How to Make Older iPhones More Like iPhone 7Thinking about upgrading to the newly released iPhone 7? You might want to reconsider. Rumor has it that the 10th anniversary iPhone, due in fall 2017, will sport killer features such as an OLED display, a glass body, and wireless charging.
The iPhone 7 offers modest improvements over last year's 6s models: stereo speakers, longer battery life, improved camera (especially on the iPhone 7 Plus, with dual camera lenses); and water resistance up to 1 meter (about 3.3 feet) in depth. Still some of these features might appeal to you for business reasons—stereo speakers can make speakerphone calls sound better, for instance.
The answer? These 10 iPhone accessories can add certain iPhone7 features—amplified sound, longer battery life, improved camera function, and waterproofing—to your current iPhone. Just don't go overboard, or you may end up spending nearly as much on accessories as you would for an iPhone 7, which starts at $649.
Peri Duo Speaker Case iPhone AccessoryBefore the iPhone 7 and its stereo speakers, Apple's smartphone has never been known for pushing out great sound, whether it's for speakerphone calls, music or video. External Bluetooth speakers can enrich the audio experience from any iPhone—but then you've got another gadget to carry around.
The Peri Duo ($190) iPhone case combines integrated speakers with a 2900mAh battery for recharging your phone. Looking for a surround sound effect? You can stream audio simultaneously to up to 64 Duo cases (currently available for preorder in red, white, and black), according to the company.
The case can hit up to 110 decibels which, the developer says, is "almost as loud as a night club." Peri Duo will fit iPhone 6, 6s, 6 Plus, and 6s Plus iPhones and is due out imminently (the website says "estimated delivery Sept 2016").
Zagg iFrogz Acoustic Speaker Case iPhone Accessory
Best known for Bluetooth keyboards, Zagg recently released a speaker case for iPhone 6 and 6s models that it describes as thin, durable, and impact-resistant. The $40 case, available in six colors, promises to deliver sound that's more than twice as loud as the iPhone's internal speaker. The speaker case, which pairs with your iPhone over Bluetooth, comes with a built-in battery that Zagg claims will last up to two hours.
Speck Candyshell Amped iPhone Case iPhone Accessory
Speck, another contender in the amp-it-up iPhone case game, offers the $45 Candyshell Amped case. Available in five colors, the case promises to provide sound that's twice as loud as the internal speaker on an iPhone SE, 5, and 5s. The "totally natural amplification" is a result of redirecting the sound from the iPhone speaker through Speck's side speaker grill.
Mophie Juice Pack Wireless Charging Case iPhone AccessoryWireless charging fans don't need to wait for next year's iPhone. Mophie's Juice Pack Wireless, one of the wireless-charging battery cases already available, includes a wireless charging base. After inserting your iPhone into the Mophie case, you can recharge your iPhone by placing it on Mophie's charging base (or on wireless charging bases from other companies, Mophie claims).
The battery case will deliver more than 50 percent additional battery life to your iPhone, according to the company. The case/charging base costs $100 for an iPhone 6 or 6s and $130 for iPhone 6 Plus or 6s Plus.
Anker Ultra-Slim Battery Case iPhone Accessory
Anker claims that its 2850mAh battery case for iPhone 6 and 6s smartphones provides up to 120 percent extra battery life. That translates to 60 extra hours of audio, 17 hours of talk time over 3G, 13 hours of video, 12 hours of Internet surfing, or 3 hours of 3D gaming. The slim case weighs only 2.9 ounces and costs $47 on Amazon.
Trianium Atomic S Battery Case iPhone Accessory
Unlike the battery cases from Mophie and Anker, Trianium offers battery cases for iPhone 6, 6s, 6 Plus and 6s Plus in colors that include rose gold, white/turquoise, black/blue, and white/silver. The $80 cases promise "comprehensive protection" for your iPhone and include batteries with a 3100mAh capacity, which is a tad higher than some competitors.
Lepow Detachable Cell Phone Case and Battery iPhone AccessoryYou won't always need an external battery boost for your iPhone, of course. For those times, there's Lepow's battery case, which comes in two parts for a total of $40.
Part one: a case for your smartphone, and part two: a battery pack that magnetically attaches to the iPhone case and plugs into the Lightning adapter. The case lets you magnetically attach the 3000mAh battery pack when you need it, and remove it easily when you don't.
ExoLens with Optics by ZEISS iPhone AccessoryWith each new iPhone, Apple improves the camera. Some say the iPhone 7 and 7 Plus incorporate the best iPhone camera yet, with 12 megapixels, optical image stabilization, an f/1.8 aperture that pulls up to 50 percent more natural light (compared to an iPhone 6s) onto the sensor to enhance low-light photography; and a "quad-LED" flash with four LEDS to create a flash that's 50 percent brighter than the iPhone 6s's flash.
The iPhone 7 Plus includes two rear-facing lenses instead of the usual single lens, which lets you use the lens to zoom in on a subject vs. zooming via software, which degenerates image quality. One other iPhone 7 camera feature worth mentioning: a 7-megapixel front-facing (aka selfie) camera vs. the 5 megapixel cameras in the iPhone 6s and 6s Plus smartphones.
OK, now that you know what you're missing, you should also know about the plethora of camera lens add-ons for iPhones. Among the best is the ExoLens with Optics by ZEISS (a well-respected lens maker), a camera attachment available foriPhone 6 and 6s and iPhone 6 Plus and 6s Plus, both of which cost $200.
The ExoLens with Optics by ZEISS is a wide-angle lens that's the equivalent of 18mm, which can help you capture a wider landscape, group shot, or other image, vs. the iPhone 7's 28mm-equivalent lens and the iPhone 6/6s model's 29mm.
Moment Lenses iPhone AccessoryIf you're serious about upgrading your current iPhone's camera capabilities, consider Moment lenses. The lenses, each of which costs $100, include a superfish eye; a wide-angle lens (at 18mm); a telephoto lens (at 60mm equivalent); and a macro lens (which lets you get 10 times closer to a photographic subject).
You mount the lenses to your iPhone with an included mounting plate or with an optional Moment iPhone case. Prices range from $50 to $70.
Emily Price's review in MacWorld said that the Moment's lenses "really do help you take better photos," though the lens mounting plate "leaves something to be desired." You might prefer to attach Moment lenses to your iPhone via a Moment case.
FRE Waterproof iPhone Case iPhone Accessory
If you're concerned about dropping your older iPhone into the tub, pool, or toilet, a waterproof case is the way to go. Lifeproof claims that its FRE cases help your iPhone withstand submersion in up to two meters of water (or about 6.6 feet).
Compare that to up to 1 meter (or 3.3 feet) for the iPhone 7 and 7 Plus. Lifeproof makes cases in various colors for iPhone 5c, 5/5s/SE, 6 and 6 Plus, 6s and 6s Plus, and cases for the new iPhone 7 and 7 Plus are "coming soon." The cases cost $90 each.
James A. Martin writes about mobile technology for Small Business Computing, CIO, and other websites. Follow him on Twitter, @james_a_martin.
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These 10 iPhone accessories let you add certain iPhone 7 features, such as better sound, longer battery life, and water resistance, to your older iPhone.