Recent successful funding efforts from many independent designers, including Dan Provost and Tom Gerhardt's iPhone 4 accessory, have inspired many new projects seeking to cash in on Apple's vastly popular accessory market via crowd-source funding Web site Kickstarter.
A simple search on Kickstarter for "iPhone" or "iPad" yields quite a few results. These projects are, for the most part, the brainchildren of independent designers hoping for some financial assistance to get their iOS accessory dreams off the ground. The model that seems to be working best is that of the preorder.
The Glif, which achieved a very high profile thanks to influential tech bloggers like John Gruber, has been one of Kickstarter's better industrial design success stories. Having written an article myself about it (and purchased one), I can say that the Kickstarter experience is certainly an interesting one. It's fairly easy to sign up, takes a few steps to pledge a donation, and if the project is funded (as was the case with The Glif), easy-to-finish shipping details and receive your product.
Here's a look at some of the projects currently seeking funding on Kickstarter. If you're in the market for a unique case orfor your iPhone or iPad, these projects may be exactly what you're looking for. Be sure to read up on each one before making your donation pledge, and remember, your donation helps Indie designers compete with the big boys like InCase, Belkin, and Monster.
- The Cosmonaut: A wide-grip stylus for touch screens. Created by the same guys that brought The Glif to fruition, The Cosmonaut promises an easy-to-use stylus for your iOS devices. Obviously the best use for The Cosmonaut is probably the iPad. Several drawing and painting Apps would most likely become much more powerful with the precision of a stylus. "Writing on a tablet feels like writing on a dry erase board: fast, simple, low fidelity. The perfect tablet stylus is one that feels like a dry erase marker." Check it out here.
- iPhly: Radio control with iPhone. iPhly aims to merge the fun of controlling an R/C vehicle with the great technology provided by Apple in the iPhone. "It's all in the wrist. Roll the phone to roll (or steer). Tilt down to pitch down. Swipe up to throttle up. Swipe side-to-side to yaw." You can even store multiple model parameters and is said to work on cars, planes, and more. Check it out here.
- Tembo Trunks: Earbud speakers. "Tembo Trunks are the speakers that aren't speakers. They are the first collapsible earbud speakers for iPods and iPhones." Think of Tembo Trunks like when you're yelling through a traffic cone. It's all about amplification. Just attach your earbuds to the small end of Tembo Trunks and physics does the rest. Check it out here.
- WALdok: Wall plug-in speaker/charger for iPhone/iPods. Another take on the popular docking speakers for iOS devices, the WALdok looks more like a Glade Plug-in than an Apple accessory. But, if it works as advertised, it could be a nice accessory for a smaller room in the house. "The WALdok allows you to plug-n-play and plug-n-charge in the bathroom, kitchen, office, or anywhere there is a wall outlet." Check it out here.
- LetterMpress: A virtual letterpress on your iPad. Here's an interesting App concept that's using Kickstarter to fund its development. The virtual letterpress environment mocks a real-life press and has any number of variations for iPad artists to create endless designs. "The design process is the same as the letterpress process--you place and arrange type and cuts on a press bed, lock the type, ink the type, and print. You will be able to create unlimited designs, with multiple colors, using authentic vintage wood type and art cuts." Check it out here.
- iChair: Case with built-in stand for iPad, iPhone, and iPod. "iChair is a sleek, protective case with an integrated stand to view your iDevice in portrait and landscape mode." An integrated stand acts much like the back of a picture frame, allowing iOS device users the ability to view their media propped up. Check it out here.
- Ekocase2: Stylish, eco-friendly and affordable cases for iPad. "The Ekocase2 for both the iPad and iPad2 blends natural and eco-friendly materials to conceal your iPad in a classic, book-style case." There are several versions of this concept on the market, but the Ekocase2 is independently designed and uses reinforced bamboo to prevent warping over time. Check it out here.
Keep in mind, many of these projects only have a few days left to get funded, so hurry over to Kickstarter and get donating! Have you supported a Kickstarter project? Let me know which ones in the comments!