Today many people purchased new, nearly identical, iPhone 5s, at which point they will have to decide to case or not to case. Some might argue a case is just a case and nothing more. But we spend enough time flashing the exteriors of our iPhones, that they are the type of accessories that say something about us. They are also precious, yet we bring them with us everywhere, so there is a desire to protect them from the elements of a harsh world. Think about it this way: After you've had a terribly serious texting-while-walking accident that left nothing of your remains minus your iPhone, that choice is all the world will have to remember you by. "She had an iPhone case in the shape of a Nintendo," the police report will say. Still don't think it's a meaningful decision? Read on.
The No Case Risk Takers
These people think cases are for pansies and that iPhones are the power tools of our time. Having a case is the equivalent of covering a perfectly beautiful drill in some grotesque color: It's not the way the power tool-maker gods, with all their design taste intended it. These phone owners laugh in the phase of your "protection" b.s. What about scratches? Chicks dig scratches, they say. And in the event of total phone obliteration? YOLO.
There is also a subset of this group that like their devices slim. Some of these people might only own clutch purses. Or if it's a guy, like to keep their phone in a front pocket. They are willing to keep their phone as slim as possible and risk ruining this shiny thing to keep up their sleek lifestyle.
The Risk Averse: "It Looks Just Like an iPhone!"
They don't want to want to have a case for their phones. They wish they could be like the adventurers above, who probably leave their phones case-less while cliff jumping and going on upside-down rollercoasters. But they are not like that. They fear the accidents. Tell them phones still break with cases, it won't matter. It's the psychology of the case that gets them through the day, as they tote that phone up and down all those sharp edged stairs.
There is also a subset of this group that want to look too cool for iPhones. They don't want to seem like they care about its social meaning. So what if the case covers the emblematic Apple up. All the better! It's just a phone, they say as they carefully encase it, as to not shatter their beloved gadget.
The Digital Fashionistas
These people embrace the iPhone as a status symbol. They bought it because their hip friend had one and they wanted to use Instagram. Now, they must have the facade to match their being. Whatever case they own Jenna Wortham either has or will write about. It is "cool." Maybe because it is unique. Or it cost as much as the phone itself, or is made of a material that comes from the Earth, or is custom designed, or is from Etsy. It's possibly sold at a store that has no business selling electronics related things. It likely references something slightly obscure that the people you want to be like classify as cool.
The Less Fashionable Digital Fashionistas
These people like pretty things and the iPhone by itself it not quite pretty enough. They want to look good, but not necessarily different. They may have been quiet girls in high school. They get all of their clothing at mall-stores -- they like shopping, not fashion. As far as selection goes, they looked at the offerings at the Apple store and picked one that matched their "style."
The Utility Belt Wearers
These people are dads or are working out.
The Tech Geek Purists
These people live for specs. They are so turned on by the insides of a phone that they can't wait to strip it down. If it were up to them, all electronics would be clear. Theirs for certain will have no exterior and are the type of people who read nerdy tech blogs that teach them how to replace the normal back with a transparent rear glass panel. After they've gotten the phone looking the way a gadget should -- raw and natural -- they hope their exposed phone will lead them into conversations about the dual-core processor, or RAM, or pixels.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.