Are you one of the millions of people who received a new iPhone from Santa? Lucky you! And if you're luckier still, and are planning to head to the slopes or somewhere tropical to kick off the New Year, you may be interested in knowing what kind of double-duty that new iPhone can pull when it comes to capturing memories.
Apple's iPhone 4, 4S, and 5 all pack pretty impressive camera sensors. In many ways, the smartphone is replacing the conventional point and shoot, as the image quality and speed on smartphones now rival even dedicated shooters. But perhaps you weren't aware of the video capabilities. Instead of springing for a camcorder or a GoPro rugged camera, there is actually a booming market of accessories that let you use your iPhone instead. It's a pretty easy way to save money by using a tool you now own, and it also means one less thing taking up space in your luggage.
Perhaps the most glamorous of all is Mophie's OutRide, which just started shipping a few days ago. It's designed to fit the iPhone 4 and 4S, while iPhone 5 users will likely have to wait a few weeks for a version to ship for them. It's an extreme, rugged case for your iPhone, which seals it and protects it from wind, water, snow, mud, and pretty much any other element you'd run into on vacation. It also adds a 170-degree wide-angle lens to the camera, enabling you to strap your iPhone onto your helmet and capture HD video of the entire slope as you ski down (as an example). At $150, it's much cheaper than buying dedicated gear, and it makes your life that much simpler by keeping the footage on a device you use daily.
The Optrix XD case is a similar device, but also supports the newest iPod touch. This one is hardened to military specifications to protect from tough falls, and yes, it'll keep your iPhone safe (and the video rolling) even while underwater. Even better? This one's just $99.
For those in need of even more shock protection, as well as waterproofing, the Hitcase Pro for iPhone 4/4S is just the ticket. It uses a patent-pending ShockSeal design that's washable (in the event that you jump into grimy waters), and everything here is made from machined stainless steel for those who are expecting some bumps and bruises along the way. It splits the difference at $129, but iPhone 5 users will be asked to wait a bit for a version that suits Apple's newest (and elongated) handset.
Oh, and if you received an iPhone 5 as an upgrade from your iPhone 4 or 4S, now you have a perfect reason to hang on to that older phone: it can now act as a dedicated camcorder for whatever adventures you dive into. Keep the YouTube hits coming!