I'm a huge fan of Twelve South, the South Carolina-based firm that exclusively sells Apple accessories of all kinds. I've previously written about their wooden MacBook stand, the BookArc möd, and the iPad version of its minimalist SurfacePad cover.
This week, the company came out with a pair of sequels to existing products.
The HiRise Deluxe is a new version of Twelve South's original HiRise, an iPhone and iPad mini stand that I personally have on my nightstand for my iPhone 6 Plus (previously my iPhone 5s). The big advantage of the HiRise over other stands is that it's very adjustable for use with different cases.
The iPhone (or iPad mini, though that's a little unstable) basically sits on a Lightning cable that pops out of the middle of the stand, leaning on a wedge of aluminum for stability. It's easier to look at than to explain, so see the picture above for how it looks. The Lightning cable can be moved up and down slightly to accommodate for cases that recess the phone, like the Otterbox Defender. The rear can be moved backward to fit a bulky case.
Here's where the new Deluxe really shines. The original HiRise, while very elegant, was terribly difficult to put together and to adjust. It involved using allen wrenches (included) to loosen and tighten screws on the underside of the device. While taking inspiration from Ikea is great, it meant that users needed to keep the allen keys around if they ever wanted to adjust their iPhone stand.
With the new model, however, Twelve South has installed a new thumb screw mechanism to move the rear of the stand, meaning it can be easily adjusted for larger and smaller cases. My wife, who set it up for her side of the bed, said the hardest part was getting the box open. So, it's much better. It also includes both Lightning and micro-USB cables, an improvement from the original HiRise that required the use of an original Apple-made Lightning cable.
This means it can be used with battery-charging cases like the Mophie lineup — or with standard phones in cases or naked.
There's also a new gold color option, along with black and silver, to match the various shades of iPhone. Including the Lightning and micro-USB cables, the HiRise Deluxe is $60 (USD) from Twelve South's website.
Also available this week is the updated SurfacePad for iPhone 6 and 6 Plus. If you've ever used Apple's Smart Cover for the iPad, it's a lot like that. It's an ultra-slim leather case that sticks to the back of the iPhone sort of like a screen protector, and it protects the front and back of the device with black, tan, red, or white Napa leather.
With the larger iPhone, Twelve South was able to include a pair of credit card-sized slots in the front cover, enough to hold a drivers license and credit card for traveling light during a night out on the town.
It's an excellent case for someone looking to keep their iPhone as small as possible, while adding a little protection and perhaps a splash of color.
My biggest complaint isn't something Twelve South can do anything about. The iPad version uses magnets to hold itself shut when closed and activate the screen automatically when opened. This is because Apple has built magnets into the screen of every iPad, specifically for its own Smart Cover case. There are no such magnets in the iPhone, and so my case doesn't always want to stay closed when it's lying on a desk. It's a small issue, one that should go away as it breaks in, but some users may find it annoying.
The case is removable from the iPhone and can be reapplied numerous times, as long as the sticky part is kept clean.
The SurfacePad for iPhone 6 is available from Twelve South's website for $40 (USD) in black, tan, red, or white. The iPhone 6 Plus model is $50 (USD) with the same colors.
What iPhone/iPad accessories do you think are a must-have to protect your mobile device(s)? Share your opinion in the discussion thread below.
Jordan Golson is an Apple Columnist for TechRepublic. He also writes about technology and automobiles for WIRED and MacRumors. He has worked for Apple Retail twice and has been writing about technology since 2007.