Apple’s next smartphone accessory could stop iPhone owners from reaching or the charger. A leaked set of merchandising guidelines published Monday reveal the existence of a smart battery case for the iPhone XS and iPhone XS Max, enabling consumers to boost the size of the device’s power pack capacity through a removable case.
The product matrix, discovered by Appleosophy and confirmed by 9to5Mac, detail cases in a document entitled “Apple Premium Reseller Accessory Merchandising Guidelines.” While the images are small, the phones depicted under the “black leather” section show a case with a hump. It bears a strong resemblance to Apple’s $99 Smart Battery Case, first released in December 2015 for the iPhone 6 and 6S, but it features the vertically-arranged dual camera setup, showing it’s designed for the newer phones. Unlike other cases, Apple’s version uses a Lightning port for charging and displays the charge of both case and phone on the device screen when plugged in.
The iPhone XS battery case was rumored earlier this month in unearthed new icons that suggest a version for the iPhone XR as well. Among the key changes are a reduced “chin” on the base of the phone, and a back that reaches the bottom of the device. Apple’s original “hump” design received widespread criticism, with Forbes describing it as an “angry, ugly mess” and the Wall Street Journal calling it “fairly unsightly.” Tweaking the design could alleviate criticisms of a phone case that was perceived at the time as an unusual move for Apple, placing function over form.
It’s unclear how much battery this new case would provide. The original case has a 1,877mAh pack that Apple claims will offer up to 25 hours of talk time (up from 14 hours on the iPhone 6) and 18 hours of LTE internet usage (up from 10 hours on the iPhone 6). The 2,942mAh iPhone XR already offers 25 hours of talk time and 15 hours of internet use, meaning a battery case could provide reduced utility compared to the battery-starved 1,810mAh iPhone 6.
All may be revealed in the new year, as Apple completes its holiday season after the launch of the new phones.
Related video: Apple Reveals All the Best Features of the iPhone XS and XR