UNU offers a clever approach to create the first iPhone 5 battery case

As much as I love new Apple products, one of the drawbacks to being an early adopter is the lack of compatibility with older accessories. In the case of the iPhone 5, to enjoy the new form factor, you have to upgrade to the new, proprietary Lightning connector. While there are adapters for speaker docks, etc., one type lf accessory that has been unable to make the transition is a case with a built in battery.

Until Lightning based chargers are available from other vendors, the folks at UNU have come up with a clever approach. I have used, and enjoyed, their battery pack case for the iphone 4 and 4S, so I was disappointed when I realized there wouldn't be an easy replacement.

Master your iPhone in one minute a day:

Sign up to iPhone Life's Tip of the Day Newsletter and we'll send you a tip each day to save time and get the most out of your iPhone or iPad.

So UNU Ecopak built a modular three part system. First, there is a slim, hardshell case that protects your iPhone 5.

The shell is available in multiple colors and has three slots to connect the Ecopak 'battery backpack' that snaps on, securely, and doubles our battery life.

In order to connect the backpack electrically to the iPhone 5, you need to provide your own Lightning cable. Ideally, UNU or someone else will come up with a small (2" or so) cable, to avoid tangles.

The Ecopak is eco-friendly because the battery pack is separate from the case, and can be recycled independently. In fact, they have a promotion where you can get a great deal on the new battery case by sending in an old battery pack to be recycled, or a new hardshell snap case just by liking them on Facebook!

I like that the battery pack is modular, so you could swap out packs indefinitely and always be charged. Just charge the spare packs using the included microUSB cable. All in all, the UNU Ecopak is clever, modular approach to a vexing problem.
Master your iPhone in one minute a day: Sign up here to get our FREE Tip of the Day delivered right to your inbox.

Todd Bernhard is a bestselling (6+ million downloads) award-winning (AARP, About.com, BestAppEver.com, Digital Hollywood, and Verizon) developer and founder of NoTie.NET, an app developer specializing in Talking Ringtone apps including AutoRingtone. And his profile photo is of the last known sighting of Mr. Bernhard wearing a tie, circa 2007!

An iPhone is almost always attached to his hip or in his pocket, but over the years, Mr. Bernhard has owned an Apple Newton, a Motorola Marco, an HP 95LX, a Compaq iPaq, a Palm Treo, and a Nokia e62. In addition to writing for iPhone Life, Mr. Bernhard has written for its sister publications, PocketPC Magazine and The HP Palmtop Paper.