Hands-On With the Leather Sleeve for iPhone 12 Models
Apple this year came out with a handful of accessories for the new iPhone 12 models, and in addition to the standard Silicone and Leather cases, there's also a new Leather Sleeve that recently went on sale.
We picked up one of the Leather Sleeves to check it out to see if it's worth the $129 that Apple is charging. The Leather Sleeve is available for the iPhone 12, 12 Pro, 12 Pro Max, and 12 mini, with all of the Sleeves priced the same.
Design wise, it's not a traditional case and covers the front and back of the iPhone with the exception of a small cutout at the front. It comes in Baltic Blue, Pink Citrus, Saddle Brown, and (PRODUCT)RED, with the high price point due to the material that it's made of. Apple says it's crafted from a "specially tanned and finished European leather" that "feels soft to the touch," and that's true. The iPhone 12 mini version we have feels nice in the hand.
A lanyard attaches to the bottom of the Leather Sleeve, and that lanyard can be used to connect the sleeve to a bag or a purse, or it can be worn over the wrist as a simple iPhone holder. When held or attached to a bag, the Leather Sleeve is upside down so there's little risk of the iPhone slipping out accidentally.
The iPhone fits tightly into the Leather Sleeve to keep it secure for the most part. There are also several card slots inside, which is handy, because you can keep credit cards and ID there. The card slots are snug too and feel like they'll keep cards in place without slippage. You can fit two to three cards inside, similar to the MagSafe Leather Wallet Apple also sells.
There's a cutout at the front of the Leather Sleeve that's designed to show the time. The time on the iPhone's screen displays thanks to the MagSafe connection between the Leather Sleeve and the iPhone, allowing for a special display. The color of the time is designed to match the color of the Leather Sleeve, which is a unique feature.
Other than the time, that little display cutout will show incoming phone calls, which is handy, but you can't answer a call while the iPhone is in the Leather Sleeve. It has to be taken out. The window does not display any other incoming notifications, even for Apple apps like Messages, which makes it of limited utility.
There are a few other animations when attaching MagSafe accessories like chargers to the back of the Leather Sleeve, but that's about it. Speaking of MagSafe, the iPhone can be charged with a MagSafe charger while in the Leather Sleeve, just like it can in a standard case.
The Leather Sleeve is a design choice that's going to be more polarizing than Apple's traditional cases just because of the limited functionality and the need to take the iPhone in and out of the sleeve prior to using it. It's not an accessory that many of us here at MacRumors would pick up, but for those who like the appeal of a simple carrying case that also includes wallet functionality, it's potentially worth checking out.