I was at a function some months ago talking to a friend of mine, Lloyd Taylor, owner of Triathlon Lab. I was complaining to him about the case for my new iPhone. Lloyd was, as it happened, hanging with a tall striking blonde, Angel King, who whipped out her iPhone, and asked, "You mean a case like this?" Then she threw her phone down on the tile floor. Unawares, I served this up to Ms. King—who has a gig with Lifeproof—and she hit it out of the park.
Fast forward, I was recently product testing a Cardo Systems BK-1. I couldn't help but remember the vanquishing of my poor, sorry iPhone cover, and thinking that the Lifeproof iPhone case is just the perfect match for the Cardo Systems unit.
Lifeproof's waterproof, shockproof iPhone 4 case is, at $80, double the cost of the Griffin case I bought when I got my latest iPhone. But, then, the Griffin is not, as far as I know, a case you can hand to Peyton Manning and have him chuck it against a brick wall. Nor can you strap it to Michael Phelps for a 200 meter swim (or me, for the same swim a minute slower) and have it emerge with its electronics still fully functional.
Still, the Lifeproof case is slim. It really takes up no more space than did my unobtrusive Griffin.
Lifeproof also makes a mount—its Bike + Bar Mount—for $40 and I've had this on the bike, iPhone attached to it, for two rides to date. It mounts to either a handlebar or a stem or, I suspect, a round seatpost, if you want to take a video with your iPhone of the car that's going to hit you (see Cerevellum Hindsight for the state of the art for this application).
To demonstrate the ability of the camera in the iPhone to continue to take decent pictures inside the Lifeproof case, the pics that accompany this article (below) are taken with my iPhone inside its Lifeproof.
So, here's the package: I've got my Cardo Systems unit on my helmet, which is on my head, and the iPhone, rather than sitting in my jersey pocket, now sits like a dashboard on my stem.
Now, to be sure, I can take a call without taking the iPhone out of my jersey. The Cardo Systems unit picks up the incoming call, and I can just hit a button on the helmet and take the call over the speakers. I can also place a call without having to fish the phone out of my jersey. So, why do I mount the phone on the bars?
I don't need to, really. But if I want to make my iPhone the sole microelectronic device that plays music, interfaces with my power meter, takes and receives calls, acts as a navigational system, and have Siri keep me company when I'm lonely, some of these functions are auditory, yes, but some visual, and for that I need the iPhone there in front of me.
When I do ride with the iPhone handlebar mounted, something like the Lifeproof cover is almost mandatory. When the ride is over, there's a few big drops of salty sweat that plopped right on the iPhone face. Or would have, had the cover not been there.
I only have one complaint about Lifeproof's iPhone 4 cover. As we all do, I have many cords—both Apple and aftermarket—that plug into the phone. None of them are an easy plug in. the seal is so tight that I suspect this cover is waterproof even with a charging cord plugged in. Getting that cord in and out is a learned skill.
Speaking of cords, for that $80 you also get a mini RCA jack that's specially made for the cover. It's a male-to-female jack, and Lifeproof makes a waterproof headphone—earbuds—for music while swimming. This makes Lifeproof an alternative to, for example, H2O Audio. Among your favorite earbuds—Yurbuds, Monster or iRun—would they be waterproof if you plugged them into your Lifeproof jack? Don't yet know. However, we're preparing an earbud overview, to be published later this month, and that's a question we'll answer.
The bike mount is intuitive, easy to mount, secure, and out of the way of knees and hands.
The mount sits on a ball joint, and can be turned so that the iPhone can be positioned tall or landscape.
This config is just perfect for both my eyes, and as a splashpad for my sweat. Hence the need for a cover such as that which Lifeproof makes.