Kickstarter practically sags under the weight of all the iPhone accessory projects. Chargers and docks seem to make up the bulk of them, followed closely by various holders and stands. These devices at least have some obvious utility, although the differences between them is mostly cosmetic.

Then there is that class of accessory where some half-baked idea has been hitched to the iPhone brand in the belief that Apple customers will throw money at anything. The “magsee” is the latest entry in this parade of non-inventions.

The magsee is a 4x magnifier that clips to the front of your iPhone to enlarge the screen image. “Shaped like a pair of reading glasses, magsee doesn’t go on your face, rather he slides on your iPhone.” (yes, magsee is gendered. Isn’t that cute?)

Wait – I know what you’re asking. Isn’t there a way to magnify the image that’s already built in to the iPhone? Well, yes, but as the “inventors” explain:

“Though you can pinch, scroll, unpinch and repeat to get around — let’s be honest — that’s just a lot of work.”

Yes, let’s be honest — it’s just not a lot of work. Certainly no more work than attaching a bulky chunk of plastic to the front of your phone and sliding it back and forth.

And of course all that laborious pinching and scrolling is required for a reason; the iPhone has a touch screen. You have to touch it to make it work. Covering it with a thick piece of magnifying plastic, no matter how sleek he is, makes using the touch screen difficult, if not impossible. I think you might be able to slide your finger partway up under the magsee, but we aren’t shown anyone actually using the touchscreen while he’s attached. I suspect that’s for a reason.

Of course aside from running apps from the touch screen, the other primary function of an iPhone is that it’s a phone. Unless you’re using a headset or headphones, you won’t be able to use the phone while the magsee is attached without jamming it up against your cheek. I hope he comes with a cleaning cloth.

We’ll be watching this project closely. If these guys can convince iPhone users to buy an accessory that removes more functionality than it adds, there may be hope for the iMusicBodyRhythm.


3 Responses to Magsee

  1. January 26, 2013 at 10:49 pm

    Hi thatdingo! Thanks for the write-up and the press.
    I wanted to take a sec and answer some of your questions.

    The inspiration for magsee came from one of our developers after he saw his sister-in-law have issues with an iPhone. Now, I know you probably think she’s older woman but she’s not — she’s your averagely stunning woman in her early 20′s who just happens to have an eye condition.

    What we wanted to do was make a solution for her — and others — who have issues that affect their use with a touch device.

    Now, I know you have an issue with the magnification being in the way and it’s a very good point. If there was a way to magnify without making someone with, say, arthritis have to pinch and unpinch and aggravate their condition, we’d love it — but we just haven’t found a better way, yet. We figured for these individuals just pushing magsee out of the way, either up or down, and pressing the touch screen would be easier than pinching. But if you or your readers have a suggestion, we’d love to hear and maybe make magsee better?

    After checking out your site I can see it’s your goal to be snarky in the hopes of being edgy and engaging, rather than being constructive. And it’s totally cool by me. It’s funny. So, no harm or foul.

    I hope this write-up will garner you a few new readers, and hopefully some of them will help us make magsee even better. Thanks for the opportunity to write.

    Kindly best,


    • thatdingo
      January 27, 2013 at 1:39 am


      What you’ve done here is clip a pair of reading glasses to an iPhone, rendering it almost useless. The logic behind this “invention” is about as solid as gluing oven mitts to a casserole dish so you can spare the hard “work” of digging them out of the drawer. Did this not occur to anyone during the design process?

      I think it probably did, but that Kickstarter’s lure of free money led you to invent a need for the product rather than the other way around. Sure, there are plenty of people with vision problems. The great thing about eyeglasses – what people have been using for centuries to address the matter – is that they magnify everything you look at, obviating the need to mount lenses on everything, or simply to make everything four times larger.

      And sure, there are people who have trouble with the finger gestures needed to operate an iPhone. You seem to imply these are the same people who need vision help, but of course that’s not necessarily true. Regardless, if they have trouble with manual dexterity, how does attaching a fiddly piece of plastic to their phone that has to be pushed and pulled around and put on and taken off make it any easier?

      We’re not here solely to be snarky. We just don’t think cute names, cartoony anthropomorphism and jargon about “journeys” turns a silly idea into a million-dollar idea. Or that attaching one thing to another thing constitutes an invention.

  2. T
    February 3, 2013 at 7:36 am

    I agree with this assessment. There’s just so many reasons that I don’t see this being a well received product.

    First, suppose a consumer has a preexisting eye condition, what are the chances they forget their corrective lenses, the ones they more than likely need everyday, often enough to necessitate carrying around a magnifier? If they can’t be bothered to remember, or wear their corrective lenses, what are the chances they remember to bring along the “Magsee”?

    Not every website uses the same font size. The user will either need to use the pinch gesture to refocus the text within the “Magsee”. This goes against the idea that you need to just slide the “Magsee” around on your phone.

    Finally, as thatdingo mentioned, owning a touchscreen phone makes it necessary that the user learns how to use it. No one needs to read a manual to stumble across the pinch gesture on a smartphone.