Since the phrase "Apple picking" entered the city dweller's lexicon last year, we've been treated to numerous warnings about holding our smart phones close. Thieves in New York City stole 8,000 iPhones last year, which is one reason why grand larceny cases in New York have declined only 1 percent in the last decade, despite the fact that vehicle theft decreased 72 percent and murders declined 43 percent over the same period.
What can you do about it? Well, law enforcement agencies would have you upgrade to the latest Apple operating system, so that your phone will "brick" in the event someone steals it and then tries to use it. You could also just be more careful when you're out and about—don't flash your phone around so much, keep a tight grip on it when you do need to use it, and so on.
Or you could drop $99 to buy an iPhone case that has a built-in stun gun. The Yellow Jacket iPhone case for the iPhone 4 and 4s features two tiny prongs that transmit 650k volts. The $149 case for the 5 and 5s packs a similar wallop, but doesn't come out until March. Both cases also feature a built-in battery that will power your phone, and safety mechanisms that will keep you from accidentally electrocuting yourself.
But will it really stop a thief? That probably depends on how badly she wants your iPhone, because the Yellow Jacket is not a Taser. The company's FAQ page stresses that the Yellow Jacket can't incapacitate someone the way a Taser does (which is by interrupting the nerve signals). Instead, the Yellow Jacket causes a burst of "mild to serious pain and definite discomfort" to a localized part of the body. The current is also super bright and super loud. Basically, this thing is supposed to deter someone, and if that doesn't work, scare them. But don't expect it to render them helpless (that is, until Yellow Jacket releases its law enforcement model with twice the voltage and twice the amperage).
Of course, shocking a thief depends on how quickly you can activate the stun gun. The two-step safety protocol designed to keep you from shocking yourself might also keep you from shocking a surprise attacker.