Those pesky iPhones can sometimes act like little kids or pets, seemingly wandering off on their own. An iPhone can easily slip out of a pocket unnoticed, do a backflip out of a purse or backpack, or fall from a hand while you're taking a photo. Designers at Kenu took notice of this tendency and came up with the idea of the Highline case and security leash (US$34.95, available for pre-order with delivery beginning at the end of April) to keep your favorite smartphone from walking off or jumping away from you.
The Highline is made up of two pieces: a clear polycarbonate case to keep your iPhone protected, and a coiled leash with a clip on one end and a Kevlar loop on the other. The idea is that you put the iPhone into the case, clip the leash onto it -- there's a special little notch on the case that receives the clip -- and then use the Kevlar loop to attach the other end of the leash to a zipper pull, belt loop, purse strap, or another fixed spot.
The leash stretches quite a bit, so using the iPhone for talking or even taking photos at arm's length is not an issue. If you drop your iPhone, you can be fairly sure that it's not going to hit the ground; when connected to my belt loop, the iPhone only dangled down to my knees when I let go of it.
The clip is a brilliant design. There's a small tab that goes into the Lightning port on the iPhone 5/5s, while the other side of the clip has a bump on it that fits into the notch that I referred to earlier. While it securely holds onto the bottom of your iPhone, it's not hard to remove -- just use your thumb to lift up the clip from that notch on the back of the case, and pull.
When I saw the Kenu Highline for the first time, my first thought is that I wish it had been available for me when I was on my recent trip. We spent some time in a major South American metropolitan city where pickpockets are quite common, so I left my iPhone in the safe in the hotel room while I could have been using it to take photos and looking at maps. With the Highline, I would have felt more confident that the iPhone would have remained with me.
The Kevlar loop will be familiar to anyone who has put a wrist strap onto a point-and-shoot camera before. Kevlar makes it much more durable than the usual string that's used, and I found that it seemed easier to loop onto things and remove as well than the string loops.
Finally, I like the clear plastic case. I have a gold iPhone 5s, and it's usually hidden in a Mophie Juice Pack Air case. It's nice to actually get to see that beautiful gold finish in the Highline case.
The Highline is a really smart idea, and Kenu has done a bang-up job of bringing the idea to reality. While the case won't be available until the end of April, I think it's a brilliant product for anyone who wants to keep a constant leash on their iPhone 5 or 5s. Me? I'm planning on using this while at Macworld/iWorld 2014 this week.