MELBOURNE You can do a lot with an iPhone these days -- text, take pictures, surf the net, and even make a phone call.
And soon, thanks to two Australian entrepreneurs, you will be able use it to open a bottle of beer by way of the "Opena," a hard plastic case that fits over the iPhone and is equipped with a slide-out bottle opener.
"Basically, Australians are fairly heavy drinkers, as you may or may not know," said Melbourne-based Chris Peters, an industrial designer who developed the product with Rob Ward, a former toolmaker.
"We're always out at friends' houses and so on, and in some cases you may not have your keys on you... So we thought, why don't we attach a bottle opener to an iPhone case? We always have our phones on us."
Working from three basic rules -- the case had to be slim, there had to be no chance of the opener scratching the iPhone, and the opener had to work without putting any pressure on the phone -- the two developed a prototype.
Testing including running through what a promotional video termed "the worst case scenario" in which a friend has shaken up the beer and it foams over. The case -- and the iPhone -- came through unscathed every time.
Aside from a few initial glitches because the first prototypes were too weak, development went smoothly. Start-up funding via an internet site that allows anybody to pitch in, has also gone well, enabling a sales launch within weeks.
"The strangest thing that happened was when we were doing the filming for the video and we had a courier drop off a parcel," Peters said.
"He gave us some very unusual looks when we had about 20 open beers at seven in the morning."
Though some who posted on the pair's Facebook page expressed doubt about the wisdom of putting a phone that close to a foaming beverage, the response was mainly positive.
"Finally I can combine my love of drinking and tech," one said.
(Reporting by Elaine Lies; Editing by Daniel Magnowski)