Apple released their AirPods Pro to plenty of fanfare and rave reviews a few weeks ago. The common assumption at the time was that they would continue releasing additional devices and accessories that week, well ahead of Black Friday and the Holiday shopping season. However, the rest of said week came and went with nothing but silence from Apple.
Because of this, I wondered if maybe Apple was done releasing hardware for the year fifteen days ago. They had passed the point of any new releases getting prime placement during Black Friday sales, so it just seemed like maybe they were done, at least on the consumer products side. Shows what I know.
When the 16″ MacBook Pro finally arrived last week, I wasn’t all that surprised. I’m sure a few will sell as Christmas gifts, but that is an expensive machine geared toward working professionals so Holiday shopping placement isn’t a major factor. Most of the people buying that machine right away are doing so for work. However, Apple through a curveball I didn’t see coming yesterday. They suddenly released their new Smart Battery Cases for the iPhone 11, iPhone 11 Pro and iPhone 11 Pro Max.
I’m not surprised at all that Apple got these cases out the door for the Holiday season. The $129 price tag that all three models carry is about what qualifies as a stocking stuffer in the Apple world, at least when it comes to accessories made by Apple. They needed these out there as an option for those giving and receiving the latest iPhones this Christmas. That said, I just didn’t think Apple would wait until a little more than a week before Black Friday to announce them.
As for the cases themselves, they are the same odd design that many Apple fans have made their peace with over the last few years, with a protruding bump on the lower back. However, what you trade off in looks you get back in performance, especially in how this case integrates with the iPhone and works with it to limit overcharging and determine how recharging the iPhone and case works. If 50% additional battery life is good enough for your needs, the Smart Battery Case really is actually a great option.
The one major addition to this year’s cases is a dedicated Camera button. This button automatically launches the iOS Camera app, can shoot photos and can switch to recording video if you hold it down. It’s a nice add that should instantly make the new Smart Battery Cases more appealing to people who love to take lots of pictures and video on their new iPhones.
So Apple, what about those AirTag tracking tiles? I would love to see those fall out of the sky before the week is up.