iNews Review

Majority Backs Driver Cell Phone Ban, Apple A5 Chip Now Made in Texas, Keyboard Shootout, and More

This Week's iPad, iPhone, iPod, and Apple TV News

Compiled by Charles Moore and edited by Dan Knight - 2011.12.23

Mac notebook and other portable computing is covered in The 'Book Review, and general Mac news is in Mac News Review.

All prices are in US dollars unless otherwise noted.

News, Reviews, & Opinion

Rumor Roundup

Apps & Services

Accessories

iPod Deals

These price trackers are updated every month.

News, Reviews, & Opinion

Majority Back Call for Cell Phone Ban While Driving

Should Cell Phone Use During Driving Be Completely Banned?With the NTSB calling for a nationwide ban on cell phone use and texting while driving (see last week's iNews Review), the public has also expressed its opinion on this controversial topic. According to a new poll released by SodaHead.com, claimed to be the Web's largest opinion-based community, 56% of respondents agree with the NTSB and support the ban, while 44% oppose the ban.

When broken down by demographics, 60% of females support the ban and 52% of men are also in favor of the ban. When looking at the results by the age of respondents, the group with the most support for the ban are those over the age of 65 (78%), while the group with the lowest support are those between the ages of 25 and 34 (47%).

Could iPhone 4S Users Get Away with Using Siri Under a No Phones While Driving Ban?

International Business Times' Ranina Sanglap reports that iPhone 4S users who thought they could get away from total bans against using electronic communications devices while driving by using Siri will still be held accountable if federal regulators will have their way.

Sanglap notes that the US National Transportation Board issued a recommendation last week that state governments should ban all driver use of cell phones, handheld or handsfree phones, as well as other portable electronic devices except in cases of emergency, and while the board doesn't have the power to force states to impose the proposed ban, its recommendations do carry significant weight with federal regulators.

The report notes that response to the proposed ban has been largely negative, but in this writer's estimation, the board has made the right call. Research has shown that handheld or handsfree, using a cell phone while driving increases the likelihood of an accident by up to 4x. A study cited by The Coalition for Cell Phone Free Driving says statistical likelihood of being involved in a motor vehicle accident rises by a factor of 4 during cellphone use - greater than with low-level alcohol impairment, and that it slows a driver's reaction time by 18%.

As for the counter-argument that talking on a handsfree phone should be no different than talking to a passenger inside the automobile, that is not the case, a reason being that the person at the other end of a telephone conversation has no sense of what is happening in the car and is unable to react or just shut up immediately should dangerous set of circumstances develop.

An Ontario Medical Association report, based on a meta-analysis of studies from around the world, found talking on a cellphone leads to a substantial reduction in the driver's field of view, changes of driving speed, decreased the distance maintained between vehicles, resulted in more frequent panic braking, less mirror-checking, and slowed response time to traffic light changes.

Sanglap's article cites an analysis by Jim Hedlund, a safety consultant and former National Highway Traffic Safety Administration official, that examined 300 cellphone studies for the Governors' Highway Traffic Safety Administration and concluded that there is little evidence that handsfree mobile phone use is less risky than handheld use, but suggests that the real solution would be more responsible attitudes and self-discipline exercised by drivers.

Apple A5 Chip Production Moves to Texas

The Register's Anna Leach reports that Apple's A5 chips are now being made in Texas, not Asia, as was its predecessor the A4, according to a report from Reuters, citing "people familiar with the operation".

The chips that power the iPad 2 and iPhone 4S are being produced at Samsung's huge new 1.6 million square foot, $3.6bn (closer to $9bn, according to Austin Chamber of Commerce) fab in Austin, although the iOS devices the A5 powers are still assembled by Foxconn in China.

Kindle Fire Missing Manual Editor Going Back to iPad

New York Times blogger David Streitfeld says his NYT article citing high levels of dissatisfaction with Amazon's new tablet generated a torrential response, much of it from people who said they loved their Kindle Fires.

Streitfield notes that some commentators suggested the whole article somehow came from Apple, but none of the conspiracy theorists explained why so many original users of the Fire put mixed-to-negative reviews on Amazon's own site.

Streitfield cites another professional evaluation, from someone who has probably used the Kindle more than anyone who doesn't work for Amazon: Peter Meyers, a digital book consultant and author of Kindle Fire: The Missing Manual, to be published in January as a print volume and an ebook from O'Reilly Media.

He suggests that anyone who would accuse Meyers of bias should consider that if the Fire is a tremendous failure, market for his manual would be negligible.

