It’s taken a long time, but Belkin has finally released the first Apple-approved battery packthat features a Lightning port input for charging. In other words, instead of recharging your battery pack with a MicroUSB or USB-C cable, you can plug it in to the same Lightning cable you use for your iPhone or iPad, as spotted by MacRumors.
Aside from the Lightning input, the rest of the BoostCharge Power Bank Lightning 10K is pretty standard by battery pack standards. There are two USB Type-A ports for plugging in your cable of choice for recharging your gear on the go: one a faster, 2.4 amp jack, and the other a slower 1 amp plug. The battery itself is a 10,000mAh cell, which should be enough to recharge an iPhone a few times over (presumably you’re using the Lightning-equipped accessory with one of Apple’s phones, although it will work with anything you can plug into the USB ports).
Products with built-in Lightning ports have been a long time coming, with Apple first adding the option to Apple’s MFi accessory program all the way back in 2014. The newly launched Belkin pack seems to be the first (and right now, only) product that has gotten Apple’s blessing to actually take advantage of the option.
The biggest problem with the BoostCharge Power Bank Lightning 10K is the $59.99 price tag, which is almost twice as much as what competitors like Anker charge for battery packs with similar capacity. That means you’re paying a pretty hefty premium for the added convenience of being able to use the same Lightning cable for charging.
Adding to the issue is the fact that in the four years it’s taken to reach the market, USB-C battery packs have begun to crop up, with a far more useful universal cable and faster charging than what Lightning can provide. In 2018, it’s a lot harder to make an argument that you should pay extra for Lightning when you could put that money toward a similarly pricey, but far more useful USB-C pack instead.
Still, if the idea of being able to carry one less cable in your bag is appealing to you, at least now you’ll have the option. And ideally, the Belkin pack will be the first of many to feature the Lightning input, with other (hopefully cheaper) options popping up in the future.