What makes a smartphone battery case “smart”? It’s a question Apple is trying to answer with its brand new Smart Battery Case for the iPhone 6 and 6S. The $99 slip-on case, available starting today, is Apple’s challenger to Mophie and other companies that have offered similar battery cases for years.
The goal is to give iPhone 6 and 6S owners an Apple-branded battery life experience comparable to the one you’d get with the “Plus” phone models. That’s a nice proposition. On the other hand, it’s an admission on Apple’s part that the battery performance on iPhone 6 or 6S is a pain point for power users. For $99, that pain can go away.
From a purely technical standpoint, the Smart Battery Case doesn’t offer as much extra battery life as competitors do. So in order to justify its $99 price point, it has to be “smart” in other ways. It has to build upon on existing Apple designs, and it has to utilize the iPhone’s software. It does all of this. But I’m not convinced this is the best case.
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This article originally appeared on Recode.net.