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Go swimming with your iPhone or iPad with waterproof cases

Water and technology typically don’t go well together… unless you have a waterproof case. If you thought your iPad was only for couch surfing while watching Celebrity Rehab, think again! During Macworld | iWorld, an underlying theme emerged of using your iDevices in the great outdoors. Contrary to common belief, geeks like to go camping, too! With cases from Watershed and Dry Case, you can keep your iPad or iPhone protected while swimming, fishing, kayaking or even scuba diving!

Even if you’re not into the whole connecting with nature shtick, waterproof cases are ideal if you live in rainy or snowy climates, such as Seattle. You’d be absolutely shocked how easy it is to trip Apple’s moisture sensor. I know at least a half dozen folks who set off the sensor with sweat. If something goes wrong and the sensor is tipped, Apple isn’t sympathetic, to say the least. With a waterproof case, you can ensure your iDevice stays moisture-free and is entitled to Genius repairs without forking over the $200 replacement fee.

Watershed iPad Case

Watershed originally manufactured waterproof cases and bags to support the U.S. Navy Seals. So if their cases are good enough for the Seals, chances are it's good enough for your needs, too. The company started their waterproof bags back in 1980 when they were white water rafting. Back then, dry bags weren’t as intuitive and were a pain to use. After having to dry their gear after every excursion, the Watershed folks designed the ZipDry bag. The ZipDry bag closes similarly to a ZipLock freezer bag, which keeps moisture out of the bag, even while underwater.

Watershed’s fabric is unique in that the company doesn’t use the “environmentally toxic” PVC-coated fabrics. Instead, their bags use a chemically stable polyurethane coating, which is much more flexible and abrasion resistant. According to Watershed, it’s all about the details. Their products are almost “seamless” because they use radio frequency energy to weld the seams of their DryBags. You’ll notice the seams are overlapped and don’t use stitches, making them more secure than regular bags. In addition to their iPad bag, Watershed makes duffles, kayak bags, boat bags, backpacks, sportsman series and accessories.

The Watershed iPad case is surprisingly light and rustic, while fully protecting your tablet from the elements. During our review test, the iPad didn’t get a single drop of water on it while in the case being used in a Jacuzzi. When sealed properly, the Watershed iPad case can be submerged in water up to 300 feet. We weren’t feeling too risky, though, and didn’t dare submerge it in water on purpose. However, to test the product, we placed a piece of cardboard in lieu of an iPad in the DryBag® and submerged it in 4 feet of water for a few minutes. The cardboard remained dry as can be, without a single drop of moisture on it.

Using the iPad in the case was also surprisingly easy. We queued up a video and watched it while in a Jacuzzi. At first, it looks as if the plastic window blocks the iPad’s touch sensitive screen. Surprisingly, playing Scrabble and other non-action games while inside the case was flawless. However, you do have to press on the tablet slightly harder than you normally would. Besides recreational uses, the case is ideal for folks on the field using their devices outdoors. Overall, though, the Watershed iPad case receives high marks for usability, design and function. It is available in black, blue, clear, green, red and yellow.

DryCase for iPhone

Most likely, your iPhone goes wherever you go, including the water. The DryCase Waterproof iPhone case uses vacuum technology to keep your phone water-free. The case is crystal clear, so you can take photos while the phone is in the case. The DryCase is meant for people who are on-the-go and can’t live without their phone. Perfect for surfers, skiers, swimmers and beachgoers, the waterproof iPhone case includes a wristband and can be submerged in up to 100 feet of water for 1 hour. Surprisingly, the case includes access to the headphone/microphone jack, which people can use with the company’s waterproof headphones.

Inserting your phone into the DryCase is simple but requires a bit of finesse. Once your phone is inside, use the included vacuum pump to remove air from the case. Interestingly, your phone is 100 percent functional when in the case, as the plastic is flush against the screen, so the touch functionality isn’t compromised. If you leave a bit of air inside, you can also take and receive calls, too! Using their technology, the DryCase is still water resistant even with the headphone jack exposed. When active, simply use the included lanyard to keep your phone with you while on the go.

For more of Allvoices' coverage of Macworld | iWorld 2012, check out allvoices.com/macworld2012.