What’s going on? My iPhone XS Max barely gets through the day without a battery charge. Is it a crummy battery? Is there an errant iPhone app that sucks it dry? No and, I checked; nope. What’s the problem?
I checked and it looks as if I’m using my iPhone more than any iPhone I’ve used in years past. That means less time on the Mac, less time on the iPad, and more time on my iPhone; more screen time translates into shorter battery life. Apple just announced a ‘good enough’ solution.
I faced a similar problem a few years ago. Apple responded to the ever increasing need for longer battery life with the butt ugliest external battery cases it could make (at a price tag significantly higher than third party models). This year Apple is back in the battery game with the new Smart Battery Case for $129.
This one is not quite butt ugly but it has features new iPhone customers may appreciate including wireless charging via Qi-certified chargers.
The design will not win any awards; the lumpy case is pedestrian at best and sets a new standard for uninspired utility. Yet, it works with most iPhone chargers and other Lightning connector accessories so if you don’t mind the sticky-in-the-pocket silicone case and are in the same boat as me– too much day left at the end of the battery– $129 is a mere 30-percent higher than the competition.
The Smart Battery Case comes in black and white. Compare that to the Mophie wireless juice pack case for iPhone XS Max. Four colors. No Lightning connector, though, so maybe Apple’s model is more inspired than some of the competition.
Simply put, Apple’s new iPhone cases are ‘good enough.’ They don’t raise the bar, they don’t come with any new features not found in third party battery packs, and that makes them fully utilitarian in nature. Good enough. Nothing more. Nothing less.
What Apple’s Smart Battery Case tells us is there is nothing yet new under the battery sun. We’re stuck with the standard lithium ion battery for the foreseeable future, and we use our smartphones so much they need extra battery to get us through the day.
Many of Apple’s accessories are exactly that. Utilitarian. Good enough. iPhone earbuds? Good enough. Beats headphones. Pretty. And good enough. Apple iPhone cases? Good enough. The only new accessory that caught my eye and impressed my fingers is the iPad Pro’s new Smart Keyboard Folio. It was so good I almost bought an iPad Pro instead of a new MacBook Air.
If Apple builds best of breed products– and one can argue that Mac, iPhone, iPad, and Watch fall into that category– then why does the company scrimp on accessories?