Apple last week launched new Smart Battery Cases for its iPhone 11 and iPhone 11 Pro lineups. Now, this week, iFixit has taken a peek under the hood to see how the new cases work.
On the outside, the cases themselves don’t appear much different from past iterations, with the exception of a new camera button and a larger cutout for the camera bump.
But iFixit has teamed up with Creative Electron to put the new cases through an x-ray to see if anything else has changed internally.
As it turns out, it has. The series of x-ray images reveal that Apple has made several interesting tweaks to the internals of the case to make the new camera button possible.
- The button itself will instantly open the Camera app if it’s pressed.
- When the Camera app is open, a single press takes a photo and holding the button down takes a QuickTake video.
It’s also a bit recessed into the case so that users won’t accidentally activate it in a pocket or bag.
All in all, it’s a useful feature for an iPhone focused on camera improvements.
To actually get the Camera button to function, Apple has introduced a small circuit board into its Smart Battery Case. The board connects to the button using a thin and flexible cable. The circuit itself connects to an iPhone by way of the Lightning port.
Apple’s new iPhone 11, iPhone 11 Pro and iPhone 11 Pro Max devices already feature significantly improved battery lives. But if users need to bump that up, the Smart Battery Cases can add up to 50 percent additional battery life to the iPhones.
How much actual usage that’ll translate to will differ depending on your device, but you can expect up to 8.5 hours of additional video playback on an iPhone 11, 9 hours on an iPhone 11 Pro and 10 hours on an iPhone 11 Pro Max.
The cases can be charged via Qi wireless charging or through the onboard Lightning port. You can also access the Lightning port on the iPhone itself, since the case acts as a passthrough.
They’re priced at $129, made from the same material as Apple’s silicone cases, and are available in black, white or pink sand (although the latter color option is restricted to the two Pro models).