Look at this iPhone case.
Just look at it.
As someone who spent years reviewing gadgets and covering every new piece of shiny, I generally don’t let myself get worked up over doodads and whatnots anymore. With rare exception, they just don’t live up to whatever hype I’ve churned up in my head. If this thing works anywhere close to what they’re promising, however, I’m going to throw all of my money at it.
Okay, okay — I’m burying the lead under a mountain of enthusiasm. That thing you’re looking at up top is the iCache Geode. Much like any of the myriad iPhone cases that hold your credit card, it wants to kill your wallet. Unlike those cases, however, it isn’t limited to just one or two cards at a time. It wants to hold all of them. How? By recreating them, on the fly.
Sitting in the back of the case is a rewritable credit card — a blank canvas, of sorts. You swipe your standard credit cards (with the included reader) to store them within the companion application, then stuff them in a filing cabinet somewhere. Then you pick your card’s virtual replacement within the app, and the rewritable card becomes that card. Pick a different card, and it becomes that card. Yep.
Oh, and it’s got a built-in fingerprint scanner that keeps your cards locked down.
Oh, and it recreates your laser-scanned loyalty cards with an e-ink screen on the back. You take a picture of the barcode, it recreates it for use with any scanner.
“But Greg! Who would buy this? Isn’t NFC technology going to drop from the heavens and destroy our wallets like, next week?”
Look, I absolutely love NFC. I was one of the first people to use Google Wallet, and have actively tried to make it a part of my life ever since. It’s great and it still feels all kinds of magical — but credit cards aren’t going anywhere soon, just as credit cards haven’t killed cash some 80 years after their invention. Even if 99% of the major chains embrace NFC, we’ll still need to carry credit cards for all of the mom-and-pop, indie, or just plain ol’ fashion shops that just never do.
(On a somewhat related side note, I just recently came to the end of a year wherein I used nothing but one credit/debit card to get by as something of an experiment in what it’d be like to go completely cash-less. It actually resulted in a few interesting [and for me, often quite nerve-wracking] stories. Maybe I’ll write about it here some day.)
As I commented on TechCrunch (High five, Chris Velazco), if this thing is legit, and if it works, this is straight up amazing. It’s good ol’ hardware innovation. It solves an actual, real-world problem (that is: wallets suck) without creating a zillion new ones or requiring massive technical hurdles to be overcome.
The project is finding its feet with some fundraising on Kickstarter, where it’s already raised $26,000 (of the $50k it’s shooting for) since launching just last week. With 39 days to go on Kickstarter, this one will hit its goal. Check out their demo video here.
Like most things shiny and new, this thing won’t come cheap. It’s $159 if you get in early on Kickstarter, and it’ll be bumped up to around $200 when it’s shipping to the masses
Now, my only question: where the hell do I put my ID?