iPhone 12 Pro Max Clear Case (MagSafe, 2020)

When Apple introduced all of the iPhone 12 models, they included a new method of wireless charging with an old name: MagSafe. Originally used for laptop power cables that used a magnet to safely attach and prevent a laptop from accidentally falling to the floor from a cord trip, this version of MagSafe used a strong magnet that caused an iPhone to fall to the floor with a cord trip. Thus, it is unknown why Apple continued to use the “MagSafe” name when no safety features were offered.

The case was crystal clear, and Apple specified that it resisted yellowing. The pattern on the back of the clear case was a white open circle with a downward dash. The downward dash allowed a MagSafe charger or an iPhone Leather Wallet with MagSafe to attach with the magnet and align perfectly.

According to Apple:

“Thin, light, and easy to grip — this Apple-designed case shows off the brilliant colored finish of iPhone 12 Pro Max while providing extra protection. Crafted with a blend of optically clear polycarbonate and flexible materials, the case fits right over the buttons for easy use. On the surface, a scratch-resistant coating has been applied to both the interior and exterior. And all materials and coatings are optimized to prevent yellowing over time. With built-in magnets that align perfectly with iPhone 12 Pro Max, this case offers a magical attach experience and faster wireless charging, every time. When it’s time to charge, just leave the case on your iPhone and snap on your MagSafe charger, or set it on your Qi-certified charger.”

This Clear Case is also pictured on an iPhone 12 Pro Max in Pacific Blue. Both items were purchased at the same time for my day-to-day use in November 2020.

Source: Apple

iPhone 12 Pro Max (256GB, Pacific Blue, 2020)

In 2020 Apple released four iPhone 12 models simultaneously: the iPhone 12, the iPhone 12 mini, the iPhone 12 Pro, and the iPhone 12 Pro Max. The four options offer two “regular” iPhone models in two sizes, the 12 and 12 mini; and two “Pro” iPhone models in two sizes, the 12 Pro and 12 Pro Max. Overall, three sizes were available: mini, “regular,” and Pro Max, since the iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 Pro were the same size. The iPhone 12 models had arguably bolder color options, while the Pro models included more refined shades of Silver, Graphite, Gold, and Pacific Blue. This example is an iPhone 12 Pro Max with 256 GB storage in Pacific Blue.

The iPhone 12 Pro Max had an edge-to-edge 6.7-inch screen referred to as a “Super Retina XDR” display with 2778 x 1284 pixels (458 ppi). The camera system on the iPhone 12 Pro Max included four separate cameras, three on the back and one on the front. Apple listed the camera specifications for the Pro Max model as follows:

  • Pro 12MP camera system: Ultra Wide, Wide, and Telephoto cameras
  • Ultra Wide: ƒ/2.4 aperture and 120° field of view
  • Wide: ƒ/1.6 aperture
  • Telephoto: ƒ/2.0 aperture (iPhone 12 Pro); ƒ/2.2 aperture
  • 2.5x optical zoom in, 2x optical zoom out; 5x optical zoom range
  • Digital zoom up to 12x
  • Night mode portraits enabled by LiDAR Scanner
  • Portrait mode with advanced bokeh and Depth Control
  • Portrait Lighting with six effects (Natural, Studio, Contour, Stage, Stage Mono, High‑Key Mono)
  • Dual optical image stabilization (Wide and Telephoto)
  • Sensor-shift optical image stabilization (iPhone 12 Pro Max Wide)
  • Five-element lens (Ultra Wide); six‑element lens (Telephoto); seven-element lens (Wide)

The TrueDepth Camera on the front gained many new features from previous front iPhone cameras. The 12MP camera had features including:

  • Portrait mode with advanced bokeh and Depth Control
  • Portrait Lighting with six effects (Natural, Studio, Contour, Stage, Stage Mono, High‑Key Mono)
  • Night mode
  • Deep Fusion
  • Smart HDR 3
  • HDR video recording with Dolby Vision up to 30 fps
  • 4K video recording at 24 fps, 30 fps, or 60 fps

Video recording features included:

  • HDR video recording with Dolby Vision up to 60 fps
  • 4K video recording at 24 fps, 30 fps, or 60 fps
  • 1080p HD video recording at 30 fps or 60 fps
  • 720p HD video recording at 30 fps

Sensors included Face ID, LiDAR Scanner, Barometer, Three‑axis gyro, Accelerometer, Proximity sensor, and an Ambient light sensor.

Apple described the iPhone 12 Pro Max finish as “surgical grade” stainless steel with flat stainless steel sides, a glass back, and a glass front with a “Ceramic Shield” cover for increased durability. The back had a MagSafe connector for wireless charging that used a magnet to attach a wireless charger (it is unknown why the term “-Safe” was used since the charger introduced no safety features).

