That’s right, Apple has launched an official “Smart Battery Case” for the iPhone 6S and 6, available in charcoal or white. No announcement was made, the case just showed up in early December on Apple’s online stores for $100.
Updated on 12-09-2015 by Malarie Gokey: Added comments from Tim Cook on the design of the battery case.
The case will provide 18 hours of additional LTE usage, 20 hours of video playback, and up to 25 hours of talk time.
Apple has not detailed how large the battery is, but we suspect it is much larger than the 1,715mAh cell inside the iPhone 6S. Usual battery life on the iPhone 6S ranges from 8 to 12 hours.
The battery case looks similar to Apple’s other silicon cases, but on the bottom there is a lightning port attached to charge the iPhone. Users will be able to charge the battery case and phone simultaneously, and Apple will notify users of when this is happening with an “intelligent battery status” on the notification center and lock screen.
There is a large hump where the battery sits on the back of the iPhone. Fans on Twitter have mixed feelings on the hump, some saying it looks like the iPhone has a tumor, others questioning what has happened to Apple’s design team.
Tim Cook weighed in on the debate, speaking to Mashable at an Hour of Code event. He quickly dismissed comments from critics who disliked the case’s design, saying, “I probably wouldn’t call it ‘the hump.’”
He pointed out the advantages of the flexible silicon battery case. “One of the real insights here is, have you ever used other cases and tried to get them on?” Cook asked. “If you make this solid all the way across,” he continued, pointing to the space around the battery bulge, “you’d find it very difficult to get it on and off.”
Cook also pointed out that the case was made less for everyday use and more for the occasional camping trip or extended hike when you might need extra juice to get you through the day.
Apple has been expanding its range of first-party products ever since the iPhone 6 launched, which is scary for third-party accessory makers. It recently launched a dock for the iPhone 6S, and the audio category is filled with Apple and Beats products, making it hard for accessory makers to reach an audience. In the near future, we might see smart home and gaming accessories launched by Apple, in an effort to push those categories into the mainstream.