There aren’t many major iPod and iPhone accessory brands that haven’t brought—or tried to bring—their product lines to consumers in the United States. The launch of Japanese brand Simplism here enables us to cross one more name off the ever-shrinking list; the company has developed a dominant position on store shelves in Japan, as we noticed during our most recent visit there in November, and now it is bringing a massive collection of its products to American customers.
We’re going to be posting a bunch of First Looks shortly, but wanted to call out a couple of things that were noteworthy about the lineup as a whole. First, it’s unusual these days to see a company show up with a fully-formed family of quality products in matching, sharp packaging, ranging from cases to remote controls and simple electronics. For products that are made in China—a distinction from much of what has been developed and popularized by Japanese companies such as Power Support—Simplism’s lineup actually looks pretty nice.
There are little touches, such as polished metal against the leather cases, atypically clean tapering in the silicone cases, and Apple-inspired touches on one of the wall chargers (“Dual USB Charger Air”) that people will like. The company’s look is consistent at the very least, and at times, impressive.
On the flip side, the leather cases aren’t using the really expensive stuff, and some of the items have wonky seams, the goofy circular Apple logo cut-outs we dislike, or other imperfections. And there’s very little in the collection that we haven’t seen before in some similar form, with the exception of an iPod shuffle case and some of the design touches mentioned above. Some of the items will be of more interest and curiosity to iPod addicts, third-party designers, and our editors than to everyone else.
So why should this matter to the rest of our readers—or, at least those who check Backstage now and again? One reason: seeing an entire product lineup appear here at once was common in years past, but there wasn’t anything like that in the whole of 2009; releases slowed dramatically and companies were retrenching rather than growing. Simplism is making the sort of strong first impression over here that we haven’t seen from companies in a while, and we’re hoping that it’s the sign of better things to come from the rest of the iPod and iPhone world in 2010. It’s high time for the turnaround we’ve all been waiting for.
Updated: Here are a few of the more interesting items: