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Six Colors

by Jason Snell & Dan Moren

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By Dan Moren

Apple charges into battery case fray

Note: This story has not been updated for several years.

Well, can’t say I saw that coming. Apple’s decided it wants itself a piece of that lucrative battery case money, and so it has quasi-stealthily released the $99 iPhone 6s Smart Battery Case. Available in charcoal gray or white, the silicone case supposedly provides up to 18 hours of Internet use on LTE or up to 20 hours of video playback. (The original iPhone 6s specs report 10 hours of Internet use on LTE or 11 hours of “HD video” playback.) You can charge the case and phone simultaneously via a Lightning port, and the case’s battery level is reported on the iPhone lock screen and in notification center.

And none of that matters. Because all everybody’s going to be talking about is the hump.

Apple Smart Battery Case

It does apparently serve a practical purpose, letting you peel the silicone off the top and bottom of the phone and apply it more easily than a traditional battery case. (That said, I’ve had a couple of Mophie battery cases for previous iPhones and never had much trouble taking them on and off, in particular because I rarely took them off.)

Without getting my hands on one, it’s hard to say how bulky this makes the phone feel, but, well, for an Apple product it sure doesn’t look great.1 That said, I run my iPhone 6s down to the metal most days—something I feel like I rarely did on previous models—so more battery life would certainly be welcome. Say what you will about Mophie’s options, but I feel like they look better and potentially even provide more protection.

Over at Mashable, Christina Warren has a full review. One tidbit there that I didn’t see on Apple’s own site: the case apparently has “a passive coupled antenna on the back to help minimize cellular interference—something that can happen with other battery cases.” Not a problem I remember seeing on my previous battery cases, but maybe?

Note also that there’s no corresponding product for the 6s Plus, which already, by all reports, gets much better battery life than the 6s. Also, because can you picture a case like this on a phone that big without giggling just a little bit?

But if nothing else, the $99 price tag is at least close to what corresponding cases go for—for once, Apple’s not charging an arm and a leg above its competitors. And the Apple brand will likely sell a lot of these, though I am a little surprised that it’s showing up now, two weeks before Christmas, instead of back in September at the iPhone 6s announcement. Maybe Apple needed more time to work out some kinks, or perhaps it just wanted to provide something attractive for last-minute shoppers.

  1. It kinda looks like a snake swallowing a rat. A square rat. 

[Dan Moren is the East Coast Bureau Chief of Six Colors. You can find him on Mastodon at or reach him by email at His latest novel, the supernatural detective story All Souls Lost, is now available for pre-order.]

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