When I first glimpsed the Highline, I teased, calling it “an almost spectacularly misguided idea.” The Highline is a curly cable which hooks into your iDevice’s 30-pin dock connector and keeps it safe from drops and attempted snatch-and-grabs. Despite my conclusions, the kind folks at Kenu sent one over to the Cult of Mac test labs to check out. And while I’d probably never have a use for one, it turns out that it does its job just fine.
The Highline has a sturdy cable inside its coiled cord, and this connects the 30-pin dock connector and a strong string loop on the other end. This loop can be hooked around anything, from your belt to the strap of a bag to a lanyard. The dock connector itself has a pair of sharp metal teeth which latch onto the iPhone’s internals, and can only be release by squeezing the buttons on the sides.
This is very similar to Apple’s own dock cables of yesteryear, which were standard until somebody realized that locking a charging cable firmly in place wasn’t entirely necessary.
The Highline is strong. If I grab both ends and pull on them like a would-be-muscleman pulls on a Bullworker, it doesn’t break. I guess I could have tied each end to a horse and gotten all Levi’s on its ass, but that seemed like overkill (also: I don’t have any horses). Yanking until my hands hurt seemed like a good enough test.
The Dock connector too is sturdy. It fits very snugly, and you really have to shove it home to engage the little teeth. It doesn’t feel like you’re on the cusp of breaking something, though — just as if you are using something made properly.
Finally, the whole thing is ultra-light: my kitchen scale says 6-8 grams, or just a quarter-ounce, which means that it’s essentially weightless to you or me.
The same thing which makes the connector so snug also makes it hard to remove. In theory, you should be able to squeeze the switches on the sides and the teeth would disengage, letting you slip the cable from the socket. In practice, you need to squeeze the thin, tapered sides of the plug and wiggle. You can’t get enough grip with a finger and thumb just to yank it loose, and there’s no space for more fingers.
I guess this is kind of good, in that the plug really, really won’t budge, but then again, shouldn’t the teeth be doing the work, not plain old friction?
I can think of only a few situations where the Highline might be useful: places with a high risk of pickpocketing would be one, and letting your kids play with your iPhone in a room with a hard floor would be another, but that’s about it.
That’s not the point, though. The point is that the Highline works. It holds tenaciously onto your iPhone, iPod Touch (or even your iPad) and won’t let go until you tell it to. And even then it needs some convincing. So, if you have a need to tether your iPhone (literally), and you also have a spare $20, then you should probably buy one.