Why aren’t there any battery cases for the iPhone X?

Image: Reuters/Thomas Peter
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It’s been six months since the iPhone X went on sale. But neither Apple nor any of its usual accessory partners have made battery cases for its latest smartphone—or for the iPhone 8, which was released seven months ago.

There is often a delay between the period when a new phone is released and the turnaround time it takes for manufacturers to get their hands on the device, design their accessories, and ship them. But it’s not usually the better part of a year. Samsung announced its latest smartphone, the Galaxy S9, on Feb. 25—and a day later, Mophie, a popular battery-case manufacturer, announced its case for the phone.

There appears to be no logistical reason why there aren’t any battery cases for the iPhone X yet. Quartz asked Mophie if Apple had told the company not to produce a battery case for some reason, or if there was any other reason for not releasing one yet.

“The product development team works to bring solutions to market as quickly as possible whenever flagship smartphones are announced,” a Mophie spokesperson told Quartz. When asked specifically why an iPhone X battery case hasn’t been released yet, especially given how quickly Mophie produced a case for Samsung’s newest phones, the spokesperson said, “We can’t confirm any products until they are announced publicly.”

Another prominent accessory-maker told Quartz that it had not been barred from making a case by Apple. That company, along with another accessory-maker Quartz spoke with, said that they were simply focusing on other products to complement the iPhone, such as wireless charging pads.

Apple’s latest phones are the first it’s produced that support wireless charging. When I purchased an iPhone X on launch day, the sales clerk at the Apple Store brought a Belkin wireless charging pad out with my phone, without my asking. Because I knew I was going to probably buy one anyway, I just agreed to add it onto my purchase. It’s unlikely that I was the only customer who made that call.

It’s possible that Apple is encouraging its partners to produce wireless chargers over battery packs, as a charging pad wouldn’t be able to charge wirelessly through a large external battery strapped to the phone. Apple is also working on its own wireless charging pad that it announced in September. Perhaps the company is avoiding releasing a new battery case that might tempt customers away from its wireless charging ecosystem, which will likely cost over $100.

But as is often the case with Apple, the company is tight-lipped about products it hasn’t released. The company did not respond to multiple requests for comment about why there aren’t any iPhone X cases yet.

I’ve argued previously that wireless charging seems to be the future of smartphones. We won’t have to worry about our devices’ battery levels, as there will be charging pads to toss our phones upon wherever we are. Still, why not give customers an option to give Apple another $100 until wireless chargers are everywhere?

If you are finding that your iPhone X can’t last a full day (it can struggle to do so), there are battery cases available online, just not from any major manufacturer. And buying one from less reputable sources is always risky. Remember what happened with hoverboards?