got them.
Pantone iPhone case, 30€ at case-scenario.com
King of color has 13 vibrant versions of its Case Scenario-made case. The black is tough.
EXOvault Nickel Plated Aluminum Bocote, $270
All Exo cases are made by hand in Brooklyn, NY—and worth the wait.
Hard Graft Phone Fold Wallet, £65 at hardgraft.com
Felt meets leather in this chameleonic wallet case from England's Hard Graft.
The xx and Grizzly Bear toured the U.S. and Canada together and Manchester's Dr. Me designed a very handsome poster available only at the shows. Some superfans couldn't make the gigs, however, and petitioned for their own posters. So the designer has wisely made the posters available to the rest of us.
Stalk desktop speakers are actually designed to stand next to a crowded desk, rather than take up valuable desktop real estate. The two models (taller or shorter) are built with colored steel legs and a 3D-printed dome, both meant to be chosen by the owner to personalize the set. The designer, New Zealand-based Ella Bates-Hermans, developed the cone patterns by experimenting with 3D printing textures, and drew inspiration for the speaker's form by studying the shape of speaker drivers. [via NOTCOT]
At one point in time, we took them for granted. Payphones were a must—if you were running late, lost, or traveling and needed to make reservations—or perhaps didn't have a home phone. The eventual affordability and popularity of mobile phones wiped them out, destroying the market for their use and making payphones, it seems, not worth the time or money to maintain. Some still exist, sometimes in the oddest of places, and we're sure that some of us still need them in a pinch. By now, their increasing rarity makes them ripe as a photographic subject. #payphoneography is a bit like a chronicle of the last days of a connected, cheap public communication network—with the occassional shot of an exotic callbox from a far-flung locale. Particularly sad, we think, are the "carcasses" of ripped-out phones.
As part of an exhibit at this year's Design/Miami Basel fair celebrating Swiss design and promoting tourism, seven designers were given discarded gondolas from the Verbier resort in the Swiss Alps and told to use the materials to create new work. Some kept the basic form of the gondolas and created rocking benches and tables, while others deconstructed the cars entirely, creating new installations that only vaguely suggested the shape of the classic gondola. The seven designs will be shown during a brief tour of Switzerland, and auctioned by Christie's to raise funds for the Make-a-Wish foundation. [via Yatzer / photos © Annik Wetter]