One reason why Apple’s new iPhone Smart Battery Case is so, uh… aesthetically challenged

“It’s fair to say that Apple’s new iPhone Smart Battery Case is not the most attractive product the company has ever released,” Nilay Patel writes for The Verge.

“Like every other charging case, it adds an extra inch of thickness to the bottom of the phone, making it hard to use headphones (including Apple’s own Beats line) and the battery simply sticks out as a rectangular bulge,” Patel writes. “It’s like Apple designed it so intensely they forgot to design it at all.”

“But there’s another element at play here: the biggest name in battery cases is Mophie, and Mophie has tons of patents on the design and functionality of these things,” Patel writes. “Reading through a few, it’s hard not to see Apple’s case as being deliberately designed around Mophie’s patents — including that unsightly bulge.”

Apple's official iPhone 6/6s Smart Battery Case in Charcoal Gray
Apple’s official iPhone 6/6s Smart Battery Case in Charcoal Gray

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Jony took one look at those reams of Mophie battery case patents and decided, “Yeah, I’ll delegate this one.”

When you hold an iPhone encased in a Mophie in your hand, meaning most often with your fingers on the edges of the iPhone, the iPhone feels like an inelegantly thick slab. But, when you hold an iPhone in Apple’s Smart Battery Case, regardless of whether it was designed by an Apple peon to get around Mophie patents or not, the iPhone feels elegantly thin in both landscape and portrait use. Try it and you’ll see. It also doesn’t interfere with the camera or the flash and you can hook your pinky finger along the bottom of the battery bulge when actually using the thing as a phone to talk on (which, admittedly, we hardly ever do, but for people who still talk on the phone, it feels natural).

If this case proves to be a big seller, Apple could always just dig around in the couch cushions for half a minute and buy Mophie and own all of the patents anyway. Then Jony could take a crack at future versions.

Apple decides to devour Mophie for Christmas – December 8, 2015
WSJ reviews Apple Smart Battery Case for iPhone 6/6s: Battery life nearly doubled – December 8, 2015
Apple releases Smart Battery Case for iPhone 6/6s, adds up to 25 hours of power – December 8, 2015
Apple Watch increases iPhone battery life significantly; likely to affect future iPhone purchasing decisions – May 22, 2015

[Thanks to MacDailyNews Readers “Fred Mertz” and “Lynn Weiler” for the heads up.]


    1. My gut tells me that Tim is not product-minded like Steve was. That’s why other people talk about the products at the keynotes now. I believe that Tim oversees operations (his strength), but does not intimately evaluate how well-designed a product is. He leaves that up to his team. I think he’s keeping Apple running a tight, orderly ship, but a certain attention to detail is lacking now.

      1. Your one problem is that you see Tim Cook as the one problem for every issue at Apple. Some not so great stuff was released at Apple when Steve Jobs was leading the company, too. Besides, this is just a battery case…if it works as advertised then it is fine.

        While I agree that Apple should strive for insanely great products, it is also true that some products are inherently more important than others. And aesthetics are not always all that important. Battery cases will always be an aesthetic downgrade, IMO. The questions that are important in this situation are, does it protect the iPhone adequately, does it provide adequate additional battery life, does it charge quickly and easily, does it interface well with the phone software and display, does it work functionally with the human hand? Those are the most important questions when I am purchasing a phone battery case.

      2. Please share with us:

        1. How large a company you run, that you are so wise in the ways of running a transnational.

        2. What computer and mobile companies you see that are run far better.

        3. All the computer and phone company CEOs who put Tim Cook to shame.

          1. Not necessarily, but context can affect credibility – on what topic are you providing an opinion, and what is the basis (knowledge, experience, etc.) from which that opinion was developed?

            Griping is easy. Practically everyone does it. But few people come to the table with candidate solutions. To those who do not like the new Apple iPhone case – what do you want it to look like? A Mophie with a Lightning connector instead of microUSB? People often complain that Apple does not provide flexibility for its customers. So, why not be happy that Apple just expanded your range of choices for an iPhone case, even if it does not appeal to you personally.

      3. In what way was he apologising for Tim he was simply pointing out his interpretation of what the situation actually is inside Apple in an objective manner. His description hardly leaves Tim flushed with triumph to the reader does it if true. You have clearly proved by your response that objectivity is not however your forte and thus your opinions are simply flushed with innate prejudice.

  1. I had a Mophie Juice Pack for my iPhone 4.
    Worked great, comfortable and well built (like some women I know….)

    Way to blow a good relationship Apple.
    Who’s next? iHome? LifeProof? LaCie?
    Gotta grab that last dime before someone else does!!!

  2. Jony .. You cant do it right do t do it at all.

    Humm… does that sound familiar to u? Maybe a friend you had always told you that !

