While I’d strongly advocate anyone that spends the money on a smartphone protect it with a case, when it comes to my iPhone I just can’t make do with the same boring bumper case or Otterbox that most of my coworkers have. I’ve experimented with several types of cases, but my hospital work attire and its lack of suitable pockets have always led me back to the various wallet-style cases in order to cut down on the things I have to carry with me.
The first wallet-style case I found was a simple accessory- a silicone-lined hard plastic case with a slot on the back that could hold debit/credit/identification cards. It offered decent protection against scuffs and allowed me to leave my wallet in my car during the day (or on simple outings). I’ve had a few variations on this style of case, from models that have a slot accessible from the top of the case to ones that you slide your cards into horizontally, along the volume control side of the iPhone. While it was advantageous being able to rely on my iPhone’s case to hold the important cards I use on a regular basis, the lack of any space for cash was a drawback. Ultimately, the desire for something a little more aesthetically pleasing led me to search a little more.
I’ve seen money clip-style cases, but they seem a bit bulky and to be honest I use my cards far more often than cash. Other wallet-style cases lacked some important feature, either functional or form. After a long online quest I finally found what I had been looking for: Twelve South‘s BookBook.
The BookBook product line has been engineered for the iPhone, iPad, Macbook Pro, and Macbook Air. In all of it’s versions, the BookBook has the outward appearance of an old, time-worn hardback book. Twelve South proudly advertises that no two BookBooks are exactly alike, and considering the quality of the product, from the feel of the leather to the careful stitching used I believe them. The iPhone version of the BookBook offers more than just classically stylish protection for your phone, however; when opened the case reveals your phone, three distinct card slots, and a hidden pouch behind them for cash. Your iPhone is held in place by fitted leather borders that leave all but the volume buttons accessible (and those can easily be adjusted through the casing). The iPhone is kept in its housing by a red tab that appears to be a bookmark when the case is closed.
The outermost card slot has a transparent plastic cover, making the card within visible (I use mine as the model depicted in the image, with my driver’s license in the outermost slot so that when asked for ID I don’t have to remove the card). The other two slots are reserved for my debit and most commonly used credit card; on occasion I’ve placed an additional card behind each when needed with no ill effects. While the cash pouch behind the card slots is handy, it isn’t for those that like to carry a lot of bills. Bills have to be folded to fit the slot, meaning that it will hold three, maybe four folded bills at the most.
One other caveat- the BookBook doesn’t have a port for the iPhone’s camera, so if you want to take a quick snapshot you have to slide your phone out of the case a couple of inches to free the lens from the housing. While it’s not a deal breaker, if you take a lot of pictures or video with your iPhone it will be inconvenient.
For an every-day case, the BookBook has been perfect for me. It fits all the categories I was searching for in an iPhone case: stylish, unique, and very functional. I get compliments on a regular basis for its function and appearance. I do admit it’s not the only case I use; for walking, running, or doing yard work I have a neoprene arm band-style case, and I keep a simple slimline case for the rare instances when I don’t need to consolidate my wallet and iOS device. The BookBook does add some bulk to the iPhone and requires an extra step to use the device, but I am still an enthusiastic advocate. The BookBook iPhone case is available at Apple retail stores or online via Twelve South’s webpage.