The Week in iPhone Cases: Take 5

Case manufacturers are busy announcing all sorts of protective accessories for the iPhone 5.

The iPhone 5 is finally here--where by "finally," we mean "wow, the rumors have been going full-tilt for months now"--which means that case manufacturers are busy announcing all sorts of protective accessories for the latest model. In fact, this week we've got so many new cases to cover, with more announcements coming in as I write this, that we've got two roundups. Here's the first; come back tomorrow for the second.

Grove: The Grove Case (iPhone 5; $60) is precision-milled from a solid block of bamboo, which is then sanded and oiled by hand. It comes with a cover that matches your iPhone's color, and it can even be engraved with one of several predefined motifs or with a custom one of your choice. The case is currently on pre-order (the company requires a refundable $20 deposit to place your order), and Grove notes that the final design may vary once they get their hands on a real handset.

iGear Unlimited: The Clipper (iPhone 5; $40) is a hardshell case that protects the back of your iPhone and can be custom-ordered in one of over 8,000 different patterns and images. It shares many characteristics with the Slider (iPhone 5; $40), which comes in three pieces and provides additional protection for the phone's front. Both cases are printed using a direct-print UV process that resists scuffs and scratches.

Lenmar: The Meridian (iPhone 5; $70) is a case that incorporates a 2,200 mAh battery that lets your iPhone serve you for longer periods of time. Lenmar has yet to specify exactly how much use time the case adds to your handset, but the company has announced that the case will be available in white, metallic red, or black starting from December.

Musubo: The company has announced that its Retro Case (iPhone 5; $35) will be available for the new iPhone at the end of September. It features a strong, polycarbonate external shell lined with a soft silicone interior for maximum protection and a great feel, and it even comes with its own foldable kickstand for viewing and typing. It's available in black, blue, red, grey, white, or yellow.

Otterbox: The company's Defender (iPhone 5; $50), Commuter (iPhone 5; $35), Reflex (iPhone 5; $35), and Prefix (iPhone 5; $25) case lines have been updated to support the new iPhone, and the company expects to begin shipping on September 21--the same day on which the iPhone 5 itself will be available for purchase. In the tradition of their predecessors, Otterbox's new cases offer excellent protection and are designed for active use; they're available in dozens of styles and colors.

Seidio: The company has announced a full line of iPhone 5 accessories, including a number of cases, such as the Surface (iPhone 5; $30), designed to protect while adding minimal bulk and available in black, white, green, red, grey, purple, or blue. The Convert (iPhone 5; $50) combines two cases in one: the minimalist Surface for everyday use, and a heavy-duty protector for more active use. There's also an included holster for carrying your device around. (The protector and holster are also available as a conversion kit if you already own the Surface.

Finally, the Active (iPhone 5; $30) combines two layers of protection to keep your handset safe from scratches and to help absorb the shocks that inevitably come with day-to-day use. The Active is available in black, white, green, red, purple, or blue.

Scosche: The StrapShield (iPhone 5; $30) is a snap-on case built from an impact-resistant material and coated with a soft, rubberized exterior, providing excellent protection from bumps and scratches, along with a great grip. It also comes with a convenient strap that keeps the iPhone securely tied to your wrist--perfect for taking pictures, or walking around when you don't have pockets handy. The StrapShield features a unique web-inspired design, and the case is available in white, lime, pink, blue with lime accents, blue with grey accents, or black.

Waterfield Designs: The company has announced that its entire iPhone case lineup will be updated to work with the iPhone 5. These include the iPhone Wallet (iPhone 5; $39), which keeps your handset near your cash and cards with a beautiful leather design; the Hint (iPhone 5; $25), a clever leather pouch with a see-through window that gives you prompt access to your screen; the Smart Case (iPhone 5; $39 to $45), which comes in three models designed to either slip in your pocket, attach to the shoulder strap of your bag, or clip on to your belt; the Suede Jacket (iPhone 5; $10 to $16), a minimalistic sleeve designed to keep your handset safe while providing a splash of fashionable design; and, finally, the Smartphone Travel Case (iPhone 5; $35 to $39), which comes with a generous amount of room for cables, chargers, and other accessories.

X-Doria: The company has announced the availability of six cases for Apple's new iPhone. These include the Dash (iPhone 5; $35), whose special polycarbonate finish includes a special cloth-like texture for a unique look; the Dash is available in black, grey, brown, orange, or blue. The Venue (iPhone 5; $35) is a snap-on case that features a distinctive duotone chevron pattern and comes in blue/aqua, black/grey, grey/charcoal, grey/orange, lime/aqua, or pink/white. The Shield (iPhone 5; $40) provides enhanced wrap-around protection for your handset--including the front, which is covered by a special polycarbonate screen that lets you type and use your phone without hindrance. The Shield is available in black, blue, white, black/lime, or grey/orange.

The Kick (iPhone 5; $30) features a simple and elegant two-piece construction and includes a convenient kickstand that is perfect for keeping your hands free during a FaceTime conversation. It comes in white, aqua/lime, black/grey, red/grey, or orange/aqua. The Cubit (iPhone 5; $30) comes with a series of snap-in tiles that can be used to create your very own mosaic right on the back of your iPhone; it's available in white with blue and light-blue tiles, black with dark blue and yellow tiles, or red with burgundy and white tiles.

The Engage Form (iPhone 5; $30) rounds out the collection with a glossy, metallic polycarbonate construction laid out in a cross-woven pattern that gives the case a distinct three-dimensional look and feel. It's available in metal, black, gold, red, blue, or red.

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Marco Tabini
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