However, Meyers' verdict, in an email to Streitfield, is that "Apple would have never shipped a device like the Fire. Its got way too many rough edges (sluggish touchscreen, magazine apps that don't really fit the smaller screen, an easy-to-hit power button). And even little things like how the power cord jiggles when plugged in wouldn't have made it past the demo room in Cupertino."

Further, Streitfield says once the manual writing project is finished, Meyers doesn't see much of a future for his own Kindle Fire, which will be going back in the box as soon as he's done, noting that the iPad 2 is "years ahead" of the Fire and lets him "consume and create with no friction."

The Rise of Smartphones, Apps, and the Mobile Web

PR: Nielsen's State of the Media: The Mobile Media Report provides a snapshot of the current mobile media landscape and audiences in the US and highlights the potential power of mobile commerce in the near future.

US mobile video viewersKey findings:

  • The majority of 25-34 and 18-24 year olds now own smartphones (64% and 53% respectively).
  • The majority of smartphone owners (62%) have downloaded apps on their devices, and games are the top application category used in the past 30 days.
  • The number of smartphone subscribers using the mobile Internet has grown 45% since 2010.
  • 87% of app downloaders (those who have downloaded an app in the past 30 days) have used deal-of-the-day websites like Groupon or Living Social.
  • Younger groups text the most. In Q3, teens 13-17 sent and received the most text messages (an average of 3,417 each month).

This report draws from a broad range of Nielsen data sources, including Nielsen's in-depth monthly surveys of mobile consumers (more than 300,000 consumers surveyed each year); Device metering data from the iOS and Android smartphones of thousands of consumers who have volunteered to be a part of our research panel; detailed, monthly analysis of the cellphone bills for 65,000 lines in the US, again, thanks to volunteer panelists.

iPhone May Preview Personal Computing's Future

Writing for Tech.pinions, Tim Bajarin recalls a 1989 syndicated column he wrote about a modular mobile computing concept, musing about what future portable computing might look like, the the heart of his vision was the idea of having a lot of screens available in his work and home lifestyle, these screens to be displays that his modular computer would connect to in a lot of places and locations, meaning he would always have his own personal computer with him everywhere he went, able to just plug it into an available screen and keyboard.

Bajarin notes that we have modular computing of sorts today in the form of our laptops containing our own OS, customized UI, and all of our personal files that can be plugged into a screen and keyboard as part of our computing model, the way he plugs his MacBook Air to a 27" screen at the office and and uses a wireless mouse and wireless keyboard - the MacBook Air essentially becoming an anchor brick module providing CPU power, OS, UI, and access to files.

"But what if we could have that same kind of modular functionality in a brick that fits in your pocket?" Bajarin asks. "A very small device that houses a powerful CPU, OS/custom UI and data files and can be docked with a multitude of screens that are accessible around the office, school, home, shopping malls, etc. As far out as this seems, I believe that this is exactly the vision Apple has for the future of the iPhone."

Editor's note: It's difficult to dispute that reasoning. I've got the door wedged open a crack what with these days using my three in-service laptops plus an iPad 2 largely as terminals to access and work with a "float" of projects stored on Dropbox. cm

Publisher's note: Back when I worked at ComputerLand of Grand Rapids, our store manager had a monitor, keyboard, and mouse at home and another in his office. He toted his 14 lb. Mac IIci between locations - not quite as portable as what Bajarin envisioned at the time, but the smallest modular Mac available at the time. dk

How to Copy Music from Your iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch to Your Computer for Free

Lifehacker's Adam Dachis says:

"Apple, true to form, makes it simple to put media and files on your iDevice but the road really only goes one way. It can be pretty difficult to copy anything (or everything) back to your computer without a lot of trouble and sacrifice, but it's even harder to find a good, free solution to that problem amongst the many choices available. You could spend the better part of your week sifting through your options, or you could just read this post instead.

"We've tackled this issue before, but things have changed for the better since 2008. Here's a look at your best options for transferring media from your iDevice back to your computer, free of charge. We've broken up this guide into Windows, Mac, and Linux sections, so just choose the one that you need."

Display Shoot-Out: iPad 2 vs. Kindle Fire vs. Nook Tablet

9 to 5 Mac's Christian Zibreg reports on a tablet display shootout among Amazon's Kindle Fire, Apple's iPad 2, and Barnes & Noble's Nook Tablet conducted by Dr. Raymond Soneira, president of DisplayMate Technologies Corporation of Amherst, N.H.

