One of our favorite iPhone 6 cases is back, bigger, and better than ever. Last year, popSLATE finally delivered on their Indiegogo project, releasing an iPhone 6 case with an e-Ink display on the back. That display could show time, weather, and calendar information, while displaying photos uploaded to their own social network. Given that iPhone batteries are still notorious for being short-lived, being able to check the e-Ink display instead of turning the phone on for that basic information was a big help. Still, there was a feeling of missed potential — fortunately, popSLATE is really making the most of that e-Ink display this time around.
The biggest change? Size. The popSLATE 2 case will be available for the iPhone 6/6S+ in addition to the iPhone 6/6S. That’ll help the bigger phone conserve more battery life, but this time, popSLATE will do more than help passively. The original popSLATE left the Lightning port open, using its own internal battery rechargeable using a Micro USB cord. This time, it plugs directly into the Lightning port, so it can use its internal battery to both power itself and charge the iPhone. This way, popSLATE 2 can act as an external battery pack, but can also stay alive if its battery dies by taking power from the iPhone. The e-Ink screen has such a low draw that no matter how you slice it, you’re getting a longer battery life out of your iPhone in the end. popSLATE hasn’t said exactly how big the battery is, though, only that it should provide nine more hours of talk time or five more hours of web browsing.
The popSLATE 2 is also much thinner. This is probably partly because the team was able to leave the Bluetooth module out, since the case will connect to the phone through the Lightning port. It’s 4 mm thick compared to 6.5 mm last year, but has an even larger touch display — 4.3″ on the 6/6S case and 4.7″ on the 6/6S+ case. The displays are still shatterproof, but are now at a higher resolution at 200 dpi compared to 115 dpi last year. There’s also a nice curve to the e-Ink display that makes this case look much more stylish than the previous one.
It’s much more useful this time, too. The original could display basic information and pictures, but popSLATE has really made the most out of that e-Ink display the second time around. They’re still sticking with their own custom-built apps, which look pretty solid so far. The Book app functions as the e-reader we wish the original was, scanning your device for e-books and using a simple touch interface for navigation. Wallet can be used to store loyalty cards, boarding passes, and events tickets, while Feeds can sync up with different content providers like The New York Times, ESPN, and Facebook, pushing stories to the e-Ink display. You can also select from a number of watch faces or use the Dashboard, which can be customized to include information from Feeds (like sports scores) along with time, date, weather, and calendar information. There’s also a Lists app for making to-do lists.
The popSLATE 2 can run five of these apps at once, with three new capacitive touch buttons on the display for navigation instead of the one physical button from the original. All of this still doesn’t require much battery power, being an e-Ink display, but there’s so much more day-to-day use that can now be offloaded from the iPhone to this case — the original admittedly didn’t help to conserve too much power, but the new one is something that might just give you true all-day battery life on your iPhone. Don’t need to say how nice that would be.
The Indiegogo campaign for the popSLATE 2 is getting underway today, with early bird pricing of $70 for both sizes of the case (which come in black or white with multiple color options for the trim). If you decide to wait until popSLATE is ready to ship after the campaign, the regular prices will be $130 and $150, respective to size.