    Same with ipad pro keyboard… No tracpad? The wierd fold/s.. Not even at Microsoft level .

    Mouse charging port at bottom of the mouse … Ha😳 ?

    Apple you are being complacent diverting from what you stand ( stood )for…. Pay attention. PLEASE!

    Software and now these …. Grrrr

  3. Lets make a big phone even BIGGER! Soon, we’ll be holding a brick against the side of our head (again), like Michael Douglas on the beach in Wall Street. 🙂 (I await the new smaller iPhone with great anticipation.)

  4. It’s worth noting that since the top and bottom of the case is essentially like the standard iPhone case, it means that most other accessories designed to work with an iPhone in a case should work. This goes for camera lens accessories and docks.

    I also wouldn’t be surprised is this design isn’t in part inspired by a desire to not have any impact on reception.

    1. I think you’re right.

      Personally not sold on it, set them side by side.. I like the Mophie’s look better. but the USB port instead of Lightning.. ugh.
      Apples case: Lightning port is good, bulge is meh.

      MDN’s point about using it as a rest for your finger.. ok thats a good point. but that bulge..

      1. I don’t find the case any more ugly than other battery cases, just different. It seems like the battery was placed between the antennae to avoid interfering with the signal. Circuitry on the bottom, battery where it makes sense. I’m tempted because of the lightning port, but turned off by the low capacity and price. I am curious, though, about the logic behind putting an indicator light on the inside of the case.

  5. I bought one today, it is velvety in my hands, and while it may lack “aesthetics,” the tactile nature far outweighs any visual deficiencies. It is a home run in my book and the fact that it works with lightning cable is a definite plus. I just want to put it through its paces before I am totally sold and also want to make sure the white color doesn’t dirty too easily. As of right now, I highly recommend and not to think anyone that I am a “homer,” I am typing on the Logitech keyboard for iPad Pro.

    1. Thank you Michael for giving us an opinion actually informed by using this case. Most of the critics have never seen or held this case.

      The key is that this is easier and better to hold than the Mophie. Also, it goes on the iPhone a lot easier than the Mophie…basically you put it on just like the standard Apple case. The Mophie can be a pain to put on the iPhone and a pain to take off. And the Apple case uses the Lightning adapter…another win.

    2. Apple design esthetics is one of their biggest claims to fame.. ( remember the words .. ” where technology and liberal arts intersect ” ….)
      Lose that and a big chunk of what makes Apple special will vanish.

      Premuim price for premium inovation and design.
      The case fails this very crucial Apple criteria .

      2015 , in my opinion, Is the year that Apple has shown some noticeable disarray.. From glitches in product releases to some mind boggling design mistakes ….and software implementation .
      I hope , i pray, i keep my fingers crossed that these are some growing pains and Apple will return to its best in the coming year…
      It has to !

          1. The “Trash Can” Mac Pro.

            It has been so wonderful .. along with how Apple has been abandoning their core ecosystem Apps (Aperture, iPhoto, others) that I’ve **not** replaced either of my classic Mac Pros with one yet …

            … instead, I’m seriously looking at holding my nose and dropping $5.5K for an evaluational Windows PC Tower workstation to replace a Mac Pro, which means moving my core business off of OS X entirely.

            Given how OS X’s Apple Mail app started to mysteriously crash ~3x/day for several days last week, Tim & Co is doing a good job to light a fire under me to find real solutions. Ditto for how on Monday, my older iPhone went into “No Power” shutdown, whereupon upon rebooting it said that it still was at 61% (huh?).


    3. I’ve got a great idea for that design genius Ive for the iPhone 7. Make the phone the same thickness as the current phones + new power brick case. And while he’s at it, make the back of the same “velvety” material. Two major design flaws corrected, and enough power to get you through the day.

  6. See this. What an ugly piece of shit! Are you kidding me? We talk about Apple here not a some bullshit. Those product looks like aftermarket cheap Chinese piece. There are couple of companies which already sell battery packs which are very similar with this but is flat bottom. It is sad that Apple follows MS way of business. I bet that Apple will turn like MS within 10 years. Nobody will care about apps anymore.

        1. I have spent many hours on carefully constructed, logical, and well-reasoned positions on this forum. Sometimes I just can’t stand the stupidity anymore. Knowing that reasonable arguments are a waste of time, I call it like it is.

  7. This is what an attractive, comfortable phone looks like when it has enough internal volume to house a real two-day battery:

    My, have times have changed …. for the uglier.

  8. Ok so Apple boasted about their layered battery design for the new iPhone so that it can fill irregular shapes rather than be a slab. And then just months later they produce this which is totally at odds with that innovative thinking. How the hell can Mophie simply copyright a smooth shape for such a case, after all we have seen how copying the look of Apple products completely has little or no protection. Or is it different for small companies?

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