Apple released its Smart Battery Cases for the latest iPhones on Tuesday. These new battery cases for the iPhone XS, iPhone XS Max and iPhone XR come in black and white.
What’s new with Apple’s Smart Battery Cases?
Apple’s Smart Battery Cases are priced at $129, irrespective of which iPhone model they are for. The cases are not much different from the company’s previous Smart Battery Cases. They also have the standard usual “bump” that houses the built-in battery.
Like the previous versions, these new Smart Battery Cases for the iPhone XS, iPhone XS Max and iPhone XR offer the same intelligent battery indicator on the lock screen and in the Notification Center. However, unlike the previous versions, these new cases can power the 2018 iPhones wirelessly via Qi-based charging support.
This is the first time Apple has launched a battery case that supports Qi wireless charging. The cases can also charge the iPhones with a Lightning cable or fast-charge with USB-PD. The company states that the smart cases also support Lightning accessories like the Lightning Digital AV Adapter and EarPods with Lightning connectors.
Apple hasn’t launched a Smart Battery Case since the iPhone 7, possibly because it was working on adding the wireless charging feature in the iPhone 8, iPhone X, iPhone XS, iPhone XS Max and iPhone XR. The company has also never released a smart battery case for the larger iPhone models until now.
Apple’s Smart Battery Case for the iPhone XS offers up to 33 hours of talk time, 25 hours of video playback, or up to 21 hours of internet use. For the XS Max, the new case offers up to 37 hours of talk time, up to 25 hours of video playback, and up to 20 hours of internet use. For the iPhone XR, the case provides up to 39 hours of talk time, up to 27 hours of video playback and up to 22 hours of internet use. The iPhone XR offers the most battery life for all three usage types (talk time, internet and video playback), probably due to its smaller screen.
In addition to more battery life, the new cases also offer more protection.
“Inside, a soft microfiber lining helps protect your iPhone. And on the outside, the silky, soft-touch finish of the silicone exterior feels great in your hand. A soft elastomer hinge design makes it easy to put the case on and take it off,” Apple says.
Apple’s Smart Battery Cases can be purchased from its website.
Is AirPower finally coming?
The product page for the Smart Battery Cases also hints at another much-anticipated product. The description of the cases on the Apple Store includes the AirPower charging mat. The references were quickly removed except for those from the Malaysia store, notes MacRumors. There is a good chance the Malaysian Apple Store will also remove the reference soon.
The mention of the AirPower charging mat seems to suggest that Apple initially planned to launch AirPower even before the launch of these Qi-supported battery cases. However, it is widely known that Apple has been facing technical issues with the wireless charging mat. The company failed to keep its promises regarding the product’s release date.
The Apple Store mention is not the only hint about the AirPower in recent times. The iPhone XS and iPhone XR packaging also carry a reference to the wireless charging mat as a charging method. Additionally, a recent rumor claimed Apple was preparing for mass productions of the AirPower. A recent update from ChargerLab indicated that Luxshare would start mass production of the charging mat soon. Luxshare currently manufactures AirPods and USB-C cables for Apple.
“We just learned from credible source in supply chain that the manufacture Luxshare Precision has already started producing Apple AirPower wireless charging pad,” ChargerLab tweeted.
However, in a follow-up tweet, ChargerLab added that Pegatron would be starting mass production on Jan. 21. It’s possible Luxshare is supplying the components and Pegatron is handling assembly.
Apple AirPower: Another source claims Pegatron is set to start mass produce AirPower at Jan 21. Pegatron is also an Apple OEM in Asia. The company employee says AirPower has total three layers of coils in 8-7-7 configuration from bottom to top. pic.twitter.com/xsboO47PGR
— ChargerLAB (@chargerlab) January 12, 2019
Apple first showcased the AirPower at the iPhone X event in 2017. At the time, the company said the wireless charging mat would be launched in 2018, but the year has now come and gone without any update on the AirPower. However, trusted Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo suggested in October that the AirPower mat could debut in the first quarter of 2019.