updated 11:20 am EST, Fri December 2, 2011
Software still to blame, analyst suggests
The iOS 5.1 beta is still failing to resolve battery drain some users, according to complaints received by Ars Technica. Battery problems are one of the main targets of v5.1, but while improvements are occurring in some cases, some users are even seeing the situation get worse in early testing. Only one v5.1 beta has been seeded to developers so far.
Analysts suggest that part of the problem may lie with iOS 5's fundamental design, since it simply handles more tasks that may have an impact on power. "I'm not seeing an issue myself," remarks Gartner analyst Michael Gartenberg, "except there are more features I use on a regular basis which do affect battery life. As with all devices, what features you use extensively will affect battery life."
"iOS 5 may simply be using more data transmission or running more background processes to support its new features," adds ABI Research mobile device expert Michael Morgan. "There is also some potential impact of iCloud services." Ars notes that it should be possible to save some battery life by turning off non-essential notifications, reducing the number of synced services, slowing down the pace of data checks, and/or disabling Siri's "raise to talk" function.
Morgan comments that a fundamental problem for Apple is the undefined nature of the problem, which makes it difficult to fix within a complex system. In any case, new hardware isn't believed to be involved. "We tore down the [iPhone] 4S and tested some of the major components, including the new A5 processor," the analyst says. "Nothing that we tested was significantly different from the iPhone 4, and power draw was right where we expected it to be."