Dr. Soneira set out to find out which device packed the best IPS (In-Plane Switching) display. Zibreg points out that LG Displays, the world's leading manufacturer of IPS LCDs, is the supplier of IPS panels for the three devices used in the shoot-out, but the iPad 2, the test note said, remains the gold standard in tablet displays, while Motorola's Xoom and Acer's Iconia Tab serve as prime examples of low-quality LCD displays.

The report notes that the Fire's display is on par with iPad 2's and Nook Tablet's in most respects, except for two important aspects - limited grayscale rendering and an antireflective treatment with about 70% higher reflectance levels compared to the iPad 2 and more than double the reflectance of the Nook Tablet - bad for reading outdoors or in brightly lit indoor areas. Meanwhile, Barnes & Nobles Nook Tablet has the lowest reflectance of any tablet DisplayMate ever tested, showing 28% lower reflectance than even the iPad 2, and grayscale rendering more accurate than most living room HDTVs.

Consequently, Nook wins the shootout.

iPad Keyboard Showdown

Laptop Mag's Michael A. Prospero observes that the iPad's virtual keyboard is definitely good, but nothing feels quite as nice as clickety-clacking away on a physical keyboard. According to Lenovo and Qualcomm, 71% of small businesses surveyed said they are using tablets at work as an additional device, not as a replacement for their PCs. But with the right case, complete with a physical QWERTY Bluetooth keyboard, that might be about to change.

Many accessory manufacturers are ready to step in with external keyboards, but which one offers the best combination of price, portability, protection, and tactile feedback? Prospero set about finding out which one is worth your investment: Belkin Keyboard Folio, ClamCase for iPad 2, Kensington Keyfolio Pro, Targus Versavu Keyboard and Case for iPad, or Zaggfolio for iPad 2.

Publisher's note: This is one of those annoying slideshow articles that exposes you to several interstitial ads as you work your way through to the end. Poor form - and something you'll never see at Low End Mac. dk

Make the Most of iOS 5's Hidden Features on the iPad

APCMag's Dan Warne notes that while iOS 5 has a bundle of great headline features, it also packs in a few extremely useful ones that you might not even notice.

There is a thumb-friendly split keyboard for your iPad, plus custom autotext shortcuts, which can be extremely useful for saving repetitive typing of things you often add in to emails, instant message chats or documents, but unfortunately hidden away in a submenu that very few people would ever look at (go to Settings > General > Keyboard > Add new shortcut).

Then there's multitouch app switching. Warne observes that one of the biggest time-wasters when working with a tablet is switching between apps, but iOS 5 introduces a multitouch method of app-switching: the four finger swipe, plus a five finger pinch to close the app and return to the home screen.

There are also location-based reminders (3G iPads)

Rumor Roundup

Rumor: Apple to Launch 7.85" iPad in 2012

DigiTimes' Max Wang and Steve Shen report that Apple is likely to launch a 7.85" iPad prior to the fourth quarter of 2012 in addition to a new iPad scheduled to be released at the end of the first quarter, according to sources in the supply chain.

Wang and Shen note that global shipments of tablet PCs are expected to reach 60 million units in 2011, of which 70% will be Apple's iPads. However, their insider sources tell them that in order to stay in front of increasing market competition, including the 7" Kindle Fire from Amazon and the launch of large-size smartphones from handset vendors, Apple has been persuaded to develop 7.85" iPads, with OEMs in the supply chain, including panel makers LG Display and AU Optronics (AUO), likely to begin production of the 7.85" models at the end of Q2 2012.

Apps & Services

iPhone: The Missing Manual, 5th Edition

iPhone: The Missing ManualPR: With the iOS 5 software and the new iPhone 4S device, Apple has another world-class hit on its hands. This sleek, highly refined pocket computer comes with everything cellphone, iPod, Internet, camcorder - except a printed manual. David Pogue is back with the latest edition of his witty, crystal-clear, colorful guide to the world's most popular iPhone book - iPhone: The Missing Manual, Fifth Edition (O'Reilly Media, $24.99 USD).

"The elves at Apple's iPhone division have been in overcaffeinated overdrive," says Pogue. "Not only is the iPhone 4S a masterpiece - if you're not giving your phone voice commands, you don't know what you're missing - but iOS 5 is crammed with goodies, including a lot that Apple's marketing people don't even have the space to mention. Fortunately, I did, in this book."

