The Week in iPhone Cases: In protection we trust

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The launch of the iPhone 5 has brought a veritable avalanche of cases for Apple’s latest mobile handset. As usual, your faithful Macworld staff is on, uh, the case with a roundup of the latest and greatest.

Caze’s Zero 5

Caze: The Zero 5 (iPhone 5; $20) is one of the thinnest iPhone cases available; at only 0.5mm thick, it is, in the words of the manufacturer, almost unnoticeable when installed. The iPhone 5 model of the case has been improved to provide additional protection and be more scratch-resistant than its predecessor. It’s available in black, white, blue, or clear.

Esoterism’s Embrace

Esoterism: The Embrace (iPhone 4 and iPhone 4S; $89) is an aluminium bumper designed to protect your handset from bumps and scratches while accentuating its beautiful, glass-and-metal design instead of trying to cover it up. It comes with a compimentary backplate, available in black, carbon-fiber black, or titanium gray. The case itself can be purchased in a variety of exotic hues, including Kyoho Sauvignon, Champagne Blush, Phantom Gray, Space Gray, Peach Glamour, and Oyster Blue.

Hex: The company’s latest iPhone 5 offerings include the Axis Wallet (iPhone 5; $50), with its genuine-textured-leather construction, a convenient card slot, and wraparound construction with a front cover that doubles as a stand for viewing at multiple angles. It comes in black, white, or red.

Hex’s Axis Wallet

The Stealth (iPhone 5; $35) features a compartment that is normally hidden away and can be used to store an RFID-enabled card so that you can make quick purchases, enter the office, or get on the subway without having to dig into your wallet. It’s available in white or black.

Finally, if you like wallet cases but prefer your cards to be easily accessible, the Solo Wallet (iPhone 5; $40) comes with two pockets that can hold either cash or plastic; like the Axis, the Solo Wallet is made of genuine leather; it can be purchased in white, black, or red.

One of Gelaskin’s vinyl skins

Gelaskin: The company’s iPhone vinyl skins (iPhone 5; $15) are now available in a size that matches Apple’s latest mobile offering. Like before, there are literally dozens upon dozens of designs to choose from, in themes that go all the way from artsy to pop, and almost all with their own matching iPhone 5-sized wallpapers.

iGear Unlimited’s Bamboo Case

iGear Unlimited: The Bamboo Case (iPhone 5; $60) is a snap-on shell made entirely of one of the most environmentally-friendly protective materials available. The two-piece design fits your handset snuggly, and it’s lined with soft velvet that helps protect it from bumps and scratches. The case also features the appropriate number of cutouts and openings to ensure unhindered access to all of the iPhone’s ports and cameras.

Incipio’s Code

Incipio: Incipio’s iPhone 5 collection includes over a dozen different models—one for every taste. Some of the highlights include the hardshell DualPro (iPhone 5; $30), available in black, pink, blue, or a special Shine Edition (iPhone 5; $35) with a silver or obsidian coating; the Code (iPhone 5; $35), which features a special silicone-core hexagonal design and comes in white/red, black/blue, or white/pink; and the Feather (iPhone 5; $25), the company’s ultrathin offering that weighs less than half an ounce and can be had in purple, black, or pink.

Kensington’s Portafolio Due

Kensington: The company has announced over thirty products for the iPhone 5. Among the various cases available, you’ll find the Gel Case (iPhone 5; $20), designed to fit snuggly around your handset’s back while adding minimal bulk and available in clear or smoke black; the Aluminum Finish (iPhone 5; $25), which, as its name implies, retrofits your iPhone with a layer of brushed aluminium; the Back Case (iPhone 5; $20), a simple snap-on hardshell case available in pink, black, or grey; and the Soft Case (iPhone 5; $20), a back case made of rubber that comes in black or white.

For a more sophisticated look, the Portafolio Duo (iPhone 5; $40) features a wallet-like construction that provides wraparound protection for your handset, as well as plenty of space for credit cards, ID, and more. It comes in black, brown marble, orange/cream, black marble, or tan nappa.

Finally, the Leather Texture (iPhone 5; $30) is a back shell that looks and feels like leather, but is built entirely from synthetic materials. It’s light and stylish, and its textured construction offers a secure grip. It’s available in black, gray lizard, brown, teal, or black snake.

Natural Sapphire’s iPhone 5 case

Natural Sapphire: If you happen to have a big wad of cash lying around, this company has announced a one-of-a-kind gold and gem-studded case (iPhone 5; $100,000—yes, you read correctly, one hundred thousand greenbacks) that includes some 170 carats’ worth of precious stones. It’s unclear to this poor journalist why you would want to buy something like this, but I’m pretty sure that, if you do, should your iPhone slip from your hands, you may actually want it to land face down.

USBFever’s Hard Disk Back Cover

USBFever: If you happen to live in one of those place where iOS-device owners are frequent victims of theft, it might not be a bad idea to use a case to conceal—as well as protect—your iPhone from sticky fingers. What better way to do so than USBFever’s Hard Disk Back Cover (iPhone 4 and iPhone 4S; $23)? The case looks just like a real-life hard drive, and even comes with a convenient gift box. Now all you need to worry about is being mistaken for a spy who has stolen a stash of secret government digital files.

The iPhone 5 Wallee

Wallee: The Wallee (iPhone 5; $40) is a rubberized, snap-on case that doubles as one of the most sophisticated mounting solutions for your iPhone: It’s compatible with the company’s entire line of accessories, which make mating your handset with fridges, walls, kickstands, and even your hand a snap.

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