When I purchase just about any electronic gadget these days, I usually factor in the cost of at least a $20-$30 case to buy right along with it. When I went to purchase my 8GB iPhone Friday night, I considered its price to be $630, not $599; there was no way I was walking out of the Apple Store without some way to protect my shiny new gadget, even if I had to get some kind of super-stretchy iPod case to hold me over. Thankfully, my Apple Store was ready to roll with a healthy dose of both in-house and 3rd party accessories, including some from one of my favorite accessory and case manufacturers: Incase (who just recently re-launched their website, finally). With a few different hard rubber and leather case options available, I settled on the $29.95 Incase Protective Cover in black, and here is a mini-review. For those who want the cliff notes: it's a great case that fits the iPhone like a glove, flawlessly providing access to all the phone's controls and ports. I definitely recommend it. Check out our gallery for images of the case in action.
To expand a little: this Incase Protective Case is designed really well, and once applied to your phone it hardly shifts in place, despite being slightly flexible, though hardened, rubber. This isn't like the silicon cases from iSkin - it's pretty rigid. One drawback of the case though is the lack of any clear protective cover for the iPhone's display. Considering that PC World has done a pretty good job of exploring how strong, durable and apparently un-scratch-able the iPhone's display is in this video, you might not have to worry about it. Another alternative for protecting your iPhone's display, at least for now, would be to leave on the clear plastic sticker; that's what I did, and my phone touch UI seems to function just fine. If you've already tossed out that sticker, a pack of Crystal Film from Power Support, also available in Apple Stores for $14.95, might do the trick. I picked up a pack of this stuff but I'm honestly wary of using it since I still have the original clear sticker on my iPhone. If anyone tries that film stuff out, please comment with your experience.
Getting back to the case though, it also adds a level of grip-ability to the phone's otherwise sleek and possibly too-slick exterior. For anyone concerned about dropping the phone during calls or carrying too many groceries in at once, this case should add all the grip you need. However, one unavoidable drawback to this case - and likely every case made for the iPhone - is that the dock won't be usable without removing the case. Anyone who has used just about any case on their iPod probably won't be surprised by this. You'll either have to deal with removing your Incase Protective Case each time you want to sit your iPhone in its dock, or simply stick with using the cable altogether.
Ultimately, I highly recommend the Incase Protective Case. It's another successful effort from an established Apple accessory maker that protects (almost) everything that needs it, while still offering unhindered access to the iPhone's exterior controls and ports. I give the $29.95 cases a 5/5 rating, and you can see more pictures and colors here, as well as the rest of Incase's iPhone lineup here.