Apple is selling a new battery case for its latest iPhones... for $129

iPhone Xs Max
The iPhone XS Max

Apple has just started selling silicone "Smart Battery Cases" for the iPhone XS, XS Max and XR models, promising talk time for the phones that in some instances could exceed a day and a half. But if you think Apple's iPhones are expensive, consider that each of these optional cases fetches $129.

The new cases are compatible with wireless (so-called Qi-certified) chargers, and yes, Apple says you can charge your iPhone and the case itself simultaneously. You'll see the battery status for the phone and the case displayed on the iPhone lock screen and in Notification Center, similar to the way the status is listed when you are wearing Apple's AirPods or Apple Watch.

The new cases come in black or white and are lined inside with a soft microfiber.

According to Apple's own tests, the designated talk time for the iPhone XS, XS Max and XR cases are up to 33, 37 and 39 hours, respectively. Internet longevity for the three phones are up to 21, 20 and 22 hours. And video playback is rated at up to 25, 25 and 27 hours.

The cases, which have a visible hump on the rear which covers the battery, are not compatible with earlier iPhone models including the iPhone X which has a similar design and size to the XS.

This is the first new battery case from Apple since it created one for 2016's iPhone 7 and similar to that case the accessory charges using Apple's Lightning cable.

Apple did not produce such external battery pack cases for the iPhone 7 Plus or 2017's iPhone 8, 8 Plus or iPhone X models.

When it comes to iPhone batteries, Apple reportedly replaced 11 million batteries under its $29 replacement plan last year, according to blogger John Gruber of Daring Fireball; 1 to 2 million battery replacements are the apparent norm. Apple had launched the $29 replacement plan after it apologized for slowing down iPhones with aging batteries and subsequently launched other tools to give iPhone users more visibility on battery performance.

Apple has started taking orders on the new cases, but the cases themselves aren't expected to arrive until Friday.

Most smartphone users can never have enough battery, so in that respect the new cases are welcome. Of course, name brand third-party accessory makers also now produce battery cases for the latest iPhones and other handsets, but at around $120, Mophie's battery pack cases for the latest iPhones aren't all that much cheaper than Apple's.

While you can save money by getting a portable and plugging in your phone's charging cable, if you want the convenience of a case you're going to have to pay for it.

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