10 December, 2015
Battery in Carbonite
With all the discussion of the Apple iPhone 6s Smart Battery Case being ugly profiteering, Tim Cook has stepped in to defended the accessory, saying "it's not a 'hump'." Clearly the controversy is over the design not being up to the elegant, supermodel thin aesthetic of the iPhone 6s. Maybe we're just looking at it wrong.
Design aesthetics change with time. The translucent plastic that was developed by Apple for the original iMac worked in harmony with the "gel" buttons in the operating system.
But that is no longer the Apple design aesthetic. Both the hardware and the software have changed. Colors have been subdued, brushed metallic is the favored surface and thin is definitely in. But that has led to the problem that the physical mass required for a lithium ion battery of an appropriate "all day" size is too large for the form factor of the device. The design of an elegant tool, for a more civilized user, like the iPhone 6s (not as clumsy or random as an Android phone) has sacrificed a functional component.
To address this, Apple entered the already active battery case market with its first design, the iPhone 6s Smart Battery Case. But the disturbance in The Force was great—the iPhone 6s Smart Battery Case didn't match the elegance of the phone.
Maybe the design aesthetic isn't wrong, maybe it is just changing. While the iPhone 6s and 6s Plus come from the light side of the force, it certainly looks like the iPhone 6s Smart Battery Case comes from the dark side of The Force.
As Boba Fett delivers Han Solo in carbonite to Jabba the Hutt, he clearly makes reference to "Art created by the Dark Lord that happened to use Han Solo as material." To help with the issue of a smaller battery in the iPhone 6s, Apple has made art from the battery. There is no way around the fact that the Smart Battery Case is first and foremost a battery. So why not make art from the battery? Don't hide it by making it thin, molding it around the edges or making the phone lopsided at one end—add a battery on the back and shrink wrap it the case.
Look at the Smart Battery Case again from this perspective.
That is exactly what Apple has done is this design. No hiding the fact that the case contains a second battery. It is unashamedly out there for all to see; it is a battery.
No, it isn't a hump, a bump, a tumor or a mole. It is a battery. Undisguised, unadulterated, a battery. It is a battery molded into a case. It is battery in carbonite. It is a Smart Battery Case. No need to hide that. No need to sugar coat that. It is a Smart Battery Case. And that battery case is good art—simple, clear, profound. Like the simple aesthetic of the storm trooper. Art, dark side of The Force style.
You can almost see Han Solo now...