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Now that the World Cup is over, LeBron-Gate has passed, and everyone has all but forgotten about Tiger Woods, we've returned to our singular collective gadget sensation: the iPhone 4.
(Would you believe a recent Vanity Fair survey actually ranked the iPhone as the top voted replacement for apple pie as most identifiable American icon? Yes, we're apparently that obsessed.)
Over the last few years and upgrades, all of our smartphones — designed by Steve Jobs and crew or not — have gotten sleeker and smarter. Which is why we love these 5 value-packed smartphone accessories (and a few good apps!) that help smartphone addicts get the most bang for their bucks.
1. iFelt Upcycled Wool Media Pocket ($19, Uncommon Goods)
Using reclaimed industrial wool from weaving mills, these hip pouches are perfect for protecting electronics. iFelt lets you toss everything into your bag — even keys & encased phone in the same pocket — without worrying about scratching the screen of your brand-new gadget.
2. Recycled Candy Box Boombox for iPhone
($18, Urban Outfitters)
Have you ever seen a boombox upcycled from old candy boxes? Yeah, it does sound like a Project Runway challenge. That's why we love this iPhone/iPod boombox from Urban Outfitters. Plus, the under-$20 price point (for speakers!) and portable size certainly don't hurt.
3. Splitterbot Headphone Sharing Robot ($8, Think Geek)
So much cooler and more fun than traditional y-splitters, this robot-shaped headphone sharing accessory is both adorable and money-saving, and its great for sharing in-flight entertainment. Plus, you never have to chance touching someone else's earwax to your ear again!
4. Gemstone Ear Buds Headphones ($15, fred flare)
Without a built-in microphone, they might not be useful for showing off FaceTime, but still there's something about these blingy ear buds that just says "luxury" to us. And we're like magpies when it comes to shiny things. So what?
5. Magellan GPS Roadmate Premium Car Kit
A splurge, for sure, but this car adapter — which turns your iPhone or iPod Touch into a hands-free GPS for the car — is totally worth it. AAA members take 15% off at checkout, plus a free second-year warranty extension. The Roadmate practically pays for itself when compared to a traditional GPS: no more worrying about smashed windows and stolen GPS units, no additional gadgets, and even more radical, being able to find your car by reversing the original GPS directions on a phone that you already have with you.
There are also tons of great — free! — apps to improve your smart phone experience. Here are a few of our faves:
One of our all-time favorite apps is Pandora, especially now that it can run in the background on the iPhone OS. For discovering new and indie bands, we also love the live streaming radio app from WERS at Emerson College.
Google Maps Mobile is a free GPS app available for iPhone, Android, Blackberry, and many others, and has many of the same features, like Street View, that make Google Maps awesome in the first place.
HopStop is the original "getting around" web tool for urban dwellers, providing directions for walking and taking public transportation. In addition to the free HopStop iPhone app, the website also provides free directions for other smart phone users through the mobile version of their website at HopStop.mobi or by SMS.
Literally do-it-yourself, Google also recently released the App Inventor for Android, which allows you to create your very own Android apps — no coding experience required!
Or, check out our coverage of eHow.com's smart phone apps and mobile versions, which leverage DIY content from the popular website: like step-by-step videos with tips for changing a flat tire.
Story & Image: Copyright 2010, Shoestring LLC.