iPhone set to ring in 2009December 30, 2008: 2:02 PM ET
By Jessica Shambora
Yesterday Pattie wrote about some innovations in what I'll call "hand-warmth management" -- a timely topic, actually, given the surge in touch-enabled devices. Did you know that after a three-year reign as the top-selling handset, the Motorola (MOT) RAZR was toppled by the Apple (AAPL) iPhone in the third quarter of 2008? That's according to market researchers at NPD Group.
Refusing to buckle to the cold, I too had been trying to answer my iPhone with my nose and chin...until I discovered Freehands. These gloves have neoprene-like material on the tips of the index fingers and thumbs that flip off so you can peck away. There are also little magnets that handily hold the fingertip caps back.
Freehands are the invention of Josh Rubin, a New York City designer who is the son of a glove manufacturer and an arbiter of art, culture and technology via his Web site, Cool Hunting. He offers three styles of Freehands gloves -- fleece, stretch and leather -- but only one color: black. I've got the $30 Stretch version, made of spandex-nylon that blocks the wind and works equally well for walking to work or going for a run. A synthetic suede on the palm also helps me keep a grip on the phone -- and tempts me to wear the gloves all the time considering how often I've dropped my phone.
I'll have my Freehands with me on New Year's Eve in San Francisco. And as I ring in 2009, I plan to show off my favorite new iPhone app: the Party Whistle. It was designed by a friend of mine, Brendan Boyle, who heads up the IDEO Toy Lab, which conceives and designs toys for companies like Fisher-Price (MAT). He's also a partner at IDEO, the company behind that little mouse you're likely holding in your hand. Unlike most other iPhone apps, you don't touch or shake the Party Whistle to make it work. You blow air into it! Check out this video to see the app you really do not need for 2009. But hey, it's quirky and it's fun.