[Image above] Apple’s new iPhone case, called the Smart Battery Case, features a lock-screen indicator that lets users know how much juice is left in both the phone and case battery. Credit: CNET; YouTube

The 2016 Consumer Electronics Show came to a close last week in Las Vegas. Although we weren’t there in person to witness the latest consumer tech on display, we closely watched the trends and we’re anticipating all that’s to come in 2016.

When it comes to the latest consumer electronics, revolutionary seems to take a backseat to evolutionary. The goal is to make what’s already good better and more efficient with a sleeker design.

Top of the tech revamp list includes thinner, sharper image displays for tablets, TVs, and smartphones. Wearables are positioned to look cooler and work more efficiently. Autos are getting smarter and more integrated with an uber-connected world.

Of course as a tech consumer myself I’m excited by all of these advancements. But the trend I’m most stoked about is the push for gadgets that will extend battery life for all my precious, handheld electronic devices—especially for my iPhone that never leaves my side. I know I’m not alone.

Lucky for us, Apple has released a new smartphone battery case that promises to give iPhone 6 and 6s users up to 25 hours of talk time, 18 hours of LTE use, and 20 hours of audio and video playback.

Called the Smart Battery Case, it’s made from protective silicone and uses the same Lightning charge cable as the iPhone—an appealing feature, since other battery life-extending smartphone cases on the market use USB cords. (One less cord to tote around? I’ll take it!) Another unique feature is the “intelligent battery status,” a lock-screen indicator that lets users know how much juice is left in both the phone and case battery.


Design-wise, the case isn’t ultra-thin. It has a small bump on the back that’s necessary for the extra battery—a flaw to those who opt for a completely bulk-free look. But it might be a compromise worth making for added function and efficiency.

Another design flaw is that the case extends the iPhone’s headphone jack, requiring an adapter to connect headphones when the case is in use—something that has to be purchased separately. CNET has a great video review of the case that highlights the pros and cons of the design and functionality. 

Apple’s Smart Battery Case is an answer to iPhone 6, 6s battery woes. Credit: CNET; YouTube

Taking an arguably less bulky approach to smartphone battery efficiency, engineering researchers at Ohio State University have partnered with Columbus, Ohio-based tech company Nikola Labs to develop technology that can be built into a smartphone case that harvests wasted energy and increases battery life by 30% on a single charge.

Since we last covered this news in June, the company has launched a new website that outlines the technology and the team behind the innovation. The smartphone case is still in development, but we’ll keep an eye on any news that emerges and report back.