If there’s one thing I’m sure of when it comes to Apple, it’s that the company prides itself with its effective combination of utility and style, producing electronics that provide a simple but highly effective user experience with a lot of visual appeal. One of its most popular products, the iPhone, is the epitome of people’s genius when it comes to smartphone technology, captivating the world with over 37 million units sold in just the first quarter of 2012.

With that big an audience, tastes range from the practical mundane to the outright unusual. Among them are people like me, whose preferred aesthetics just couldn’t be contained in the simple elegance of the iPhone. Thus, third party designers have since jumped on this, creating the craziest cases to cater to the quirky ones like me.

1 – Electrical Outlet – This case for the iPhone 4/4S by Speck Products can be a source of electric exchanges between friends with its striking white socket design.

 The case itself is a lightweight hard plastic shell with a fabric exterior for an easier grip.

By – Speck Products | Price: $39.95.

2 – Stainless Steel Real Tree Camo – iNoxCase brings heavy duty protection in this iPhone 4 stainless steel case. Made out of the same stainless steel used in the St. Louis Gateway Arch, there should be no worries of rust and scratches on the case or on the iPhone itself.

The rotating visor can cover the screen while still showing a slit for time and call checking. It can also be used as a stand for watching videos on a flat surface. The Home button, the camera, and all the docks aren’t obstructed, so you can take pictures and charge the phone without having to take the whole case off. The wood camo is perfect for the adventurous out there.

By – iNoxCase | Price: $45.99

3 – iMeshi Sushi Case – Mobile phone accessories site Strapya has got me and every Japanese food lover drooling with its ultra-realistic sushi cases. These mouth-watering covers were delicately handcrafted by plastic food manufacturer Suetake Sample for the iPhone 4. The attention to detail is unbelievable so I wouldn’t be surprised if anyone hungry would pick it up hoping to get his or her fill.

This level of authenticity has its drawbacks, though. The most obvious one is that these cases are very bulky so they won’t fit into small pockets. Another flaw is that they completely cover the camera at the back, making picture-taking with these cases a little bit of a hassle.

By – Imesh | Price: $50.60

4 – Chocolate Case – Following the food case trend is this sweet-looking chocolate bar case for the iPhone 3G/3GS and 4/4S.

Being a chocolate fan myself, its rich brown soft exterior is more to my taste, and the screen protector is a nice bonus. Apparently, it also comes in packaged as if it were a real chocolate bar!

By – USBfever | Price: $29.99

5 – Waterproof Case – Although not exactly “unusual” in a visual manner like the previous cases, this Japanese-made case by Sanwa might raise eyebrows with its concept. As much as I like bringing my iPhone with me, I don’t quite feel the need to go swimming with it.

The black rubbery case for the iPhone 3G/3GS and 4/4Ssupposedly has a watertight seal as demonstrated in the video on the product’s website. After dropping it in water, everything still works fine when they swipe across the protected touch screen. You can even listen to music under water with the waterproof jack for waterproof earphones.

By – Sanwa | Price: $40

6 – Soft Fabric Case – The appropriately-titled Italian company Pijama offers a variety of cozy and colorful cases for the iPhone.

 With patterns inspired by almost anything imaginable, there’s no running out of trendy designs to tuck in any iPhone model.

By – Pijama | Price: $24

7 – Cardboard Recession Case - This humorously humble cardboard case by Casemate reflects the economically trying times a lot of people are currently in.

Casemate has its tongue firmly in its proverbial cheek, offering a “Bailout Bundle” and a “Stimulus Package” for those financially-troubled owners of top-of-the-line high-tech iPhones.

By – Casemate | Price: $1.10 for 1 case

Bailout Bundle – $8.75 for 10 cases

Stimulus Package – $16.40 for 30 cases

8 – Golden Delicious Case – For the 1% of the world embracing their good fortune in this global recession, GnG came up with this ridiculously luxurious case.

It boasts of being made of 140g of 18 carat gold for the case, 200 diamonds on one side, 400 diamonds on the logo on the outer frame which can be customized, and a carbon fiber inlay.

This is the ideal iPhone case for Jason king.

By – GNG | Price: $116,000

9 – Mophie Juice Pack– Out of all the unusual iPhone cases listed here, this is the most useful. This slim neon green rubber case actually doubles as a back-up battery, doubling the iPhone 3G/3GS’s entire battery life!

 When using it, the Juice Pack gets drained first before the iPhone’s so it can be removed for charging, and the iPhone still has a full battery. Charging both the Juice Pack and the iPhone is also possible with the USB cable. Mophie also made sure the case doesn’t block the speakers, the microphone and the camera. This Apple certified case is as good as it gets, tastes be damned.

By – Mophie | Price: $110

10 – The Hand Case – Japan gets my attention once again with this case by Rakuten. Looking distinctly real, the hand attached at the back is there to provide a “human touch”.  With the phone face down, it can also hold pens and glasses and what have you.

It actually comes in two versions – “Nami”, which is a replica of a woman’s hand, and “Yamato”, which is a replica of a child’s hand. Nami obstructs the camera, unlike Yamato which leaves some space because of its smaller size. Personally, this is as strange as it gets.

By – Rakuten | Price: $69 for both versions

The iPhone can certainly stand on its own, but it doesn’t hurt to make it stand out with these awesomely strange cases.

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About the author: Jay Manangan is a marketing consultant for Repair Labs. An industry-recognized specialist in HTC, iPhone and iPad accessories as well as iPad and iPhone repair.

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