Rumor: Next Gen iPhone to have “innovative battery technology”

Sun, Mar 22, 2009

Analysis, News, Rumors

iPhoneHellas, a Greek iPhone site, is reporting today that the next iteration of the iPhone will “feature new and innovative battery technology.” The site claims that it received information from a reliable source, and if you recall, iPhoneHellas is the same site that predicted the launch date for the iPhone OS 2.2 software update nearly 2 weeks in advance. While that’s hardly enough to establish a strong track record, it’s still worth noting.

Advanced battery technology is simply the latest rumor to a growing list of rumors regarding the next generation iPhone. Just 2 days after the release of the new iPhone 3.0 SDK, developers were quick to find data strings in the iPhone firmware which suggested a major hardware revision was in store. Building on that, AppleInsider recently reported, citing their own reliable source, that the next gen iPhone will include support for video recording. And if that isn’t enough to satiate your iPhone hunger, there were also reports late last week suggesting that the next iPhone model will support significantly faster Internet browsing speeds of up to 7.2Mbps. The current iPhone 3G only supports browsing speeds of up to 3.6Mbps.

Returning to the “new and innovative battery technology”, remember that it’s been nearly a year since Apple acquired P.A. Semi, a boutique microprocessor design company known for their sophisticated, and more importantly, low-power chips. As the software that people run on the iPhone becomes more CPU intensive, efficient battery life will become more of a necessity, and more importantly, a significant way to differentiate the iPhone from competitors who continue to try and deliver products that can give the iPhone a run for its money.

Battery life as a product differentiator

Eventually, the UI advantage of the iPhone over other phones will become less apparent as companies will continue to copy facets of the iPhone in addition to coming up with their own UI advancements. The buzz surrounding the yet to be released Palm Pre is evidence of this. With that in mind, Apple is betting on two factors to ensure that the iPhone maintains its competitive edge. Of course, there is the iTunes App Store, which if sales continue at their current pace, will break the 1 Billion download mark in the next 2 months or so. And second, there’s the issue of battery life. If the team and technology acquired from P.A. Semi is able to work with Apple to deliver a significantly longer lasting battery, it will obviously make it more practical to implement significant hardware improvements, in addition to satisfying users who will now be able to use their iPhones at full blast without worrying about running out of juice in 2 hours.

Apple strategy of differentiation via prolonged battery life was clearly in full effect when Apple announced a 17-inch MacBook Pro with a non-replaceable battery at this years Macworld. The result is a laptop that can run for up to 8 hours between charges, though real world testing puts the number a tad lower than that. But the underlying theme is that Apple is firmly aware of the importance of superior battery life in a marketplace when the features of competing products are continually converging. If “new and innovative” battery technology is indeed a part of the next gen iPhone, competitors will have an even tougher time of slowing the tide of the iPhone’s growing marketshare.

Related: Next iPhone to include Video Recording

Related: Internet Speeds on the next iPhone will be significantly faster


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2 Comments For This Post

  1. B Says:

    Whether this is true (at this particular point in time) or not, I am happy just to here mention of this topic.
    All I ever seem to read about is “where’s the multi-tasking?”, “where’s the higher rez camera?”, where’s the video capture?, increased data speed?, processor power?, etc. etc. You can have all of these things, IF you don’t mind carrying around a brick. (when I want those things I carry my laptop; duh). Otherwise, I want something that goes in my hip pocket, and that I only need to plug into a charger when I go to sleep at night. Those are the two things that matter the most in a handheld portable device.
    Battery technology is the single most important thing going forward with the hardware’s development.

  2. Constable Odo Says:

    Yeah B, supposedly tech-heads just don’t get it. Their solution is to carry spare batteries. We’re talking about a smartphone, not some desktop computer that happens to fit in a pocket. By the time most tech-heads load up with all the energy-draining features in their smartphones, they’ll have about a couple of hours of use at full clip.

    The iPhone is supposedly going to have OLED technology which is a battery saver (although the cost is higher than other displays). If Apple can get a revolutionary battery supply with power-saving chip technology, then I’d say those are some of the best features to suit the average smartphone user. When I say average, I’m talking about a new crop of millions of smartphone users who are not tech-savvy.

    Look, I love fast processors and background tasks maybe more than the next guy, but I still want to be able to make and receive phone calls before my battery goes dead. The iPhone sees very heavy use, much more than the average smartphone. Videos, music, BROWSING, games, eReading, a little texting. These are used on the iPhone more than any other smartphone around and the battery in that slim case is taking a heavy hit and it’s not user-replaceable. Yeah, I know, use a Mophie JuicePack or something.

    Tech guys are only interested in hardware specs and don’t consider the majority of people that don’t concern themselves about specs. Those non-savvy users just want their smartphone to do most of the things well and the easier for them to use them, the better. Apple has to balance things out so that customers don’t have too many complaints and build products that have good cash margins. This is the way to run a business. 8MP cellphones with Carl Zeiss lenses are not going to sell like the iPhone will. Hardly anyone I know even understands background processing. They only do things in a foreground mode.

    So regardless of whether the iPhone seems technologically inferior to a tech-head, it really doesn’t matter. Apple is not trying to sell products to those type of people because they’re in the minority. Apple just wants it’s buyers to say that the iPhone is easy to operate and they enjoy using it and they’ll buy it again the next time around. Good user experience. And as an Apple shareholder, that’s good enough for me.

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