iPhone battery life has been a huge concern for users for several years, but it’s likely that this won’t change into the foreseeable future.
According to a survey asking users what technology they wanted the most, better battery life was at the top of list, and it’s not surprising considering that many users can’t go a full day without recharging their iPhones. As smartphones get more power-hungry, yet slimmer, battery life can take a backseat when it comes to features that smartphone manufacturers focus on.
However, battery life is something that is constantly on Apple’s mind, but the company has to find a balance between battery life and other features, and sometimes that can be difficult. Apple’s Senior Vice President of Worldwide Marketing, Phil Schiller, says that the company has made some good choices so far when it comes to this.
During an interview with Daring Fireball‘s John Gruber back in June, Schiller said that there’s always a tradeoff when it comes to better battery life.
“If you want a product that’s thicker with a bigger battery, well, it’s also heavier, it’s also more costly, it also takes longer to charge. It’s also… y’know, there are… all these things have ramifications [when] designing a total system.”
Schiller continued by saying that Apple hasn’t reached a point yet it’s “trading off thinness for features and capabilities at the expense of the best optimized product.”
However, the biggest thing that could completely change iPhone battery life and give it a boost is merely just a big breakthrough in battery technology, and just recently an iPhone 6 was modified with a battery that can last a whole week before it would need charged again. A company called Intelligent Energy made a hydrogen fuel cell battery small enough to fit into an iPhone 6, with the only change needed to be made being some small vents on the iPhone 6’s outer shell that allow excess water to escape, due to how the hydrogen fuel cells operate.
The company claims to be working with Apple on implementing the technology in future iPhones, but don’t cross your fingers just yet, because it could still be years before this technology would see the light of day, mostly due to manufacturing costs and how expensive hydrogen fuel cell batteries can cost, especially if they’re modified to fit in a small form factor like the iPhone.
Furthermore, the fantasy of longer battery life will most likely be just that for a while. The Wall Street Journal even predicts that the battery technology in smartphones “will improve only modestly through the end of this decade.” And when that improvement does come, it’ll probably only be about a 15% gain and it won’t be from new battery technology, but rather the “increase in the average size of smartphones, which allows for higher-capacity batteries, and enhancements to the components that draw down power.”
As an example, Apple’s website says that the iPhone 6 has a talk-time of up to 14 hours, while the iPhone 6 Plus can last up to 24 hours. Furthermore, internet use over LTE will last up to 10 hours, while the iPhone 6 Plus can last up to 12 hours. The iPhone 6 Plus also has a standby time of up to 16 days, whereas the iPhone 6 can only last up to 10 days on standby.
The size of the phone alone can provide a serious boost to the battery life, which could be one of the reasons why smartphones are getting larger and larger every year, but that will only last so long until phones can only get so big. After that point, battery life will reach yet another plateau until a battery technology breakthrough can be implemented.