The iPhone 12 Pro Max used the Apple A14 Bionic processor with 6 GB of RAM and 128, 256, or 512 GB of flash storage. Wireless connectivity included 802.11ax Wi-Fi, 5G wireless, Bluetooth 5.0, and NFC (for Apple Pay). Its only wired connection was a Lightning port.

My personal iPhone upgrade pattern had been established as upgrading to “major” model releases, but skipping the “update” models. For example, I would upgrade from the iPhone 6, skip the 6s model, and then upgrade to the iPhone 7. However, beginning with the iPhone 8, this pattern was broken when the iPhone X [ten] was released along with the iPhone 8—and no iPhone 9 was released. Since the iPhone X and the iPhone 8 were released simultaneously, I never used an iPhone 8. Thus, I went from the iPhone 7 to the X, skipped the XR, and upgraded to the iPhone 11. Apple broke the pattern again by jumping from the iPhone 11 to the iPhone 12, skipping what may have been called the iPhone 11S or 11R (following previous conventions).

Source: EveryMac, Apple

iPhone XR (packaging, 2018, 2020)

In 2020 Apple made a major change to its iPhone 12 packaging when they stopped including Lightning headphones and a wall power “brick” charger in the box at the time of an iPhone purchase. With these items removed, Apple was able to reduce the size of the iPhone box and reduce the extra packaging associated with the headphones and charger. It was announced that the iPhone 12 would ship only with the phone and a USB-C-to-Lightning charging cable.

Lisa Jackson, Apple’s Vice President of Environment, Policy, and Social Initiatives, announced at an October 2020 Apple event, “Customers already have over 700 million Lightning headphones, and many customers have moved to a wireless experience with AirPods, Beats, or other wireless headphones. And there are also over 2 billion Apple power adapters out in the world, and that’s not counting the billions of third-party adapters. So we are removing these items from the iPhone box.”

With the iPhone 12 announcement, I was not at all expecting this packaging change to also affect older, but still manufactured iPhone models. At the time of the iPhone 12 release, Apple was still offering the iPhone XR as a lower-end and less expensive iPhone option. Surprisingly, the iPhone XR packaging was also reduced in size and shipped without the headphones and charger. Also, the cable was switched to a USB-C-to-Lightning, replacing the former USB-to-Lightning option.

While the change may contribute to some environmental benefits, the situation was not universally accepted as positive. Some critics noted that, “The move saves the company money, but some of the environmental benefits could be offset by people buying earbuds and chargers separately” (The Verge). From a practical standpoint, some users—namely enterprise, government, and school districts like mine—had not switched to USB-C when this decision was made. As Apple indicated, it is likely that most users likely already have more than one charger and at least one set of Lightning headphones.

The photos here represent my school district’s iPhone XR upgrade affected mid-stream—where iPhone XR models purchased before October 2020 used “classic” packaging, and devices purchased in late-October/November 2020 unexpectedly used the new packaging without an announcement or warning.

Sources: AppleInsider, The Verge

iPhone 5c Case (Yellow, unopened, 2013)

The iPhone 5c Case was a unique design by Apple to protect the colorful and popular iPhone 5c. The case was made of silicone with a microfiber interior. It added a slight “lip” to the front of the case to protect the screen from contacting a surface when placed flat. This is a yellow example of the case unopened in the original packaging.

The case was available in the same colors as the iPhone 5c and also black: pink, yellow, blue, green, and white. Perhaps becuase the phones were made of polycarbonate, the case colors were somewhat more muted than the phone colors. The unique design of these cases includes a 5 x 7 grid of holes in the back of the case, allowing the iPhone color to show through. With five iPhone 5c colors and six cases, Apple noted that 30 color combinations were available; however, since most people only own and use one iPhone at a time, the number of combinations was likely only six for most users.

Many reviewers noted that the hole pattern in the case obscured the “iPhone” product name and changed it to read “hon.”

Source: MacWorld

iPhone 11 Pro Max Clear Case (2019)

The iPhone 11 Pro Max Clear Case is made for the iPhone 11 Pro Max and was touted as “Thin, light, and easy to grip.” According to Apple’s website:

“Made from a blend of optically clear polycarbonate and flexible TPU materials, the iPhone 11 Clear Case provides a solid, comfortable feel. The back is designed to be sturdy, while the sides are made from a softer, more flexible material that fits right over the buttons for an improved grip. And when it’s time to wirelessly charge, just leave the case on and set your iPhone on your Qi-certified charger. On the surface, a scratch-resistant coating has been applied to both the interior and exterior. And all materials and coatings are optimized to prevent yellowing over time.”

This is the case I used with my personal Midnight Green iPhone 11 Pro Max so I could fully enjoy the color of the iPhone while getting adequate protection. Although I seldom subject my personal iPhone to extreme conditions, I did have an unfortunate accident that tested this case while on an outdoor walk. The iPhone slipped out of my pocket on a steep, muddy hill, and the case protected well as it slid down a muddy and rocky hill. The case was scratched, but the iPhone remained completely unscathed.

