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Get over Apple's iPhone battery case, you babies

Get over Apple's iPhone battery case, you babies

December 9, 2015

Apple yesterday announced a product that many of us didn’t expect: A battery case for the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6s that gives you about 80 percent more battery life. I remember opening up Twitter this morning to see this product and my first thought was “wow, that’s kind of ugly.”

A few minutes later, I started reading some of the early reviews. The Wall Street Journal’s Joanna Stern is my preferred source when it comes to accessory reviews. She’s just obsessed with this sort of stuff.

As always, her video made me laugh, but she touched on an important point:

Still, I’ll take it over all the ugly messes sold by Mophie, Anker and others, especially since it provides better protection for the phone. A lip curves just above the screen to prevent the glass from hitting a hard surface and an interior lining provides better shock absorption than hard plastic. Plus, the grippy material is much easier to hold and doesn’t feel like it will slip from my hands.

That’s when I realized that despite this not being the prettiest battery case, it probably does the job of being a battery case better than others on the market. Why? The little advantages you gain by not trying to smooth out the battery.

For one, everyone who has reviewed the case so far says it’s easier to grip. Additionally, because the battery doesn’t extend all the way up, it doesn’t block Bluetooth or NFC signals.

The more I think about it, the more I have come to realize that the compromises to the case are the same ones Apple made to the iPhone itself: Some prettiness was sacrificed to make it a functional product. Just take that case off and look at those antenna designs. You think Apple loves that?

Another advantage is that there’s no need to have a second wire to charge the case. Instead, it uses the same Lightning cable that comes with your iPhone. To my understanding, no other battery case does this. This is also a single unit. Again, something nobody else has been able to achieve. Fewer removable parts mean fewer things that will break or get lost. Both of these decisions I consider to be a win.

Apple’s new case isn’t pretty. Nonetheless, I still think it’s the best battery case out there. Not because of how it looks, but because of how it works. Less moving parts, a good grip, and great protection, make this an overall better product in my eyes. If I ever needed more battery juice, I’d probably buy this.

As Dieter Rams once said, “Good design is as little design as possible.”

I think Apple has achieved that with this.