Ear’s to you, kid

Grace Robinson
26 March, 2012
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For Apple fans, Christmas comes around more than once a year. Every few months we’ve come to expect – and, in turn, hanker for – the announcement of Apple’s next big thing.

Hands up whose holding their breath for a glimmer of iPhone 5? Anyone fantasising about an Apple TV set? And how about those rumours of a 15in MacBook Air? Yes, it looks set to be an exciting 2012 for the fruit-loving community.

If that’s not enough, there’s always the ripple effect that comes with every new Apple release. Count the seconds following a next-generation iPhone for example, before a flood of compatible peripherals start rolling in. It seems the accessories you adorn your iPhone or Mac with is an industry – and entity –in itself.

Chief among these are cases. From leather, silicone, even fur, you can tell a lot about a person by the case they covet. In the same way that we can guess a professional from her briefcase, or pick a tradie from his tool belt, cases have become the new brand stamp for individual identities.

I have a handful of cases for my iPhone and iPad on high rotation because I can’t decide on one for any extended period of time. This probably reveals a lot more about my indecisiveness than I’m willing to admit. But hey, I work in the industry – it’s all in the name of research. That’s my excuse and I’m sticking to it.

For those of you not in denial, take a look at the cases you’re carting around and ask yourself this: What do my accessories say about me? I pondered the same question on a tram last week, when I sat next to what looked like a man-sized Elf.

On closer inspection I realised ‘Elf’ was actually human and holding a giant silicone ear to the side of his head. Turns out he talking into a phone, an iPhone 4 from what I could see. But I wasn’t sure – there was an ear in the way, after all.

I got home, did a little research (also known as Googling ‘man elf ear iphone weird’) and discovered that not only was there a case matching the description of the one I’d just seen, but that I had also not imagined the whole thing.

Just to prove it, let me introduce to you the Ear iPhone case from Thumbs UP  that sells for £9.95 ($15). Now what does a case like this say about its owner? I’m not entirely sure, but I do believe Van Gogh parallels can be made.

Whatever will they think of next?

Well, actually, the ear does not stand alone. Crazy, outlandish cases are everywhere: Cases that look and smell like a hamburger roll, cases that make your iPad waterproof in the ocean, gold- plated cases costing more than an average person’s car and much, much more.

My encounter on the tram with the giant iPhone ear only confirms that Apple products continue to inspire a whole host of weird and wonderful cases that distinguish its millions of users from one another. And if reports of a tear-shaped iPhone 5 are to be believed, I wonder when giant, weeping silicone eyes will start appearing on public transport? One thing’s for sure – I can’t wait to see.

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