When Apple lifted the curtain on the iPhone 4S, the immediate buzz was geared toward Siri and the fancy new camera. After the dust settled though, reports started coming in about poor battery life. Within the last day, they have escalated so much that people are dubbing it “Battery Gate,” after last year’s infamous tragedy with the iPhone 4. In fact, even though the iPhone 4S sports an improved battery with an additional 0.5WHrs of juice, people are claiming almost ridiculous drops in battery life. I even joked about it yesterday on Twitter. After giving the whole subject some more thought though, I’ve compiled a definitive list of reasons why I think that Battery Gate is garbage, which I would like to plague your mind with below.
*Note: I don’t personally have an iPhone 4S to test these claims on. I’m sure people are in fact experiencing abnormally low battery life, the purpose of this post is to debunk claims that poor battery life is being caused by inferior hardware.
1. People are using the iPhone 4S more than the iPhone 4.
Common sense dictates that when a new piece of hardware is released, people will use it. In that case, wouldn’t it be safe to say that people are probably overusing their iPhones because they’re brand new? After all, with iOS 5’s 200 new features, there’s a lot to explore. And with endless hours of enjoyment via Siri, I think it’s safe to say the early adopters have been putting a heck of lot of stress on the battery since the phone was released.
As I just stated, Siri’s witty responses have been keeping people glued to their devices for the last few days. Lest we forget, Siri isn’t a human and requires a data connection to run. Therefore, every time you go and ask Siri what she’s wearing, your iPhone contacts Apple’s servers to reply with “Aluminosilicate glass and stainless steel.” Nice, huh?
3. Notification Center
Apple’s newest linen update, Notification Center, is a battery cow. As handy as it is, the endless notifications pouring in actually do account for a drop in battery. Now, not only do users get the standard alerts for Twitter mentions and Facebook posts, they also get notifications for Emails and all the new iMessages they’ve probably been receiving since now anyone who knows your Apple ID can text you. Not to mention the weather and stock widgets which are always running, unless you decide to turn them off. That’s about equivalent to having both your Weather and Stocks applications open all day. Now remind me again, why do people want iOS to adopt the Android style widgets?
Synchronization comes with a price. You probably don’t even realize it, but every time you take a photo in iOS 5, you’re uploading potentially a few megabytes of data to iCloud. And when you’re taking pictures on your iPad, you’re not off the hook either. Even though your iPhone might look like it’s peacefully sleeping, it’s really sucking down all those snapshots from your iPad into Photo Stream. Wireless data is one of the biggest leeches of battery life, and iCloud makes sure that you’re either sending or receiving data all day long. Even when you’re not touching your iPhone, it’s potentially performing all kinds of data and battery intensive tasks. iCloud backups, iWork file synchronization, wireless app downloads, it all adds to the daily abuse your iPhone battery receives.
5. A5 Processor
This is the only item in my list that can really be tied to the iPhone 4S hardware. It’s very possible that the A5 CPU is less power efficient than that of the previous generation A4 found in the iPhone 4, although I do find it hard to believe that Apple’s engineering team would let something like that just slip through the cracks. Either way, with more power comes more energy consumption. What it really comes down to is personal preference. Do you prefer a snappier system or reduced battery?
Since the introduction of iOS 5, I can say with a decent amount of certainty that I’ve witnessed the battery life go down on both my 1st generation iPad and 4th generation iPod touch. While not nearly as extreme as reports are about the 4S, it’s definitely noticeable.
Honestly, all these Battery Gate issues can be solved with a trait some people seem to lack. Self control. Do you really need to ask Siri about her life story or what she’s up to 20 times a day? Is your Email that important that you have to have it pushed to you every 30 seconds? I think that within a few weeks, when everybody is bored with iOS 5, all of this Battery Gate nonsense will have died down and we’ll all be able to get on with our lives.
Quit stressing the little stuff you can’t control.
Or switch to