9:03 AM... return to the battle, armed with credit card. I figure if I can't open the case, I can always order a new one with the card.
9:08 AM... finally succeed in exposing a hairline crack between the case and the battery cover on the side with the single tab. With gentle and steady work, I manage to insert a credit card in the crack, slowly widen it
9:10 AM... first side pops off. I gently wiggle the tab back and forth a few times, to loosen it up, then start working on the other side
9:26 AM... I manage, after much struggle, to expose a hairline crack in the second side. The key here is to have the first side almost, but not entirely, closed: I used a plastic library card to keep it cracked open while I pushed down and out on the other side, using a rough cloth to get a better grip. I insert my credit card in this crack on the second side, gently work the case up, and finally pop off the second side. I gently wiggle the two tabs back and forth a few times to loosen them up.
9:31 AM... success! The cover pops off, after repeated manipulations of the first and second sides, getting the angles of pressure right.
Conclusions: At least in my case, getting the case off the first time IS a matter of brute force and sweat, contrary to the experience of the poster above. The tabs were so stiff, with so little wiggle room for movement, that the only way to make progress was by forcing a crack open by dint of patience, persistence, and struggle, then widening the crack with the help of a plastic card. I was additionally hampered by the fact that I have no fingernails to speak of, and no strength in one thumb (due to a bike accident years ago), making it doubly difficult.
Much as I love the iQube sonically, I have to say that this battery cover is one of the worst designs I've seen in years, maybe ever. It would be nice if the resellers could loosen up the tabs a bit, pop the cover off a few times, when they first install the batteries, prior to shipping the iQube out to customers. That would have saved me much time and frustration, I think.
I put on the cover and popped it off a few times. It's not as smooth as butter, but it's definitely doable now in a matter of a few seconds.