JACKSONVILLE, Florida (WTLV) - The new iPhone 5 is expected to fly off the shelves today, but so too are phone cases.
Thirty-eight percent of cases are purchased at the same time as a cell phone. Many Chinese manufacturers haven't had enough time to crank out new cases to fit the taller phone iPhone 5. One Jacksonville company has its brand new case still in production in China. It's an iPhone waterproof shield and that's just the beginning of the products the company offers.
Seal Shield has been selling its iPhone 4 and 4S waterproof shields since February. The flexible antimicrobial shield is made of a durable plastic. The shield stretches around the phone and then some waterproof tape is added to the back to seal it up.
Our sister station WTLV in Jacksonville tested the product in the studio and dropped Seal Shield CEO Brad Whitchurch's wrapped phone into a tub of water. It delivered as promised. The phone still worked and the shield didn't leak. The company also makes iPad Seal Shields.
The company sells the waterproofing devices for Apple products and is working closely with Chinese manufacturers for the new iPhone 5 waterproof shield.
"We should have the initial samples in just a couple of weeks and it would be in production and available probably by the end of the year by Christmas," says Whitchurch.
But consumers aren't Seal Shield's primary market. It's hospitals. The company got its start six years ago developing a line of antimicrobial, waterproof dishwasher safe keyboards and for good reason. According to a University of Arizona study, the average keyboard has 400 times more bacteria than a toilet. That can mean some deadly consequences.
"Two million people each year are a victim of a hospital acquired infection. Of those, 200 thousand die every year from the infection. Keyboards are the primary cross contamination." says Whitchurch.
Seal Shield also sells waterproof mice and a fully submersible and bleach resistant TV remote control which cruise lines have been interested in to prevent the spread of the noro-virus. Whitchurch says sales of the waterproof iPhone shield have been brisk.
But is there a guarantee?
"Well, everything in life has a certain amount of risk. I can tell you I have been using this February and do these demos all the time and haven't had a issue," says Whitchurch.
So until Apple makes a waterproof iPhone you do have options if you want to keep your phone and other electronic devices safe from water.
All of Seal Shields' products are available online and at many retail outlets like Office Depot. The iPhone shield is $20. The iPad Shield $30.