Today, Apple quietly began taking orders for battery-equipped cases for all three 2018 iPhone models—iPhone XS, iPhone XS Max, and iPhone XR. The value proposition and designs are essentially the same as with battery cases made by Apple for prior iPhones.
As pictured above, each phone gets a black and a white option. The cases are made of silicone and closely resemble the existing, not-battery-equipped silicone cases that began shipping with the phones first became available late last year, except for the significant bumps on the lower two thirds of the backs of each case. The bump houses the battery, of course. Since the three phones are each different sizes, these cases are not interchangeable between models.
These cases work with Qi wireless chargers, and you can charge both the case and the phone at the same time from said chargers—though it should probably be said that Qi speeds on iPhones are nothing to write home about, and that’s a whole lot of lithium-ion battery to fill up. In many cases, you’ll be better off going wired, and that’s OK, because the cases support fast-charging from USB-PD compatible chargers.
With the iPhone XS case, Apple promises up to 33 hours of talk time, 21 hours of Internet use, or 25 hours of video playback. For the XS Max, it’s up to 37 hours talk, 20 hours Internet, and 25 hours video playback.
As we saw in our iPhone XR review, the XR already has impressive battery life, so adding this case to it will get you some serious endurance: 39, 22, and 27 hours respectively for those use cases. Apple tested the battery life on pre-production units of the matching iPhone models, according to a footnote on each case’s Apple Store page. We’ve usually found that Apple’s own claims about its products’ battery life are pretty close to reality in our reviews, but of course, a term like “Internet use” is sufficiently vague as to not be very useful.
The cases also support Lightning accessories. Of course, if Apple moves to USB-C this year or next as often rumored and you feel compelled to upgrade already, you might end up having to buy another case before too long here, even if the 2019 iPhones don’t change the form factor in a big way.
These phone models are too new to be experiencing major battery-life problems that have inevitably affected older iPhones and which led, in part, to Apple’s battery-replacement program last year. And they offer better battery life overall than 2017’s phones. But conference attendees and frequent travelers know that no battery will ever last long enough.
Each case costs $129 and is available now on Apple’s online store.