updated 11:00 pm EDT, Wed October 5, 2011
Newest iPhone only minimally thicker than iPhone 4
Because Apple's latest iPhone model, the iPhone 4S introduced yesterday, is approximately the same exterior dimensions (with the same button and camera placements) as the iPhone 4, existing cases also fit the new model. Consequently, vendors have had no issues in making "iPhone 4S" cases immediately available, even though the new phone isn't actually out yet. Below are some of the newest cases from a variety of makers, compatible with both iPhone 4 models.
Orbino, known for its hand-stitched leather cases, are offering the Pantera Quattro and the Strada Quattro -- the latter a holster-style case, with the former an enclosed case with a magnetic clasp and polished home button. Both are available in vegetable-tanned Tuscan leather shades of brown, black and deep red. Limited edition exotic skinned versions are also available, including crocodile, ostrich, stingray and python.
Both models feature a removable clip system made out of pure plated brass that doubles as a desk pedestal or belt clip. The leather Strata sells for $119, while the Pantera case costs $189. The exotic skin options can range up to $399.
Accessory maker Cygnett, which already has a line of iPhone 4 cases, increased their catalog to 18 case designs with three new models also compatible with the iPhone 4S, ranging from $15 to $17. The Ripple ($17) textured flexi-case is made of TPU (thermoplastic polyurethane) and is available in black or blue.
The similar but untextured FlexiGel ($15) is equally scratch-resistant and impact-resistant, with raised edges around the front that shields the touchscreen should the iPhone fall face-down on a flat surface. It's available in black, purple and pink. The softer and slim-fitting SecondSkin II silicone case ($15) also protects the touchscreen with raised edges but offers a glove-like soft touch and be equally lightweight. It's available in black only.
Case-Mate, a familiar brand that recently offered computer images of cases based on a widely-circulated "iPhone 5" design that other accessory makers also used (resulting in actual products showing up in AT&T retail stores) has turned to a new line of cases compatible with both iPhone 4 models. The line starts at $15 with the Vroom, a tire-tread textured premium silicone case only available in black.
At $20, the company offers the Gelli, a TPU translucent case with a colorful gel style and houndstooth pattern, and is available in pink, clear or grey. Case-Mate offers two cases at the $25 level: the Barely There, the company's best-selling case, is a thin snap-on case in a variety of colors (white, pink, amethyst, ruby, teal, military green, royal blue and black) that features a cut-out for the Apple logo; there is also the Emerge, a semi-flexible case with a matte finish accented with a glossy pattern available in black and pink.
The Pop! case ($30) uses a unique co-molding technique to combine a plastic shell with soft rubber grip in a two-tone color combination, available in black, red, purple, pink, light blue and white. For those who value more protection than style, the Tough ($35) is a form-fitting silicone wrap with a hard shell to protect against both shock and impact, available in black/black and pink/black.
At the top of the new lineup is a cased called simply what it is -- Brushed Aluminum ($40). It's available in black and silver and ideal for formal occasions. Many other variations on the above designs are also available on the company's website.
XtremeMac has also been busy, with four new iPhone 4/4S designs -- a Tuffwrap entry and three Microshield variants. The Microshield itself ($30) is an impact-resistant hard plastic case with a smooth matte surface with a trendy metallic finish for a touch of style. It's available in slate blue, deep plum, bronze, pearl white and graphite.
The Microshield Style ($25) is hard plastic with a faux-leather wrapping available in black/silver or brown/black snakeskin, or a black ostrich print. The Microshield Layers case ($40) is a two-piece case with a hard plastic outside and soft inner case that offers not only two layers of protection but also the possiblity of multiple interchangeable inner cases that complement the perforated design of the outer shell (the shell is available in white or black, while the interiors can be solid royal blue, mixed multi-color, or bubble-gum pink).
XtremeMac's Tuffwrap Shift for the iPhone 4/4S ($30) is a TPU form-fitting case that is both soft and durable, but its main selling point is that the case reacts to heat, altering the color. It's available in blue, pink, grey and green (which change to white near a heat source), purple (which changes to blue) and orange (which changes to yellow).
Finally, Waterfield Designs has announced an iPhone Wallet ($39), a leather wallet with a see-through window and pockets for (a few) credit cards and cash. The window lets users use the iPhone without taking it out of the leather wallet, and the pocket with its UltraSuede interior is large enough to accommodate a bumper case around the iPhone. The company also makes a thinner leather sleeve called the iPhone Hint that also features the see-through window and pocket for cards. Both models are available in brown or black, and will ship by the end of October.
While the exterior dimensions of the iPhone 4S are identical to the iPhone4, there are a couple of very subtle physical changes between the models: the antenna banding on the outside of the iPhone 4S is slightly different due to the new dual-antenna arrangement, and the iPhone 4S is officially three grams (or one-tenth of an ounce) heavier.