Phone batteries

Apple announced a new Smart Battery Case today. Which seems like the sort of Product Opportunity that they’ve historically preferred to leave for third party makers. It just goes to show that only a fool thinks they know what Apple could, should, or will do. Does Apple plan to ship a new iPhone next fall? Er…I’d say so. But please don’t quote me.

Based solely on the photo, I’m going to rock the boat and say that I’m kind of pleased by this design. It’s quite literal. It looks like Apple just added enough extra volume to their standard silicone case to accommodate the battery. Their silicone cases are awesome, and because Apple took the simple route, the Smart Battery Case will work with any cable or charging dock that works with the standard version.

If I worked for Apple and had been part of the design or marketing team, I would have pitched a killer idea:

“We will also make one in Teal. It will ship with no battery. That empty space will contain a little note that says ‘You can hide weed or LSD in here. If you don’t use recreational drugs, bring your case back to the Apple Store and we will swap it for either a black or white one. Plus, we’ll give you a $15 iTunes Store card as a token of our appreciation for your continued silence about the truth about the teal ones’.”

I am a damn genius.

Why is Apple making a battery case at all? See Paragraph One. I imagine it’s just something they wanted to make (like when they started making their own rechargeable batteries and charger), and/or they saw the market for battery extenders and asked themselves why they were leaving that money on the table.

It does seem odd as an Apple-logoed product, given the iPhone’s killer battery life. I expect a device maker to design every accessory that the product needs, such as the keyboards for the iPad Pro and Surface Pro. Unlike most Android phones, the iPhone doesn’t “need” a battery extender. But that’s not true for everybody. Some people can’t even count on ending every day near an outlet.

Speaking of phones and power, I had another great experience with the Nexus 5X. I was out of the house all day on a meeting and was so tired at the end of the day that I just dropped my phone on the kitchen counter, got myself a drink, and slouched upstairs to bed.

I ease myself into the day by spending the first hour on my MacBook, in bed. Nothing gets me dressed and downstairs faster, though, than realizing that I forgot to recharge my phone. My old Nexus 5 would run out of juice after just six or eight hours off-leash, even if it was just in the pocket of the pants on my bedroom floor.

The 5X, with Android 6, is way way better. Even so, I wasn’t expecting it to light up this morning. But, yay! I still had 40% battery left. I plugged it into the charger anyway to make sure it’d be ready to go in an hour, when I was heading off for breakfast somewhere.

And then I left for breakfast without it. I kind of preferred it when I didn’t have a phone with me in the morning and I had something else to blame.

4 thoughts on “Phone batteries

  1. Tyson Williams

    I used Mophie Cases for years and I really could not live without one when I am traveling. Although it is great that Apple finally decided to come up with their own solution I disagree with you on the design / look their new cases. I simply do not like the look, Mophie Cases add bit of bulk to the already almost paper thin iPhone, which I like.

  2. Patrick Ford

    >My old Nexus 5 would run out of juice after just six or eight hours off-leash, even if it was just in the pocket of the pants on my bedroom floor.

    Whoa, really? I’m been an iPhone guy for a long time and have heard criticisms of Android battery life, but 5 or 6 hours on standby seems crazy. It’s really that bad? Even with the pretty good battery life on my iPhone 6 I’ve taken to carrying an Anker battery pack to top off, especially when traveling.

    (Note, the *last* thing I’m trying to do here is start a fight about platforms. I don’t care. Use what works for you. That 5-6 hour number just startled me.)

  3. Ihnatko Post author

    I’m sure it was some background apps in Android 4 and 5 that were running wild. It wasn’t _always_ that bad but it happened too often.

  4. John M.

    Using a Nexus 5 and Google Glass together for navigation is the closest I have ever come to hearing gadgets cry.

    The apex of that experience was using both to navigate to West Point – tricky roads, needed GPS to get there. Glass was cooked inside of an hour and the Nexus 5 was done shortly afterwards. I had to stop at a gas station and buy a map.

    It was a nice phone in hand and I still keep it around as a Chromecast accessory, but it was a liability if you weren’t near a plug.

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