Here's some of the important stuff you'll learn:

  • Use it as a phone. Learn the basics as well as timesaving tricks and tips for contact searching by voice, texting, and more.
  • Manage hour stuff in the cloud. Sync and back up your contacts and media across all of your devices with iCloud.
  • Get things done. Ask Siri to send reminders, place calls, and more.
  • Master notifications. Use the Notification Center to find missed messages, calendar invitations, friend requests, and more.
  • Connect with other iPhone owners. Send unlimited iMessages to friends, family, and colleagues who are also running iOS 5.
  • Treat it as an iPod. Master the ins and outs of iTunes, and listen to music, upload and view photos, and fill the iPhone with TV shows and movies.
  • Take the iPhone online. Make the most of your online experience to browse the Web, read and compose email, use social networks, or send photos and audio files.
  • Go beyond the iPhone. Learn how to use the App Store, and how to multitask between your apps, organize them in folders, and read ebooks in iBooks.

Whether you have a brand-new iPhone or want to update an earlier model with the iOS 5 software, Pogue says this beautiful full-color book is the best, most objective resource available.

iPhone: The Missing Manual, 5th Edition
By David Pogue
Publisher: O'Reilly Media
Print ISBN: 9781449301774
Ebook ISBN: 9781449301767
Pages: 544
Print Price: $24.99
Ebook Price: $19.99
order@oreilly.com
1-800-998-9938
1-707-827-7000

Office2 HD Brings New Document Editing Tools to iPad Office Suite

Office2 HDPR: ByteSquared, developers of business oriented productivity apps for mobile devices, announces a free update to its critically-acclaimed productivity suite, Office2 HD for iPad. Office HD's latest update focuses on adding in many more of the advanced features normally expected in a desktop word processor.

ByteSquared's latest update to Office2 HD offers new enhancements to existing features and integrates additional layout tools to its document editor which creates and edits Word docs (.docx and .doc). This new feature set provides students and business executives with the ideal set of tools for creating and editing polished documents on the go. Users now have unprecedented control over the appearance of their documents, allowing them to create both functional and admirable documents right from their iPad.

Office2 HD"Whether you're a student or an executive at a Fortune 500 company, your time is precious," said Simon Bates, CEO of ByteSquared. "Office2 HD's latest update transforms mobile office productivity from a secondary method of completing office tasks to a powerful and even preferential manner of quickly and efficiently keeping in touch with your office. I feel this new version easily makes Office2 HD the app of choice for editing Microsoft Office documents on iPad."

Office2 HDOptimized for Microsoft Office documents, Office2 HD enables users to view, edit and create documents, spreadsheets and presentations on-the-go. Additionally, users can download, create, edit, save, send, print, upload and transfer documents locally or via Google, Dropbox, Box.net and more as well as the ability to read and create PDF documents.

New In This Update:

  • Multi-Columnar Layout - Specify up to 4 columns for each section
  • Shapes - Add shapes to a document including, lines, text boxes, rectangles, etc.
  • Rulers - Page rulers, tab stops (left, center and right aligned), paragraph margin setters
  • File Versioning - Allows users to revert to previous 10 versions of a file for editing
  • Section Breaks - Both continuous and next page to separate sections
  • Floating Images - Images can now float above text and aligns accordingly around the images
  • Referencing - Footnote and endnote integration make for easy MLA formatting

Office2 HDDevice Requirements:

  • Compatible with iPad
  • Requires iOS 5.0 or later
  • 6.6 MB

Office2 HD 5.0 is $7.99 (or equivalent amount in other currencies) and available worldwide exclusively through the App Store in the Business category.

1-Click Flashlight Free for 1 Week to Celebrate 400k Downloads

PR: Turn your iOS device into even more of a power tool than it is already. 1-Click Flashlight 5.0 makes turning on the iPhone native flash as a constant stream of light just one click away. Simply touch the app icon and the flashlight will activate before the application finishes launching. It's the fastest, easiest way to turn your device's native flash into a powerful flashlight. To celebrate over 400,000 downloads MyClickApps LLC is making it free for one week.

1-Click FlashlightThe iPhone has been nothing if not a wonderful emergency tool. Whether you're stuck on the side of the road, need your GPS coordinates, or want to know where the nearest hospital is, the iPhone can prove invaluable when you need help most.

Now, one of those emergency features is easier than ever to activate. 1-Click Flashlight makes turning on the iPhone (or iPad's) native flash as a constant stream of light just one click away. Simply touch the app icon and the flashlight will activate before the application finishes launching!

