Leather iPod and iPhone cases just keep appearing, and we keep on checking them out in hopes that something new and exciting will rock our world. Today, we’re looking at five new case designs from Capdase, CoverCase, JAVOedge, PDO, and XtremeMac; they range in price from $15 to $30 and vary quite a bit in features, but they all are similar enough to prior, competing products that we’re only briefly covering each one.
The last of our case reviews today looks at XtremeMac’s Verona Holsters for iPod classic and iPod touch ($30 each), photos of which say almost as much as long-time iPod owners need to know about these cases. Back in 2002, an iLounge editor described this case design—once found as a free pack-in with iPods, and not popular when Apple sold it separately—as follows:
“There’s not much to say about the case. It’s ordinary looking, has an attached belt clip and sports a U-shaped nylon design with thick backing. The case covers the iPod’s face and buttons, so using the remote is necessary when the unit is in the case. One thing I do not like about the case is that it leaves the sides of the device exposed. It would break my heart to see the side of my iPod scratched, especially if it were in a case that’s supposed to be protecting it. My advice to anyone serious about keeping their iPod in good condition is to go online and look for a case that covers the entire device. The iPod case market is already fairly large, and many have been reviewed… However, if iPod preservation is not your top priority, the included case will certainly suffice.”
Five and a half years have passed since we published those words, and yet Verona Holster has made almost no advancement: it is, quite simply, a leather version of the old nylon Apple case. The differences are basically cosmetic, not functional: the boring black nylon has given way to embossed black leather or stitched brown leather on the front—the back’s still plain—the spring-loaded rear belt clip has been replaced with a fixed position one, and the U shape has been slightly altered, with a bottom mini U of leather connecting two I’s of leather-covered cardboard. XtremeMac’s logo tag, hidden on the inside, is actually more interesting than the entirety of the outer case design.
Because of the varying iPod thicknesses, and the fact that XtremeMac uses leather rather than elastic for the Verona Holster’s sides, the company makes different versions for the 80GB and 160GB classics, as well as another one for the iPod touch—they’re all basically the same case, each padded with a soft suede interior and transforming the video-ready iPods in the same way. You can’t use the screen or controls, and basically just pop the iPod in when music’s playing and listen through the headphone port.
As our editor noted, the idea wasn’t great back then, and it’s certainly no better now, with video and games becoming increasingly important to iPods, and both screen and control access consequently more critical than ever. Other companies had already figured out how to make much better cases than this five years ago, and even subsequent holster makers have avoided leaving the iPod’s top, sides, and bottom so open; consequently, XtremeMac’s decision to churn such uninspired cases out is mostly mystifying. For $30 a pop, we’d more than pass on these cases; if it wasn’t for the look of their leather and stitching, we’d consider these bad by contemporary standards. It’s time for mediocre, inconvenient and pricey holsters like this to be put to rest.
Company and Price
Model: Verona Holster
Compatible: iPod classic, touch