No one with design on the brain likes putting his iPhone in a case, but it’s a necessary evil. Sure, Jony Ive is one of the greatest industrial designers alive, and covering up one of his designs with a plastic case is like wrapping an Eames chair in bubble wrap. But if you had to fish your valuable, immaculate Eames chair out of your pocket or your purse 20 times a day, maybe you would. Obscuring a design is a small price to pay for protecting it from harm. Right?
Not necessarily. I haven’t used a case for years, and I don’t intend on putting my iPhone 6 in a case either. But that’s not to say I don’t protect my iPhone: I just don’t choose protection that would otherwise obscure the clean lines, sleek profile, or beautiful finish of Apple’s design. Unless you’re clumsy or extremely unlucky, I think you can get away with protecting your iPhone with just a simple glass screen protector, and maybe–maybe!–a sticker or veneer on the back.
For screen protectors, I really like Spigen’s Glas.tr line-up of all glass screen protectors and its already selling protectors for the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus. They are totally foolproof to apply: you just peel off the back, place the protector on top of your iPhone’s display, and press the middle of the screen protector to bond it to the screen. At 0.2mm, these screen protectors are incredibly thin, and because they are made of tempered glass, using an iPhone with a Glas.t screen protector is as invisible to the touch as it is to the eye. It feels like going bareback. And Spigen’s already selling a glass screen protector for the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus, so you may as well get one.
Just using a glass protector eliminates about 90% of the reason anyone feels they need a case to begin with, which is to protect the screen from shattering. Having an extra layer of peel-off glass sitting on top of your iPhone 6 screen means that if your phone goes tumbling to the ground, the trivial-to-replace protector is what will crack, not your iPhone’s hard-to-replace screen. Unless you run your iPhone over with a car or hit it with a hammer, a glass protector pretty much makes your iPhone screen invulnerable.
For most people, that’s probably enough, but if you also want to protect the aluminum back of your iPhone from getting scratched, Glas.t screen protectors also come with a transparent sticker you can slap on the back. Or you can do what I did. I love the interplay of wood, aluminum, and glass in a gadget, so I have a stick-on Zebrawood veneer stuck to the back of my iPhone 5. I love it, and it affords another level of protection if I drop my iPhone to the ground, albeit at the expense of a clear view of the back of the phone. The company I used to buy my wooden backs from, Monolith, is sadly out of business, but companies like Grovemade often come out with wood veners for new iDevices, and if you want something more invisible, Xtreme Guard is selling a transparent guard for the back of the iPhone 6 that organically wraps around the edges of the device.
These are just a couple suggestions: as the iPhone 6 takes a dominant position in the smartphone market, more and more accessory makers will be releasing products that iterate upon the ideas above. The point is, you don’t have to use a case. Sure, you might want to. Maybe you think of a case as a fashion accessory, or maybe you have such a super-active lifestyle that any slab of glass and silicon would immediately get destroyed unless it was entombed in a waterproof block of rubber and plastic. But most people don’t need to consider a case. You can easily protect your iPhone’s design without obscuring it.