Apple just launched a new “Smart Battery case” for the iPhone 6 and 6S today, for a cool US $99. It’s a pretty standard affair, with a built-in battery that Apple claims gives your iPhone an added 25 hours of usage (18 on LTE). The only problem? It’s ridiculous.
Let’s start with the obvious; the Smart Battery case completely defeats the purpose of Apple’s supposedly laser focus on design. The case makes it look as though your iPhone is trying to hide a belly bump with a tight sweater. That’s not a great look for any phone, not to mention one that’s largely marketed based on it’s aesthetic qualities. The battery case is silicone, with three quarters of it lined with microfibre. That leaves one end to peel back so you can slip your iPhone in. That lets the case be a single piece, instead of two parts, but is the tradeoff really worth it?
Another strange thing, as The Verge reports, you either charge your phone or you take it out of that case; there’s no midway. While the case is thinned where your iPhones buttons would be, seeing as it’s a silicone case, there’s no manual switch to activate charging from the case. Your phone will suck power as long as it’s in the Smart Battery Case. If both devices are fully charged, the phone will use up the case’s battery before starting on its own.
Thankfully, the case at least uses the standard Lightning connector to juice up and not an additional microUSB (that you would have to carry around). And though Apple has made the weird decision to put an LED battery level indicator for the case on the inside, there’s at least the smart indicator. Just swipe down from the top of your iPhone, when it’s in the case, and you’ll see a battery level icon below the one for your phone battery.