Who invented the Phone Case? (Invention Timeline Explained)

One of the fun things about modern inventions is trying to figure out when they first got their start. It’s not just about the more obvious inventions either. For example, have you ever wondered about the invention of the phone case? It seems like a strange thing to consider, but phone cases have their own story to tell compared to everything else.

It’s all about looking into the past to figure out how and why certain inventions were made. In this scenario, the phone case takes the limelight. For those who are interested, here’s a quick timeline showcasing the creation and evolution of the phone case!

Who invented the phone case?

The distinction of the first proper phone case goes to Andy Fattholani. He invented the phone case for the company known as Palm Pilot, which were well-known for producing PDAs (Personal Digital Assistants).

The phone case’s key contributors (and evolution)

  • Andy Fattholani
    Inventor of the phone case

    Andy Fattholani developed the phone case for Palm Pilot. The first phone case was made for a PDA.

  • Incipio Technologies
    Responsible for developing phone cases for the Apple iPhone

    Interestingly enough, Incipio technologies is Andy Fattholani’s company. Andy saw what the iPhone would potentially need, and started to develop proper phone cases for the iPhone. When the phone was released, Andy’s cases were a roaring success.

  • Otterbox
    Known for developing phone covers focused on protection

    Otterbox is one of the companies alongside Incipio that regularly works with phone cases. Their primary focus is keeping the phone safe.

  • Ringke
    Known for keeping the phone’s aesthetics intact

    RIngke is a company well-known for their attempt to keep the look of the phone as accurate as possible. 

  • Element
    The high-end phone case producer

    If it’s the quality you’re looking for, Element has got it. Element is a business primarily focused on unique phone cases at the high end of the price and quality scale.

When was the phone case invented?

The first phone case was invented in 1999 by Andy Fattholani. Back then, he made the phone case for Palm Pilot, a well-known producer of PDAs. The great thing is that Andy’s known for inventing the first phone case, as well as designing the first modern phone case for the iPhone.

A brief history of the phone case

Compared to many other inventions out there, the phone case is undoubtedly one of the more recent creations. The phone case’s invention and evolution would come with the dawn of mobile phones of PDAs, and it would grow alongside the phone to be an integral part of the mobile phone experience. That being said, most older mobile phones don’t have cases due to the overall shape. While there might have been a case here and there for specific models, it never caught on.

The first creation of the phone case is attributed to Andy Fattholani, who developed the case for one of the PDAs of Palm Pilot. One of the fascinating things about the story of the phone case is that Andy wasn’t finished with creating phone cases. He was so set on the invention that he studied the rise of mobile phones, namely Steve Jobs’ Apple. Apple’s development of the iPhone was widely known, and so Andy went to work designing and patenting a design. He used his company, Incipio Technologies, to develop iPhone cases when it was released, and he achieved worldwide success. 

Otterbox is another company that got its start creating waterproof casings for electronics in 1998, and naturally evolved to selling phone cases for Android and Apple products. Fast-forward to the modern age, and it’s one of the best phone case producers around. 

Ringke was a company developed in 2003, and also focuses on phone cases. Unlike Otterbox — which focuses on protection at any cost — Ringke developed phone cases that focused on the overall aesthetics of the smartphone. This resulted in phone cases that were made specifically to look as close to the original phone as possible.

The phone case industry is filled to the brim with variety. From phone wallets to pouches, shells, sleeves, flip cases, and much more, you have plenty to choose from.

The phone case timeline

  1. 1999
    Andy Fattholani invents the first phone case

    The very first phone case was invented by Andy Fattholani for Palm Pilot’s PDAs.

  2. 2007
    The release of the iPhone

    With the release of the iPhone, Andy Fattholani starts developing iPhone cases and experiences plenty of success.

  3. 2007-present
    The phone case boom

    There are plenty of notable companies to try their hands at phone cases over the years. For example, Otterbox is one of the most popular phone case developers today, and focuses on protection. Competitors such as Ringke leaned more on aesthetics. There are also plenty of other businesses looking to push the envelope with phone cases.

Where was the phone case invented?

The very first phone case was invented for Palm Pilot’s PDAs in Sunnyvale, California. Developed by Andy Fattholani, it would ignite his passion for developing cases, and would result in Andy’s company making cases for Apple.

The importance of the phone case

  • Keeps the phone safe

    One of the primary functions of the phone case is to ensure that your phone is safe. When the iPhone first released in 2007, it could break easily if you dropped it by accident. Fortunately, just about every phone case adds a layer of protection to your phone. The phone case protects scratching, damage from drops, and more.

  • A variety to choose from

    One of the cool parts about the phone case is how it’s grown to include so many types. For example, your phone can also act as a wallet thanks to the wallet case. You could also have phone cases with integrated stands, or holsters.

  • The perfect way to add a unique flair to your phone

    Phone cases aren’t just about adding a layer of protection. Phone cases are well-known for adding all sorts of designs based on popular media — some even going so far as to add new physical shapes as part of the design.

  • An excellent platform for experimentation

    The cool thing about phone cases is there are different designs that add some potentially new functions to the phone. The result is a competitive industry with companies that try to one-up the other with brand new designs.

The phone case by the numbers

  • 30The percentage of people who have a habit of dropping the phones on their lap when they stand.
  • 40The percentage of people who have a habit of dropping their phones when they try to answer them.
  • 50The percentage of people who have a habit of accidentally breaking/shattering their phones, which naturally showcases the importance of phone cases.
  • 57The percentage of people who will use a phone case specifically for fashion, not necessarily for protection. With all of the fun designs constantly coming out, you can expect this percentage to grow!

Five facts about the phone case

  • The surprising expectations of iPhone cases

    Surprisingly enough, a large percentage of people expect quite a lot from their iPhone cases. For example, many think that having an iPhone case means it can survive being run over by a car. Others think it should be durable enough to survive being dropped in a hot tub!

  • The percentage of owners who own iPhone cases.

    Did you know that approximately 89% of people have a case for their iPhone? That’s a surprising number, which shows just how crucial the phone case is for the iPhone.

  • The most expensive phone cases around

    Did you know that some of the most expensive phone cases cost over $100,000? When you consider how much the cases usually cost, it’s undoubtedly a mind-boggling number.

  • Resale value improvement

    Naturally, people who are trying to save for the newest iPhone will have their old iPhone as part of the potential things to sell. Thanks to iPhone cases, most phones keep their resale value as they aren’t damaged.

  • Adding more and more functions to the phone

    The smartphone wallet acts as a case while simultaneously acting as a wallet. Cases with a stand also add the stand functionality to your phone. The ability of phone cases to add extra functions to a phone makes it more popular than ever.

FAQ about the phone case

  • Which companies produce excellent phone cases?

    As of the moment, some of the top companies that produce phone cases include Otterbox, Ringke, Element, Incipio, and more. 

  • Are there phone cases out there with designs for my favorite show/game?

    One of the great things about phone cases is there are so many designs that you’re bound to find one you like. If you’re looking for a case showcasing your favorite game or movie, chances are you’ll find it.

  • Will phone cases ever go out of style?

    The answer depends on the newest phones in the market. Smartphone companies will develop their phones with third-party phone cases in mind. The phone case trend will only go out of style when it’s no longer needed.

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