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iPhone 5s & 5C

Sept 2013 iPhone 5S
Image (c) Apple 2013 via

Here is my scathing editorial on this half-baked, energy storage problem that found its way into more "new" revisions of the now iconic iPhone that got the whole "smart-phone" revolution started. 

Sealed Battery Again = Fail || 
Eco-friendly my A$$ 

1 day of battery life under casual use? 

Hey Apple, if you want to give the iPhone reasonable battery life, you are going to need to put a 3ah (3000mAh) battery in them. Power users who have the screen on for a few hours are going to juice the undersized sealed battery in less than 1 day, hunting in vain for a plug with their little white cube converters and cables to keep their weak battery iPhone's up and running.

"Oh, but Apple uses the best battery chemistry that allows for 1000 cycles" says the iFan, as if that would do anything for someone in need of a phone power solution on the go. That's all fine and nice iFans, but the problem has nothing to do with the battery chemistry or its cycle life, it has everything to do with real world battery life, time between charging sessions. The battery inside the iPhone is too small to give good batter life performance.

For people with a busy life, having a smartphone with more than 1 real world day of battery life can make all the difference. This is exactly why I went with the Galaxy Note II ; Samsung shipped it with properly sized 3100mah battery. I will admit the built in Wacom pen interface was also a strong selling point for me. If Apple had made the battery user accessible in the iPhone 4S or iPhone 5 I would have stayed with Apple, but I was forced to abandon my entire core electronics ecosystem in order to get decent battery life and a smartphone where I can change the battery without doing hours of electronics surgery. 

Weak battery life again? 

Maybe 1 whole day, probably not, who wants to spend their finite, limited, and priceless time every day hunting for a power outlet just to keep their phone alive till the end of the day? 

Fancy New Tricks 

New LED Flash and Improved Camera of iPhone 5S
Image (c) Apple 2013 via

Innovative High-Res Finger Print Scanner on iPhone 5S
Image (c) The Verge via
I will admit that the improved camera with sapphire lens cover and larger sensor, the new dual color LED flash setup with over 1000's combinations, and the new ("revolutionary"/ maybe not)  high resolution fingerprint security scanner built into the home button are cool innovations. Even the new power efficient M7 co-processor is nifty, especially with all the tricks it enables, but it seems to add nothing to battery life.

"But it has a larger capacity Battery!" says the iFan.

All of the added battery capacity is squandered by new, more powerful internal hardware. Any gains that might have been achieved in real world battery performance were ruined by upgraded high performance power components that juice the sealed non user serviceable now slightly larger internal battery harder than ever. The result, same battery life as before...

Mehhhhhhhhhh, Blaahhhhh, Snore

Changing Perspective 

A few years ago I was a fully hardened Apple Fanatic, set on getting an iPhone 5 as my first smartphone. I ended up buying an iPad to control my AR Drone and when I looked into what it would it take to change the battery I began to loose my faith in Apple.

A quick trip over to the ifixit web page, and you can find out what a hellish nightmare it is to change the battery in an iPad, iPod Touch, iPhone or even the new MacBooks with their glued in, screwed in, non user serviceable batteries.

See my problem with Apple comes down to this. 

The battery is the first thing to fail in mobile electronics. Batteries are usually the first critical component to weaken and fade in mobile electronics. The main problem with a weak iPhone battery comes down to the fact that the iPhone is a really well made, durable and enduring product that can survive many years of use by a careful end use who wraps their iPhone in a protective case like those offered by OttoBox or LifeProof.

I know people that still have the original iPhone, who performed battery heart surgery on them repeatedly. I am not saying it is impossible to change the battery in Apple's mobile devices, I am saying that they designed it so that it is a complete royal pain in the eyes and hands to even attempt to open these new i-devices.

If it takes 26 pages of ifixit instructions, 5 specialized tools, a heat, bean bag thermal pouch, soldering iron, and experience with soldering to ribbons cables just to change the battery, then that makes it nearly impossible for the average person to change the battery! The technical sophistication required to change these iThing batteries is so great that only a small minority of geeky electronic enthused nerds even attempt to change the batteries in Apple mobile devices. When the batteries in my iPad finally give up their ghost I am going to have to waste almost a whole day worth of my time replacing the batteries if I choose to do it myself.

iWill end by saying this: 

If Apple wants to call their mobile devices eco-friendly, they need to make it easy for the end user to change an old weak battery with a new strong fresh battery. As long as Apple continues sealing the batteries inside their devices, I will continue to call them out for this unethical dingleberry engineering mistake that they seem intent on repeating one generation after the other. It is because of this betrayal of their customers that I lost my enthusiasm for Apple. I still have some iThings in my electronics collection, but rarely use them now, save for the DICE connector in my ride which only has a 30pin input, and the stayed and rarely used Apple TV. The iPad mostly sits in its box as I switched to using an Asus Nexus 7, mostly a symbolic middle finger to Apple: the iPad coming out only sparingly to work as a remote control for the AR Drone. 

** Update 1

Apple broke another sales record with the new iPhone, shipping more than 9 million units within the first week of launch. This proves yet again, with some very powerful marketing and a fairly innovative product (even if it has a weak, sealed battery), Apple has a loyal fanbase and market mindshare that is really hard to comprehend. The things that Apple makes transcend their material value, functional value, or technical value: there is something else going on that causes these sales numbers, and that thing is culture. Apple has created an iCulture, an ecosystem, a style, a user base and fan base: though a combination of solid well made products, intuitive UI designs, technical innovations and stellar marketing, Apple has creative waves, rising from obscurity into the mainstream lime light of consumer electronics popularity.


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