HOLLYWOOD (CBS4) – The iPhone 5 is officially on the market and it’s already flying off store shelves. But Apple is not the only company banking on the new smart phone’s success.

iPhone accessory makers want to cash in, too.

At the Marware offices in Hollywood, designers have been working frantically to create new, innovative cases to fit the thinner, longer iPhone 5.

But it’s a guessing game.

Before the official launch, Marware employees could only speculate what the latest phone would actually look like. No one at the Broward-based business even touched an iPhone 5 until Friday.

“We don’t get any information from Apple,” explained Ronnie Khadaran, the Marware Director of Marketing. “You’re having to play a risky game just gambling off of rumors from the tech industry.”

In a space dubbed the “war room”, sketches and prototypes show what the new cases will look like.

Designers like Stephen Heaven have spent the last few weeks sweating it out, hoping their hard work would fit the design unveiled at the iPhone 5 launch event September 12th.

“A lot of rumors and information floating around,” Heaven said. “You just have to know how to harness it, what makes sense and what doesn’t make sense.”

Marware has been wrong before, like with the launch of the iPad 3 back in March. It didn’t plan for a magnet polarity changes, which forced them to change their original design.

But with the iPhone 5, they were right on target.

“There’s a lot of guesswork. There’s a lot of planning,” Heaven said. “You have to work backwards because the frenzy of launch is always very hectic, especially with Apple products. So getting timing down is very important.”

With so many manufacturers trying to get a piece of the $20 billion a year smartphone accessory industry, the margin for error is constantly shrinking.

“Every time you turn around, there’s someone new coming in,” Khadaran said. “It’s such a huge market. People want to protect and enhance their iPhones. They can’t live without them. Every day it’s getting bigger and bigger.”

Experts predict Apple will sell about 10 million iPhone 5 units before the month is over. Accessory makers will be working overtime to keep up with demand. At Marware, the first shipment of the brand new cases is due to arrive from Asia early next week.

To learn more about the South Florida company, visit www.marware.com.


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