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Kickstarting the ultimate iPhone case: A photo story

In spite of its good looks, the iPhone regularly gets covered up by some of the world’s most hideous cases. A new Kickstarter project has fixed the problem, and we've got photos.
By Jason Hiner, Editor in Chief
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AL13 Aluminum iPhone Case

While the iPhone itself is a head-turner, it regularly gets covered over by some of the world’s ugliest cases. A surprising Kickstarter project has designed a new case that feels like it could have come from Apple. It's called the AL13 and now that it has delivered on time to its Kickstarter supporters, it's also available for sale to the public

Pictured here is the limited edition green AL13 that was only available to early Kickstarter supporters. The standard AL13 is available for iPhone4/4S or iPhone 5 and comes in five colors—silver, black, red, blue, and gunmetal.

For the inside story on the AL13, read The iPhone case Apple should have built: Now on sale.

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AL13 Kickstarter page

At the end of 2012, Lester Mapp and Jeremy Foster built a prototype of the iPhone case they always wanted and tossed it up on Kickstarter on December 28. They needed $20,000 to get the project off the ground and they set a Kickstarter deadline of six weeks.

It blew past $20,000 within 10 days. By the time the Kickstarter campaign ended on February 13, it had over 1,400 supporters and had raised $86,250.

For the inside story on the AL13, read The iPhone case Apple should have built: Now on sale.

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AL13 launch video

Lester Mapp, left, is the CEO of Designed by M, and Jeremy Foster, right, is the head of marketing. This was the video they did introducing their AL13 iPhone case when they launched it on Kickstarter. You can watch the video here.

For the inside story on the AL13, read The iPhone case Apple should have built: Now on sale.

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AL13 - The original four colors

On Kickstarter, the AL13 was available in four colors: black, red, silver, and green (a limited edition color only for Kickstarter supporters). It was $45 to get in the door as a supporter and select your color, but it was $65 if you wanted the limited edition Kickstarter-green version.

For the inside story on the AL13, read The iPhone case Apple should have built: Now on sale.

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AL13 - Barely there in silver and black

The elevator pitch is that the AL13 "offers protection without altering the look of your iPhone 4 or 5." You can see that barely-there look here with the silver case on the white iPhone 5 and the black case on the black iPhone 5.

For the inside story on the AL13, read The iPhone case Apple should have built: Now on sale.

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AL13 - The shipping box

The AL13 looks like a product that could have been designed by Apple, starting with the packaging.

For the inside story on the AL13, read The iPhone case Apple should have built: Now on sale.

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AL13 - Opening the box

Again, opening the box has that Apple-like unboxing feel. However, remember that Apple has an entire department that's focused on delivering a simple and powerful unboxing experience.

For the inside story on the AL13, read The iPhone case Apple should have built: Now on sale.

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AL13 - Screen protector included

The AL13 includes a screen film.

For the inside story on the AL13, read The iPhone case Apple should have built: Now on sale.

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AL13 - Unboxing

Here's our first look at the black aluminum box that contains the AL13 itself.

For the inside story on the AL13, read The iPhone case Apple should have built: Now on sale.

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AL13 - Back of the container

The AL13 and its packaging contain recyclable materials, as explained on the back of the box.

For the inside story on the AL13, read The iPhone case Apple should have built: Now on sale.

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AL13 - The metal box

Here's a close-up of the AL13's metal container.

For the inside story on the AL13, read The iPhone case Apple should have built: Now on sale.

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AL13 - Opening up the metal box

The metal container slides open to get to the AL13.

For the inside story on the AL13, read The iPhone case Apple should have built: Now on sale.

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AL13 - Inside the metal box

Inside, the AL13 is securely held in place with foam so that it doesn't get damaged while shipping but still uses highly recyclable materials.

For the inside story on the AL13, read The iPhone case Apple should have built: Now on sale.

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AL13 - Completely opening the metal box

Here's the whole metal box disassembled.

For the inside story on the AL13, read The iPhone case Apple should have built: Now on sale.

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AL13 - Revealing the case

And now, here's the AL13 out of the box and the desk.

For the inside story on the AL13, read The iPhone case Apple should have built: Now on sale.

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AL13 - Bottom of the case

Here's the bottom of the AL13, which is where it slides out for a tool-less assembly.

For the inside story on the AL13, read The iPhone case Apple should have built: Now on sale.

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AL13 - Case and white iPhone

The green AL13 sits next to a white iPhone 5, which will be the first phone that gets a go with it.

For the inside story on the AL13, read The iPhone case Apple should have built: Now on sale.

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AL13 - Tool-less operation

This shows the sliding mechanism that gives the AL13 its tool-less operation.

For the inside story on the AL13, read The iPhone case Apple should have built: Now on sale.

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Green AL13 on the white iPhone

Take a look at the limited edition green AL13 on the white iPhone 5.

For the inside story on the AL13, read The iPhone case Apple should have built: Now on sale.

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AL13 - Compared to a standard bumper

This shows the AL13 in comparison to an iPhone with a more common bumper case.

For the inside story on the AL13, read The iPhone case Apple should have built: Now on sale.

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AL13 - Comparing looks with a standard bumper

Here's another look comparing an iPhone with the AL13 to one with a more standard bumper.

For the inside story on the AL13, read The iPhone case Apple should have built: Now on sale.

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Green AL13 on a black iPhone 5

And, here's a look at the green AL13 wrapped around a black iPhone 5.

For the inside story on the AL13, read The iPhone case Apple should have built: Now on sale.

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AL13 case on an iPhone 5

Here's one more look at the AL13 on an iPhone 5.

For the inside story on the AL13, read The iPhone case Apple should have built: Now on sale.

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