Source: Apple

iPhone 6/6s Silicone Case [(PRODUCT)RED, 2014]

The iPhone 6 Silicone Case fit both the iPhone 6 and 6s, it featured contoured silicone buttons over the volume and Sleep/Wake buttons, and a microfiber lining.

This case was available in a variety of colors, including Mint, Lavender, Turquoise, Antique White, Roal Blue, Apricot, Light Pink, Midnight Blue, Charcoal Gray, Stone, Orange, Blue, Pink Sand, White, Yellow, and (PRODUCT)RED.

This example is in (PRODUCT)RED. As of 2020, Apple reports, “For 13 years, supporters of our partnership with (RED) have raised more than $220 million in funding for HIV/AIDS programs. Every (PRODUCT)RED purchase gets us closer to ending AIDS.”

Source: Apple

iPhone Bluetooth Headset cable (A1221, 2007)

The iPhone Bluetooth Headset cable is a unique 30-pin USB charging cable with an additional, offset magnetic charging port to accommodate the iPhone Bluetooth Headset. This allowed iPhone Bluetooth Headset users to charge both the original iPhone and the iPhone Bluetooth Headset from the same cable at the same time.

Source: Apple

iPhone Lightning Dock (black, 2015)

The iPhone Lightning Dock was a minimalist charging dock with a heavy base, protruding angled Lightning connector, and two ports on the back—a Lightning port and an audio jack to allow music to be played on a speaker or headphones.

The iPhone Lightning Dock was available in several colors during its lifetime, including white, black, silver, space gray, rose gold, gold, and “new” gold (to match an updated gold iPhone color). This example is black.

Apple described the Dock: “You can use it to charge and sync any iPhone that has a Lightning connector. Your iPhone sits upright in the dock as it syncs or charges, so it’s ideal for a desk or countertop. Even when your iPhone is in an Apple-designed case, it’s easy to dock. And you can unlock iPhone or use Touch ID without having to remove it from the dock.”

Although this Dock will also charge an iPad, its size and weight make it too unstable for everyday use. However, I sometimes use this Dock to photograph some of the iPad devices in my collection since its minimal design and slight angle works well for temporary use.

Source: Apple

iPhone Bluetooth Headset (2007)

The iPhone Bluetooth Headset shipped along with the original iPhone in 2007. The design was minimalist and the device included just one button to accept/decline calls; place a call on hold/switch to a call on hold; and power the device on/off. Although the cost was relatively high at $129, the headset shipped with two additional charging methods, a dock for the iPhone and the iPhone Bluetooth Headset (with a connected USB cable); and an additional 30-pin travel cable that charged the iPhone and included an extra port to charge the iPhone Bluetooth Headset simultaneously.

Although the iPhone Bluetooth Headset had very good sound quality, it could not be used for any audio features other than phone calls—no voice dialing features or the ability to listen to iTunes or other iPhone audio was possible.

An AppleInsider review listed four “Pros:” Elegantly slim and very lightweight design; Comfortable to wear; Includes a dock and extra travel cable; Easy to set up and use. The same review included four “Cons:” Limited range and battery life; No fancy phone control features or redial; No iPhone audio support apart from phone calls; No voice dialing support.

Original iPhone owners, me included, purchased the original iPhone for $599, a price considered high at the time. About a month after the original iPhone’s release when the product was clearly becoming a success, Apple dropped the price by $99 and issued early iPhone purchasers a $99 Apple Store credit. I used this credit toward the purchase of this iPhone Bluetooth Headset.

Source: AppleInsider

iPhone 4 Bumper Case (orange, 2010)

The iPhone 4 Bumper Case was released in 2010 along with the iPhone 4. Unfortunately, this case was placed in the middle of a famous and rare Apple public relations issue, “Antennagate.” The design of this case is very simple, a plastic and rubber bumper that surrounds the outer edges of the iPhone 4 providing drop protection, a gripping-rubber lip that prevents the front and back of the iPhone 4 from making contact with a surface when placed flat, and a barrier that prevents holding the phone in a manner that may affect antenna performance.

MacWorld described the bumper case: “It consists of a stiff, plastic band that covers the entire metal edge of the iPhone 4, combined with relatively tough rubber around the front and rear edges to hold the Bumper in place.”

Antennagate was a name given by the media to a phenomenon that was reported soon after the iPhone 4 release on June 24, 2010, where the cell phone signal would drop if the phone was gripped in a way that covered the integrated antenna. Apple’s reaction was to hold a press conference 22 days after the iPhone release, hosted by Steve Jobs, who confirmed the iPhone 4 issue (and mentioned the same issue was present on competitor phones), presented several customer purchasing and phone performance statistics, and offered the black version of this case for free (or refunded previous bumper case purchases).

Apple offered this case in black, orange, blue, pink, green, white, dark gray, and later, (PRODUCT)RED.

Sources: MacWorld (case program, review), PCWorld, AppleInsider