Well, hello there. This is the first time we’re EVER doing gift guides here on Design Milk. We hope you enjoy them! May the holidays be ever in your favor. Let the gift guides begin!
We can mark nearly two months off the calendar since the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus launched in mid-September, and in that time a plethora of products have come to market faster than a fashion knockoff (with much more undoubtedly on its way). Sadly, most of these “new” accessories are a rehash of the same old products we’ve seen released for previous iterations of the iPhone – countless cheap, plastic cases or gadgets of questionable utility which ultimately end up in the “donate” pile. But hidden amongst the masses, a handful of the latest iPhone 6 compatible designs are genuinely useful, entertaining, constructed with a higher quality of materials, or simply offering a notable execution of design worthy of sitting sidekick to your Cupertino-made mobile:
The Evernote Pfeiffer Collection \\\ $24.95 – 49.95
Evernote’s reputation as a digital workspace and organizing tool on computers, phones, and tablets is well established, if not passionately endorsed like a favorite workout or diet. Now they’ve applied the same organizational tool philosophy from the virtual desktop to IRL with a handsome collection made from walnut, with slots and stands for even the giant iPhone 6 Plus. Is it bad we want to use the slotted cup to hold a giant chocolate chip cookie?
Definitive Technology W7 \\\ $399
The W7 almost looks like it could have been made from the same anodized aluminum slab as Apple’s iPhone, a compact cube of less-is-more, minimalist’s aesthetic (sporting just 4 buttons; everything else is controlled via an iOS app). What isn’t minimal by all means is the surprisingly full bodied sound which emanates from the 5.87” x 6.93” x 6.65” wireless speaker. In our time listening to the W7, the 6 lbs. speaker lived up to Definitive Sound’s claim to be able to reproduce immersive sounds radiating music off walls using the W7’s Tri-Polar configuration of 1″ tweeters and mid/bass radiators situated on three sides, an effect which had us peering over our shoulders fooled by the acoustic trickery, all the while surprised such a compact single speaker could reproduce such a dynamic presence.
CLOT x The Coop Idea 10th Anniversary “Ice Cream Sandwich” Power Bank \\\ $65
Celebrating their 10th anniversary, the Hong Kong-based label CLOT collaborated with The Coop Idea and came up with one tasty looking ice cream sandwich shaped Gummy 9000 Power Bank. The frozen treat offers 9000mAh capacity capable of fully-charging an iPhone three times before it needs to refill back up itself and comes sporting two USB output ports for dual charging at once (note: only one port offers 2.4A fast-charging).
Bowers & Wilkins T7 Bluetooth Speaker \\\ $350
You’ll want to tip your hat off to Bowers & Wilkins. They didn’t jump into the wireless Bluetooth category until they felt good and ready, specifically because they didn’t feel Bluetooth audio lived up to their standards. But now aptX Bluetooth encoded audio is here, B&W decided they could bring both style and audiophile-flavored substance with the T7, a serious looking honeycomb framed portable speaker designed to reproduce bass loud without any of the annoying vibration and distortion which hampers similar devices when pushed. Users can squeeze 18 hours of music from two 50mm drive units and a pair of bass radiators kept in place by the T7’s unique design “Micro Matrix” inner frame.
TAKTIK 360 iPhone 6 Case by Lunatik \\\ $125
Lunatik looks like they set out to make the most rugged and protective iPhone 6 case for adventurers. It also appears their designers were somehow able to keep their protective case from getting hit with the usual ugly stick which usually mars other ultra-rugged adventuring cases; designed with chunky angle, the TAKTIK 360 is a robotic mech-style shell for the iPhone 6. Designed to completely keep out unwelcome water and dust, the TATIK 360 closes up with a patent pending compression closure system and single latch closure, and is covered with a Corning Gorilla Glass lens for an extra layer of screen protection. It’s admittedly a bulky case, but that’s the trade-off for extreme bump and drop protection.
Olloclip 4-in-1 Photo Lens for iPhone 6 \\\ $79
Unlike a DSLR or mirrorless camera, you can’t take off and add additional lenses to your iPhone. But you can slip on the Olloclip 4-in-1 accessory, extending the iPhone’s already pretty good camera with optical quality Fisheye, Macro 10x, Macro 15x, and Wide Angle lenses (photos examples here). Best of all the compact clip-on design makes it extremely easy to attach the extra lenses when needed, then slip the accessory into a pocket or dropped into a bag for storage.
Gramovox Bluetooth Gramophone \\\ $399
Bluetooth, may we introduce you to Boardwalk Empire? This yesterday design, 1920’s-style steel horn speaker is connected for 33ft wireless audio range for iPhone (and Android) devices, good for between 12-18 hours of battery powered playback. If you’re looking for a statement piece, there’s probably not many Bluetooth speakers which will elicit curious inquiries like this.
Aether Cone \\\ $399
The Aether Cone was already a frontrunner in the portable wireless audio speakers category, especially if one appreciates the idea home audio components should look as beautiful as they sound instead of intrusively gadgety. Their team seems committed to improving and updating the Cone, recently upgrading the voice, app, and gesture operated Cone to work sans Rdio subscription (previously mandatory) and an improved web-based set-up which makes connecting the Cone to a home wi-fi network a snap. There’s also a new white and silver color combo, joining the existing handsomely suited black and copper model, making it a match for two out of the three iPhone color options.
Madera Hardwood + Elastamer iPhone 6 Case \\\ $65
With a contrast 3:1 ratio of injection moulded black elastomer to wood, Madera’s iPhone cases share more semblance with a luxurious gentleman’s attache case or billfold than with the typical plastic slip-on iPhone case. And because the wood is only used as a small portion of the case, the grip is remarkably more secure when compared to an all-wood case. You’ll have to sign-up for notification about pre-orders, for these cases were just announced as an upgrade from the previous iPhone 5/5s edition.
The Dimple iPhone 6 Bumper by SQUAIR \\\ $600
Ignore the insane price for a moment ($600!), it shouldn’t detract from an appreciation of the subtle and unique aluminum alloy (specifically, aircraft quality A7075 Extra Super Duralumin) material design which went into this intricate protective bumper. The bumper weighs a mere 17.5g, as lightweight as plastic, yet adds a layer of durability along the most damage-susceptible corners of the iPhone: the corners. A special no-tools required Itoigawa Latch – made from 4 angled parts – permits easy assembly and disassembly, while the bumper’s tidal-inspired pattern lends improved grip to the iPhone 6’s notoriously slippy feel.
Seek Thermal Camera \\\ $199
This Lightning add-on device for the iPhone (with an Android option available) might be the closest you’ll ever get to experiencing the world through the thermal-optical vision of a Predator. The $199 Seek Thermal Cam attaches to the bottom of the iPhone to transform the iPhone’s standard optical capabilities into a temperature sensitive imaging system using a 32,136 thermal pixels, 12-micron sensor. There are countless pragmatic opportunities to use the Seek camera, like finding where cold air is coming into a room or spotting a hiding animal in your backyard, but it’s more likely you’ll find stranger and more amusing opportunities to test a thermal camera, like to share via Instagram or your Facebook feed, no doubt.