5 Not Quite Essential iPhone and iPad Accessories


Photo courtesy of abelmon007 via Flickr

Once Apple announced the release date for the iPhone 4S, it was destined to be at the top of many a Christmas list, right alongside the iPad 2. It was also a foregone conclusion that countless third party companies would try to elbow their way into the market with their own iPhone 4S accessories. Many of these are great. Who couldn’t use an extra pair of headphones? Others are less great. Read on to discover the five least essential iPhone and iPad accessories so you can do your Christmas shopping wisely.

Siri-Integrated HAL 9000 Dock for iPhone

The killer app for the iPhone 4S is Siri, a voice activated “assistant” that can schedule reminders and compose e-mails and text messages as you dictate. Something so mildly useful can only mean one thing: the robot apocalypse is nigh.

In deference to our new computer overlords, the good folks at ThinkGeek have devised a clever dock to make your iPhone 4S resemble HAL 9000, the malevolent supercomputer from the film, 2001: A Space Odyssey. Unlike some other entries in this list, you might actually get some use out of this toy. The dock will amplify Siri’s voice and it comes with a remote.

IPEVO Chopstakes Styli for iPad

A huge selling point for the iPad is the responsive capacitive touchscreen. For one reason or other– maybe nostalgia for the brick-like PDAs of the 90s?–some of us like to use a stylus. For reasons that are beyond me, the iPhone and iPad accessory manufacturer IPEVO has decided to sell a pair of styli called “Chopstakes” that you can use simultaneously to manipulate the iPad’s multi-touch display. Get it? It’s like “chopsticks,” but for stakes. Or something.

Here is an accessory that raises lots of questions. Beyond the meaningless name, why would I need more than a single stylus? Why would using two, in the form of chopsticks, be at all easier than just using my hands? Am I expected to use these in public?

Barring the creation of an iPad app that simulates eating a big bowl of Vietnamese noodles, I believe I’ll pass.

Madoff-Clothes iPad Covers by Frederick James

This one takes a little explaining. Apparently after Bernie Madoff was sentenced to 150 years in prison for running an enormous Ponzi scheme, designer Frederick James snatched up a bunch of Madoff’s clothes at a police-held auction.

Once in possession of these old-guy pants, James did the only logical thing: he had them cut up and made into Madoff iPad covers, which he now sells for between $250 and $500, depending on how much the case smells like Madoff. (Not true.) Once in possession of the case, the buyer will gain some of Madoff’s power. (Also not true.)

While Madoff doesn’t deserve a lot of respect, there’s something undeniably morbid about these iPad covers. In any case, some of the proceeds will go to Madoff’s victims, so it’s not all bad.

Catcher in the Rye Book Charging Dock for iPhone

With more and more people doing their reading on Kindles, iPads and iPhones, and with more stores like Borders going out of business, many bibliophiles are worried what the prevalence of these devices will mean for the future of physical books. These people will not be comforted to learn that for a mere $52, you can have a hard bound copy of J.D. Salinger’s classic novel, The Catcher in the Rye, cannibalized and turned into a charging station for your iPhone.

Granted, this item is presumably targeted at book lovers. And, granted, the book was probably not yanked out of a child’s hands or anything. I know this–but it’s still hard not to see the iPhone, standing upright on top of the book, as somehow celebrating its victory as its opponent lies dead.

Beeri: The Siri-Powered Bartender

Since you can order Siri to do just about anything else, why not tell it to fix you a nice frosty glass of beer? This is the thought behind Beeri, a project aimed at creating an automated, Siri-driven beer pouring robot. It isn’t yet for sale, but it’s worth mentioning.

Why does it belong on the list? Because Beeri doesn’t so much pour a beer, as it rams a can of beer into a wall-mounted spike, allowing about a third of the can (and a lot of foam) to drip down into a glass, while the rest of it sprays everywhere. The voice command ought to be, “Siri, make a giant mess of everything.”

Have your own favorite–or least favorite–iPhone and iPad accessory? Please share in the comments.

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  1. ChuckG

    3 years ago

    It’s a lucrative business creating accessories. I now see iPad holders and binders on television shows.

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