Is that the sun shining I see? Actually, I'm not sure it ever stopped as we've had just about the warmest winter I can remember here in the North East... but just go with me here. Spring is coming my friends and you know what that means: water. Now, imagine if you will, a beautiful sunny day at the beach/pool/bathtub/whatever. Now imagine blissfully thumbing through Tweets and email on your iDevice of choice. Now imagine dropping said iDevice in the drink.
Yeah, how's that feel? Not too good. But thanks to a little accessory company called Crown Prince International, that horrible feeling is a thing of the past. And that's because their new line of cases might just be a mermaid's best friend. I was fortunate enough to stumble upon the iBdry series of cases at the NY Toy Fair this past February and they really impressed me. The first thing that hit me as I entered the booth itself was a 20 gallon fish tank loaded with a bunch of iPhones and Pads. And one goldfish for good measure. Keeping the gadgets functional was iBdry. Watertight kits that not only prevented malfunction, but actually would allow for full use while submerged. Interested? Lets take a look. The soft case version of iBdry is basically a soft plastic sleeve that holds your device of choice. The top of the sleeve is a plastic bar with a pair of locks. Once these two clips are fastened into place the gizmo is secure and safe. And aside from safe, it's usable too. Although there's no port for a headphone to plug into, you can effectively use the iPhone's camera and touchscreen without an issue. You could probably even get a little underwater game of Pac-Man going if you really wanted to. This particular case is kind of a catch all too as it works with really anything that's small enough to fit in the main pouch. Blackberry's, Droids, and anything else with the right form factor will work just as well as an iPhone or iPod Touch. The hard case, on the other hand, is a completely different story as it's strictly for the iPhone/iPod Touch. It's also really cool and is probably my favorite of the bunch. The hard case is almost as much anti-shock as it's anti-H2O. The design also includes a waterproof headphone jack so you can (providing you've got a pair of waterproof phones) rock out while you're unda da sea. Both front and rear facing camera's work perfectly- BUT don't use the flash. As a result of the plastic covering the lens (and everything else) the blast of light whites out the entire shot. So if you're intending on some underwater photography (or videography) you might want to make sure you've got ample ambient lighting. Actually, that point about the flash goes for the previous case as well. I don't think there's any real way to get around the inability to take flash photography while having a case like the iBdry installed. An unfortunate side effect I guess. Another unfortunate bit is that, while you can fully operate your iPhone or Touch inside the hard case- you can't really lock it in any way. Since the case itself completely encapsulates the device and there is no pass through button (I doubt there could be since they're shooting for water tight here) it's impossible to hit the 'lock' switch while the case is on. Basically this means that you'll have to just wait out the idle time for your phone or iPod. It is kind of annoying but you could just set the auto-lock to a minute in 'settings'. At least that would cut down on battery loss a little. One little tip here too- the instructions suggest testing before every use to make sure the seal is good and water won't get in. Do it. Seriously, nothing's fool-proof all the time and it only takes a second. So are there down sides to these cases? Yes. Are they worth it anyway? Well... how much do you take your device down to the shore or the pool? If you're a constant fixture during the Summertime, then one of these bad boys more than fits the bill for you. With the warm(er) weather rolling in for the year, the iBdry line might be just the ticket for keeping your iPhone from visiting Davy Jones' Locker all permanent-like. Remember also that Apple doesn't cover water damage in the Apple Care program and the cost of a simple case like one of the iBdry's is pretty insignificant next to that of replacing your lifeline, er, phone. iBdry's 'iPhone/iPod Touch' hard case goes for $49.99, while the soft pouch 'smart phone' case will run you about $24.00. Want to find out more? Head on over to www.iBdry.com or head to www.theangryspark.com for shots of the cases and a look at the iPad version (which might be my favorite one) That's all for this time ladies and gents. As always, for more gadgetry and games visit TheAngrySpark online at theangryspark.com and watch for our Summer vacation gadget guide coming in the very next issue of this fine magazine that you hold in your hands. Videogame or tech query? Contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow me on Twitter @Jason_tas