1-Click Flashlight is tried and true. It has been used by people around the world in the most dire of circumstances. Residents of both Hurricane Irene and the recent tsunami and earthquake in Japan found the app invaluable during power outages.

What advantages and features does the app offer? Not only is it user friendly, it's fast to activate and easy to turn off (simply press the Home button). Comes with a fun strobe feature. Just tap the screen while the app is activated and you'll see a strobe icon - click it to activate the feature. 1-Click Flashlight also offers support for running your music in the background and the app disables iPhone auto-sleep mode so you can use your flashlight without any interruption.

1-Click Flashlight is also very conscientious of your iOS battery life. The app auto-dims the iPhone screen, displays a battery meter and offers the option to automatically turn off the flashlight when the battery level has reached less than 10%. 1-Click Flashlight has reached the top 20 iPad apps in China and has been mentioned in American Consumer. It has been downloaded 400,000 times and used more than 5 million times!

The developers say they are dedicated to making this app the best iOS flashlight app.

Device Requirements:

  • iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad
  • Requires iOS 4.3 or later
  • 1.8 MB

1-Click Flashlight 5.0 is regularly 99¢ (or equivalent amount in other currencies) and available worldwide exclusively through the App Store in the Utilities category.

iAutoText Keyboard: Type 180 Words per Minute in iOS

PR: iPhoneBestSoft today introduces iAutoText Keyboard 1.0 for iOS devices, its new productivity app designed to cater all your needs when composing text messages. iAutoText Keyboard is a smart way to input text and symbols. It offers a centralized place to compose, store, search, reuse and manage text messages, as well as help assist you to type fast by AutoText and AutoComplete. Bundled with a huge library of Emoji and Unicode Symbols, Text Art, Cool Text Styles & Text Clips, iAutoText Keyboard will help you have fun with composing messages in your SMS, Email, Twitter and Facebook.

iAutoText KeyboardExisting features include:

  • Enable 460+ emoji icons for iOS
  • Single customizable library of Text Clips, Text Arts, Symbols
  • 1000+ icons and predefined shortcuts
  • AutoComplete from your frequently typed words
  • AutoText using your assigned shortcut and expanded into long text snippet
  • Text2emoji to input emoji/unicode icons by shortcut key
  • Unicode symbols and keyboard
  • Cool TextStyles and lot of Text Art for your cool status update
  • Type and walk, typing in a transparent viewport and help you avoid obstacles when walking
  • Send composed text to SMS, email, twitter, Facebook, Tumblr directly

A lot of features, but the developers still put all of them in a single App because they think all are important for composing text message:

  • AutoText: Type faster using abbreviation shortcut which converted into long text snippet. You can create a library of abbreviation shortcuts for text clips that you use frequently, such as addresses, standard replies, chat shorthands, text arts and symbols. Type the shortcut and Tap AutoText, it will automatically expands to the full text clip or the symbols.
  • AutoComplete: The App will autolearn what you have typed. Next time, it will suggest your commonly used words while you type.
  • Text2Emoji: Frequently used icons can be input directly with Text2Emoji. e.g. Type :) and it will automatically convert to a smiley icon.
  • Cool TextStyles: 10 Cool TextStyles for you to use in social networking.
  • Great Emoji, Unicode Symbols and Text Art: Huge searchable library of Emoji & Unicode Symbols and Text Art.

Device Requirements:

  • iPhone 3GS, iPhone 4, iPhone 4S, 3/4G iPod touch
  • Requires iOS 3.2 or later
  • 3.0 MB

iAutoText Keyboard 1.0 is 99¢ (or equivalent amount in other currencies) and available worldwide exclusively through the App Store in the Productivity category.

Accessories

SlateSHIELD All-in-One 360° Case, Stand, and Handle for iPad 2

PR: The SlateSHIELD 360° rotating case, handle, and stand for iPad 2 is now available from retailers including Amazon.com, eXpansys, and the Cellularstore from ADDO Accessories, a division of mobile device and product specialist PPC Techs, Inc. SlateSHIELD with its patent-pending collapsible handle design and slide-out integrated stand provides 360° handsfree viewing and typing from multiple angles.

SlateSHIELDAs many business iPad users have found, holding their technology in one hand and using it with the other can be challenging and prone to dropping or slipping. To prevent this, the SlateSHIELD wearable iPad case has a comfortable self-adjusting hand strap to easily control the device in the palm of one hand, leaving the other hand free to multitask. There is no need to remove the case from your hand to rotate the case 360° and the swivel design makes it easy to switch from landscape to portrait mode for effective use.

