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Mobile Accessories

Accessories build success for Apple

How do you know when an Apple product has been a resounding success? All you really need to do is look at its third-party economy.

iPhone accessories
iPhone accessories at Macworld 2008 Click to enlarge.

How do you know when an Apple product has been a resounding success?

Well, all you really need to do is look at its third-party economy. Take, for example, last year's Macworld Keynote conference highlights -- the Apple TV and the iPhone -- and the clear difference between the accessories market for the two products.

If any proof was needed that Apple's iPhone has been a resounding success for the company, all you have to do is take a look around the Macworld Conference at San Francisco's Moscone Center. The number of accessories that have been released since Apple first released the iPhone -- and let's face it, that was only six months ago -- is quite surprising.

iPhone accessories
iPhone accessories at Macworld 2008 Click to enlarge.

Unlike the iPod case market, where silly patterns and extra adornment rule the roost, iPhone cases can't obscure the screen or touch interface as much, so clear and simple is the order of the day. Some of the more inventive products here include Zagg's Invisible Shield iPhone case, with the company claiming that its military-grade iPhone protection can resist most "sharp objects". We're not sure what they think iPhone users are doing with their shiny new toys.

While not every manufacturer displaying cases at Macworld will release their products in Australia, the ready availability of iPod cases Down Under makes it a pretty safe bet that many iPhone accessories eventually will be seen here. This will all be dependent on when Apple decides to release the iPhone locally, of course.

iPhone accessories
iPhone accessories at Macworld 2008 Click to enlarge.

Despite the general lack of an official iPhone SDK -- still mooted for February -- some companies do have substantial software on offer. Data recovery company DriveSavers announced that it was now offering data recovery services for iPhones -- possibly a wise investment when at least 200,000 phones are stolen per year in Australia alone. For those looking at their physical fitness, there's PumpOne's iPhone Workout videos -- these train you, rather than your iPhone, to have glutes of steel.

What then, of the Apple TV third-party economy? Well, even though Steve Jobs' keynote spent plenty of time trying to re-ignite enthusiasm for Apple's little TV box of tricks, try as we might to locate a third party Apple TV modifier -- or even someone selling a protective casing -- there were, as far as we could ascertain, exactly one related product. Quite the stark difference.

Alex Kidman travelled to Macworld San Francisco as a guest of Apple.