REM

I have a new game: when I walk into a restaurant, I count the number of phones I see sitting on tables, placed between the silverware and water glass as if part of the table setting. I rarely count fewer than four. Sometimes I count as many phones as people. And while some people have funky-colored cases, often the table is covered in identical black glass-and-metal boxes. Do people ever accidentally take home each other's phones? When all our things look alike, we become distanced from them. In a New York Times article today, Jenna Wortham discusses a variety of ways that tinkerers are making their iPhones stand out in a sea of identical devices, including some modifications from iFixit. "Apple, of course, has decreed that iPhone buyers can choose any color they want," Wortham jokes, "as long as it is black or white." Modifications and repair can help connect us with our stuff.

So some people are trading out the back panels of their iPhones, replacing them with wood, engraved metal, and brightly colored plastic. We do mods, too: we offer a transparent rear panel, available for the iPhone 4 and iPhone 4S, which lets you show off the awesome inside of your phone. Or you can put your own design underneath. A business card fits just about perfectly under the panel, as you can see above. We'll also be launching a new mirrored rear panel in the next couple of weeks (also for the iPhone 4 and 4S), tested and reviewed by our own MJ.

Modding is a gateway to repair for many people—it's a less intimidating way to introduce the idea of opening up your phone. Have you modded your phone? Are there any mods you'd like to see us make available?