Additionally, the SlateSHIELD case incorporates a unique slide out integrated stand, allowing the iPad to be used for optimal viewing in landscape, portrait or typing mode, ideal for applications such as FaceTime, viewing movies, giving presentations or for use with a Bluetooth keyboard on a desktop.

SlateSHIELDSlateSHIELDs collapsible handle design, built-in stand and durable compact design enhances the one-handed usability of the iPad 2 while providing secure protection and comfort in use. Designed with the mobile and business user in mind, the SlateSHIELD 360 case is simple to use, easy to handle, yet tough enough to use in many business applications.

Applications in healthcare, education, field services, automotive, retail, and food & hospitality are ideal for SlateSHIELD where there is a need to hold the iPad in one hand to maximize productivity and minimize limitations.

Ed Zabrek, chief medical editor for iPhone Life Magazine, comments on his SlateSHIELD case: "It is an awesome design. One handed use has never been easier."

SlateSHIELDLeonard Wesson, CEO of Addo and PPC Techs, Inc., says, "I can say with confidence that the new SlateSHIELD case is an example of how lifestyle can be integrated with functionality while providing a rich user experience. PPC Techs has a legacy of more than ten years of making mobile computing more efficient and agile, which we have now moved under the ADDO Accessories brand. I look forward to the next generation of tablets and providing our customers with the best in class products for a long time to come.

SlateSHIELD is made of tough, durable ABS plastic, comes in a black finish and retails for $54.95.

SlateSHIELD is available through online retailers including Amazon.com, eXpansys, and the Cellularstore in the USA or directly SlateSHIELD.com.

ADDO Accessories has established distribution channels in the USA, UK, and Ireland and is actively recruiting further channels globally.

Grablet Novus g2 iPad Case and Handle

Grablet Novus g2 iPad CasePR: The Grablet Novus g2 is a brightly-colored, multifunctional, multipurpose case and secure handle for the iPad 2 (and soon a model for the iPad 1 as well). This modular accessory features a variety of attachments and uses that let you attach, hang, hook, suspend, and simply use your iPad safely and securely.

The Grablet Novus g2 Package Includes:

  • 1 Grablet novus g2
  • 1 Grablet Hand Pad
  • 1 Grablet Hand Wrap
  • 2 13" Straps w/ 4 G clips
  • 4 Grablet Strap Retainers

Grablet provides a safe and secure way to get a handle on your iPad. Don't drop it, just Grablet.

Grablet Novus g2 iPad CaseGrablet got its start when a husband and wife, a Ryan & Shanna Cote purchased a new iPad and immediately started brainstorming along with friend John how could they get a better experience from it. Ryan, a USMC veteran and IT pro, freelance designer Shanna, and talent management exec, John, tossed ideas back and forth that eventually materialized as the Grablet.

The Columbus, Ohil based partners wanted to manufacture, produce, market and ship a 100% Made in the USA product, even though that proved more difficult and ultimately more expensive than outsourcing production to China.

The Grablet is available in 12 colors and sells for $39.99.

Stealth Protection for Your iPhone

iOpener 4PR: West280, a designer of innovative, formfitting cases for the iPhone, has announced its new iOpener 4 for all iPhone 4 models.

With lines the manufacturer says were inspired by a stealth fighter jet, iOpener 4 is sleek yet deceptively tough, fitting the iPhone like a fine Armani suit, yet protecting it like a suit of armor. The case also includes West280's patented, slide-out bottle opener, adding a splash of personality to the iPhone. [Perhaps not the most wisely-chosen metaphor in this context. Ed.]

iOpener 4iOpener includes a raised bezel to protect the screen and full perimeter protection around iPhone controls and ports. West280's unique engineered interior design transfers the majority of impact forces away from the phone body. The two-piece case is molded from a proprietary polycarbonate/ABS polymer alloy that is capable of withstanding massive impact forces. When the stainless steel bottle opener is retracted into the case the three layers of plastic and steel create a suit of armor that West280 suggests may make iOpener the world's toughest plastic case.

iOpener 4 is available now for preorder for $29.95. Shipments are expected to begin approximately February-March 2012 timeframe. All US orders ship free via Priority Mail.

iOpener 3 is currently shipping for $29.95. iOpener 3 fits all models of iPhone 3 (3, 3G and 3Gs).

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