Tim Cook Defends Against iPhone Battery 'Hump' Jabs - InformationWeek

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12/10/2015
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Tim Cook Defends Against iPhone Battery 'Hump' Jabs

In response to complaints about iPhone battery life, Apple recently released its first battery case for the device, but the "hump" in the back has met with criticism. CEO Tim Cook defends the design.

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Call it an early defense of against Humpgate -- in an interview with tech blog Mashable, Apple CEO Tim Cook defended the noticeable, and widely lampooned, bulge on the back of the company's recently released $99 iPhone 6 battery pack.

"You know, I probably wouldn't call it 'the hump,'" he said during the interview.

The Internet responded to the product release with a series of witty would-be memes that drew referred to The Hunchback of Notre Dame, Mel Brooks' comedy classic Young Frankenstein, and a host of other pop culture references.

"As you probably know from being a user of this now, one of the real insights here is, have you ever used other cases and tried to get them on?" Cook asked. "If you're charging your phone every day, you probably don't need this at all. But if you're out hiking and you go on overnight trips … it's kind of nice to have."

Cook pointed out the design specifics of the case, noting the ease in which the case slips on and comes off, a veiled criticism of other, non-Apple cases which he implied are more difficult to manipulate and less streamlined than his company's offering.

(Image: Apple)

(Image: Apple)

"If you make [the case] solid all the way across, in order to get it on, you'd find it very difficult to get it on and off," Cook remarked. "So the guys had this great insight to put the bend in along with making it a smart case."

A soft microfiber lining on the inside helps protect the iPhone, while the flexible elastomer hinge design helps makes it easier to put the case on and take it off again.

Competing iPhone battery pack cases often come in two pieces which the user then has to connect together. Some are made of a less elastic material that can be more challenging to slip on and off -- but many of those products also lack the distinguishing protrusion of Apple's Smart Battery Case.

The Wall Street Journal came to Apple's defense in its review of the device, saying that users "choose a battery case for utility, not fashion." The reviewer added that although the Apple's case is "fairly unsightly," it's ahead of other "chunky" cases "made of black matte plastic, requiring you to attach two pieces to your phone."

[Read Apple's Big Update Day Covers iOS, WatchOS, tvOS, OS X.]

The battery pack also includes several of Apple's typical smart design features. When it is turned on, the intelligent battery status is displayed on the iPhone Lock screen and in the Notification Center, so users know exactly how much charge they have left.

In addition, the battery case supports Lightning accessories, such as the Lightning to USB Cable, which is included with the iPhone. It also works with the iPhone Lightning Dock, sold separately.

During Mashable's interview, which took place at the Hour of Code event, Apple's vice president of software engineering, Cheryl Thomas, added her two cents to Cook's usage scenarios for the battery pack: "When you need it, you need it."

To which Cook laughed and responded, "When you need it, you need it. That's right."

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Nathan Eddy is a freelance writer for InformationWeek. He has written for Popular Mechanics, Sales & Marketing Management Magazine, FierceMarkets, and CRN, among others. In 2012 he made his first documentary film, The Absent Column. He currently lives in Berlin. View Full Bio

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