iFixit called it "Jony Ive's worst nightmare," but they still tore down Apple's new Smart Battery Case to see what's inside.
As you might expect, Apple doesn't expect you to want to get into the guts of this case and so they've not made repairability a high priority. However, after some hacking and peeling away at the microfiber lining, a 7.13 Whr (1877 mAh at 3.8 V) capacity battery was uncovered, which means that this more than double the charge capacity of the iPhone 6s (which has a 6.55 Whr battery).
Inside there's also a tiny charging circuit board featuring some rudimentary chips on it:
- NXP NX20P3 load switch, also found in Lightning to USB cables
- NXP 1608A1 charging IC, also found in all of the new Magic accessories
The case also features the most oddly located LED in history. It's on the inside of the case, and you'll only ever see it light up if you charge the case without an iPhone installed. I'm still scratching my head over this design decision.
So, it's a battery pack, and it does what a battery pack should. But it's ugly. At least we can't accuse Apple of putting form before function with this product.