When is an iPhone not an iPhone? When it's a severed hand...
Unsurprisingly, the iPhone is the smartphone of choice for thieves in Paris. At the end of last year, 776 mobile phone thefts out of 1395 were iPhones, according to police, who estimate that number will only go up in 2011 as the Apple handsets become steadily more commonplace.
I'm contributing to this year's statistics. My iPhone 4 was wrenched from my hands just two weeks after I bought it. A painful reminder to keep those electronic devices in your bag on the Paris métro.
But sometimes it's impossible to avoid using your phone in public. You need to consult Google maps or answer an incoming call. How else, then, can you protect your iPhone from opportunistic pickpockets?
THE ELEMENT OF DISGUISE
There are a number of clever ways of making your iPhone look like it isn't one. Here are some of the best:
BookBook for iPhone
BookBook for iPhone is available from Twelve South and costs $59.99. It incorporates your iPhone into a swish brown leather wallet. Could be useful if you have difficulty keeping track of all your personal effects, like the Apple worker who left his priceless iPhone 5 prototype in a Mexican restaurant. Not ideal for keeping thieves at bay, given that your wallet is also a prime target.
The "Choco" Series
Chocoholic? Hooked on your iPhone? Mix pleasure with pleasure by wrapping up your handset as a yummy bar of chocolate. Except that it's made of silicon. Bonus: it never melts. You look a bit strange holding it to your ear, though. Amazon sells them for $14.99.
Revisit the pixellated world of Super Mario Bros and Tetris with a classic Gameboy skin for iPhone. There's a peel and stick version that costs just $14.95 from Zapstatic. Or you can get a protective plastic iBoy case like the one in this photo (taken in Japan) - totally geeky but totally awesome. Available in different colours on Amazon, Buy.com, eBay et al for around $7-8.
In the digital age, what thief would want to swipe a Polaroid Land Camera from the '70s?
Give your iPhone a dose of old school cool while making it less desirable to kleptomaniacs with the Leica Rangefinder look-alike. At $9 from PetaPixel it won't break the (piggy) bank either.
The Fake Severed Hand
Definitely the creepiest choice of the lot. Purpose of the Dokkiri Hand Case for iPhone 4 is unclear. Perhaps by lovingly intertwining your fingers with the fake severed hand, you're less likely to drop your phone. You're also less likely to make any friends. It would definitely give the pickpockets a shock though. Made in Japan, of course. Available from Strapya World priced ¥5,000 or $64.20.