Apple came out with a surprise product release this morning: its first-ever battery case, allowing iPhone 6s users to tap into some extra power for extended usage. The iPhone 6s Smart Battery Case comes in Charcoal Gray and White, for $99.
There are some advantages over existing battery cases, such as its integration with iOS and its compatibility with the standard iPhone connector. (No need to carry around a separate charging cord.) But reviewers who’ve been using the case say it has a number of shortcomings, including a pronounced bump on the back and the inability to reserve power for later. (As soon as you put the phone in the case, it starts draining the extra battery.)
Most significantly, as noted by Wired’s Brian Barrett, it doesn’t pack as much power as comparably priced battery packs already on the market.
In a review on The Verge, Lauren Goode compares the new Apple case to existing products from Mophie and others, and concludes, “from a pure performance and even a design perspective, Apple’s effort is not the best you can get.”
Even so, the fact that this is coming from Apple, just in time to make it into stockings, means that this product could quickly become one of the hot items for the holidays.