Long before Apple CEO Tim Cook took the stage to wow the world with the company's latest iPhones, dozens of manufacturers were searching the Internet for rumors, consulting with sources and trying to verify every last bit of specification on what the new phones would look like and how they would be built.
Why? They want a piece of the $21 billion smartphone accessory market (according to a 2012 ABI Research report), making an announcement like Tuesday's even more important to manufacturers that rush aftermarket products to store shelves. Total aftermarket accessory shipments reached more than 2.2 billion units for the 12 months ended in June 2014, and are expected to climb to over 2.5 billion by 2015, according to ABI.
Scott Franklin, director of marketing for Ventev, an accessory maker owned by Tessco Technologies, says the secret to the industry is having the accessories on the store shelves the day the phone hits the market. "It's a race for the peg on the shelf," he said.
Having accessories designed, manufactured and shipped to retailers before the product they accompany is even announced is no easy task. Teams compile numerous reports on what the new devices may look like, their size, functionality, button placement and then take a giant leap of faith, said Franklin.
"All of these manufactures take a risk, sometimes you get it right, sometimes you don't," he said. Ventev is launching four cases for the iPhone 6, and will have them available in stores nationwide the day the actual phone goes on sale, Sept.19.
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That is, of course, if they got all of the specs for the new devices correct.
"We may not have it right. We think we do because we have already manufactured these items but it's such a big risk," Franklin said.
And if they don't have it right? "If you miss, it is an egg on your face so you want to get it right."
Griffin Technology, another electronics accessory maker, has a handful of iPhone 6 cases ready to go. The company's iPhone 6 protectors range in price from the $19.99 "Reveal" case—which is a slim hard-shell case—to the $49.99 "Survivor All-Terrain" case, which is designed to block sand, dust, rain and drops.
On the show floor of CTIA's Super Mobility Week conference in Las Vegas, iPhone 6 accessories are a hot topic, accessories for a phone which most people won't even see in person for weeks; giving Apple, a company not even exhibiting at the conference, a presence that is priceless.
—By CNBC's Justin Solomon
Correction: This story has been updated to reflect that Griffin Technology does not have iPhone 6 cases on display at the CTIA conference.