Best iPhone accessories of 2016

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best_iphone_accessories
The ultimate companions for your iPhone.
Photo: Ste Smith/Cult of Mac

2016 Year in Review Cult of Mac This year’s iPhone upgrade might have been a little dull, but we saw plenty of exciting accessories for Apple’s iconic smartphone in 2016.

From awesome new AirPods to ultraportable virtual reality headsets, they all helped make iPhone 7 more exciting. Here are our favorite iPhone accessories of the year.

AirPods

AirPods
AirPods are finally shipping!
Photo: Apple

AirPods are finally shipping, and they’re a perfect match for your iPhone — especially if you have a new model without a headphone jack. They might be hard to get hold of right now, but there’s a good reason for that.

AirPods have been incredibly well-received by fans and critics, who are praising them for their simplicity and reliability. They pair with your iPhone and other iOS devices in just a tap, and thanks to Apple’s new W1 chip, they have great connection and battery life.

AirPods also work wonderfully with Siri, and they sound better than Apple’s wired EarPods.

Price: $159
Buy from: Apple

Belkin PowerHouse

Belkin Powerhouse
The ultimate dock for Apple Watch owners.
Photo: Belkin

If you have an Apple Watch, the Belkin PowerHouse is the perfect iPhone dock for your nightstand. Not only is it pretty, but it charges both your Watch and your iPhone using a single built-in AC cable. Its adjustable Lightning connector means you can use it with an iPhone case.

Price: $99.99
Buy from: Belkin

Gravitas dock

Gravitas dock
Gravitas works with all your iOS devices.
Photo: Henge Docks

The Gravitas from Henge Docks is super-sturdy and compatible not only with your iPhone, but also your iPad. It’s made from a zinc alloy that’s nice and weighty to prevent your devices toppling over, and it looks right at home on your desk alongside your other Apple gadgets.

The Gravitas’ USB port lets you charge and syncing; it also boasts an audio jack for stereo output. If you need a dock that accommodates all your iOS devices — even those with cases — it’s ideal.

Price: $69
Buy from: Henge Docks

Sphero BB-8

Battle-Worn BB-8 by Sphero with Force Band
Probably the best Star Wars toy you can buy.
Photo: Sphero

The BB-8 app-controlled droid was by far the coolest Star Wars toy you could buy in 2015, and this year’s upgraded version got even better. You can control it from your iPhone (or iPad) using on-screen controls or voice commands. Or you can use the accompanying Force Band, which you wear on your wrist so you can control BB-8 with a wave of your hand.

The cute little droid, updated with a “battle-worn” look that’s closer to its on-screen depiction in The Force Awakens, is designed to move just like the real BB-8, and it explores your home autonomously when you’re not in control of it. There’s even a built-in camera that lets you create holographic recordings.

Price: $149.99
Buy from: Amazon

Speck Pocket-VR Viewer

Speck Pocket-VR
Get virtual reality on your iPhone.
Photo: Speck

You can find a ton of different virtual reality headsets for iPhone, but the Speck Pocket-VR Viewer is the one you should get. What makes it so great? It folds away and easily fits inside your pocket, and it comes with one of Speck’s excellent CandyShell Grip cases.

Price: $69.95
Buy from: Speck

Belkin RockStar

Belkin Rockstar
A must-have for iPhone 7 owners.
Photo: Belkin

Living without a headphone jack on your iPhone 7 isn’t too painful until you want to charge your device and listen to music at the same time. That’s when you need the Belkin RockStar, which turns your single Lightning port into two for a charger and headphones.

The RockStar supports 12-watt pass-through to charge your iPhone at maximum speed, and up to 24-bit 48kHz lossless audio output for the best sound available. It also works with iPad if you want to use your Lightning EarPods there, too.

What are your favorite iPhone accessories of 2016?

These are our favorite iPhone accessories of the year. What are yours?

Let us know in the comments which iPhone accessories impressed you in 2016 — and why they made an impact.

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  • Undivided

    Why does the Rockstar have 2 lightining ports instead of one and a headphone jack? With both ports being lighting, I still need to carry around the apple adaptor.

    • Jack Hickman

      I was just wondering the same thing. What’s the point of even mentioning a headphone jack?

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      • Texas

        Lightning is a better universal interface. The death of the headphone jack will come to pass because wireless connectivity in general is better. Ask anyone that has bluetooth audio in their vehicle. Not too long ago you had to be physically connected to a printer to have a result, now you can print in full colour high res over WiFi, stream a movie to Apple TV with AirPlay in HD etc.