Peripherals for iPhone may be a bit slow in coming, but there was one category of peripheral that was available the same day that iPhone was released: iPhone cases. The irony is that this is a peripheral that is not only unnecessary but may actually be a hinderance.
To be fair, I have never liked the idea of using protective cases on anything, even my iPods. It reminds me of putting slipcovers over a beautiful couch. What’s the point of having beautiful material for your couch, if you are going to cover it up and never see it?
Still, I typically use a case with my iPods, despite my reservations, because on balance I want to protect the device, especially the screen, from scratches and other potential damage.
The iPhone, however, is a different story. First, iPhone’s design is so elegant and striking that to cover it up with a case seems even more of a crime than with an iPod. A case also affects (probably negatively) how the iPhone feels when holding it to your ear for a call, something that is not an issue with an iPod.
The most critical factor is that you can’t cover up the iPhone screen with a case anyway. Because iPhone has a touchscreen, you need to be able to have your fingers come in direct contact with the display. A cover would prevent that. Added to that is that Apple did a great job of making the screen scratch-resistant. I have seen demos of trying to scratch the screen by scraping a coin across it; it had no effect. This means that the part of the iPhone you should be most concerned with protecting is the part that a case has no ability (and perhaps no need) to protect.
Making matters worse, a recent report on iPhone Atlas suggests that some cases may actually cause scratches and heat-related problems that would otherwise not occur.
I might consider something like Power Support Crystal Film Set for iPhone; it covers the screen, allows the touchscreen to still work and appears to be almost imperceptible. Even here though, it seems possible that the film might wind up getting “scratched” in a way that the glass itself would not, defeating the film’s purpose.
Bottom line: Get the iPhone; skip the case.