May 31, 2013 at 12:03 pm

IPhone Case Adds Bluetooth Music Controls


In addition to the LEDs for displaying customized alerts from your apps, Genii, currently seeking funding on Kickstarter, has dedicated music player controls that work with a variety of apps.

We’re going off on (at least) two jeremiads these days:

1. It’s too hard to collect music (scroll down on this page for our extended series of complaints, research, analysis, and advice on that front).

2. It’s too hard to switch the song you’re listening to, because you have to tap your phone way too many times, instead of just clicking a single button, the way you can with a CD player.

Regarding the latter complaint, I’m don’t know if Genii — “the only” Bluetooth-enabled iPhone case — is the answer, but it is an answer. I also don’t know if it will ever get made. In the past two days, it has raised $426 of the $379,200 in Kickstarter pre-orders its creators say they need to put it on the market.

Whether or not they succeed, the Genii team’s idea is intriguing, and we’ll probably see something like it get made eventually, unless Apple starts adding more buttons to its phones.

The main selling point of the Genii is its LED notifications, which can let you know if you have a text message waiting for you, from across the room. Those can be configured to reflect alerts from any app that uses push notifications, which is neat, but it’s not what concerns us here.

Nope — we’re all about those dedicated hardware music controls, which would add Play/Pause, Next Song, and Previous Song buttons to the iPhone’s current hardware controls for Volume Up and Volume Down. I’ve never used an iPhone case, because apparently I prefer to shatter parts of my phone every so often in return for a more comfortable pocket fit, but maybe if a case were capable of adding hardware music controls, I’d consider the trade-off — and I”m probably not alone.

From the official description,

If you’re anything like me then your favourite music tracks are all on your iPhone and those that aren’t you’ll stream on the go. Whilst the built-in controls for managing music on the iPhone are great, they can also be a little tricky to operate when you’re cycling, jogging, driving or when wearing gloves. I’ve often accidently [sic] pause a track or skip through a track, interrupting my listening rhythm, which can be particularly frustrating when listening to an audio book.

But the media control keys on the GENII makes accidents like these a thing of the past. Pressing play, pausing and skipping tracks are an absolute doddle [ed. note: These guys are English] – just push the buttons! We’ve made such a fuss about these buttons that we have designed them in a way that you’ll never press the wrong button again. We’ve been able to do this by tilting skip keys ever so slightly in opposite directions so that when your finger or thumb touches the key it instantly recognises it from any other key.

The media controls are compatible with many music and video apps available for your iPhone including the default iPhone Music app, BBC iPlayer, iPlayer Radio, Spotify,, Netflix, TuneIn Radio, Audiable [sic] and many more.

One annoyance about the Genii is that you have to charge its battery in addition to charging your iPhone. But for music fans who don’t like jumping through hoops to control their music, or who would like to skip, fast-forward, and rewind without even turning on their phone’s screen, plugging in that extra cable could be worth it.