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Apple Acknowledges iPhone 4S Battery Problems 315

Posted by samzenpus
from the our-bad dept.
bdking writes "After more than two weeks of complaints from frustrated iPhone 4S owners, Apple finally has admitted problems with fast-draining batteries in the new devices. The company blames it on bugs in iOS 5 and promises a fix 'in a few weeks.' But Apple should have spoken up sooner, if only to acknowledge the issue."
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Apple Acknowledges iPhone 4S Battery Problems

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  • Speed (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward

    But Apple should have spoken up sooner, if only to acknowledge the issue.

    It's been pretty quick by corporate standards and Apple don't exactly have a reputation for owning up to mistakes. I think this is a good response by them.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      The antenna problems with the iPhone 4 were obfuscated and blamed on the user at first, too.

    • Well also lets be fair here. Reports like this really do take time to figure out before making a rash response.

      1. Some of the users just got a new fancy phone and they drain the battery playing with all the features they wouldn't necessary do.
      2. They may not be properly charging the phones... Perhaps there is a bad batch of charging cable that got shipped.
      3. Are the people reporting the problem from a particular batch of phone. A bad manufacturing run.
      4. Is the problem a software problem where they can jus

  • by steevven1 (1045978) on Thursday November 03, 2011 @02:19PM (#37939068) Homepage
    Can we keep the blatant opinions out of the articles, and save them for the comments?
    • by tripleevenfall (1990004) on Thursday November 03, 2011 @02:26PM (#37939184)

      It's better than the passive-aggressive editorials (i.e., "It will be interesting to see if...") that are normally present in /. summaries.

      • It's better than the passive-aggressive editorials (i.e., "It will be interesting to see if...") that are normally present in /. summaries.

        This 150%. Everybody has a point of view, even if it's mostly belief in the existence of objective facts. We shouldn't try to pretend that objective reporting is impossible, but at the same time, it's much easier to understand where someone is coming from if they are up front and open about their opinion. Only idiots believe in 100% fair and balanced reporting.

    • Actually in this case it is in the article (it's one of those sensationalist pieces, the "finally" in the headline is a dead giveaway.)

    • You have to say something inflammatory about someone or something.
    • by LWATCDR (28044)

      Is the problem the users, the editors, or both.
      Way to many summaries have been inflammatory of late and some have been downright untrue. The the summary of the XBox in prison story for example.

  • by mikael_j (106439) on Thursday November 03, 2011 @02:19PM (#37939070)

    My experience from working for completely different companies is that the standard approach to product flaws is to ignore them completely or at least stay quiet until your people in-house have verified the problem and are halfway done with a fix or workaround (or the lawyers have concluded that the company isn't liable in which case it is somehow not a problem anyway no matter what the customers claim).

  • Seriously? (Score:4, Informative)

    by alvinrod (889928) on Thursday November 03, 2011 @02:21PM (#37939094)
    From the summary:

    "But Apple should have spoken up sooner, if only to acknowledge the issue."

    What a load of shit. The device has been out for about three weeks at this point. How many other companies actually work this quickly to actually determine whether or not a problem exists, determine what the problem actually is, and then start working on a fix? I wish the companies that I regularly deal with were remotely as responsive to issues.
  • Had this been an issues with a new blackberry, you know they would be crucified. The media loves to let apple getaway with stuff like this all the time, but any mistakemade by RIM and it means the end of the company. If this is a software bug, why are we waiting weeks for a fix? Because apple knows they can do as they please, and these devices will still fly off the shelves faster then they can build them.

    • Re:Blackberry (Score:4, Interesting)

      by rayd75 (258138) on Thursday November 03, 2011 @02:35PM (#37939336)

      Had this been an issues with a new blackberry, you know they would be crucified. The media loves to let apple getaway with stuff like this all the time, but any mistakemade by RIM and it means the end of the company. If this is a software bug, why are we waiting weeks for a fix? Because apple knows they can do as they please, and these devices will still fly off the shelves faster then they can build them.

      Because it's nothing more than a minor inconvenience for a small number of users? Great, your battery drains before the day's over. So what? Charge your phone more frequently for a couple of weeks while Apple looks into the issue. Come back and make your RIM comparison when half the iPhones in the world stop working for three days straight.

    • I generally find that Apple gets crucified over the smallest issue because a headline with "Apple" in it will get read.

      This is why you had some Android phones literally falling apart being reported on a couple tech sites, but rare iPhone screen cracking was worthy of the Washington Post.

  • Finally... ? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by nightfell (2480334) on Thursday November 03, 2011 @02:22PM (#37939110)

    Apple has been asking users for assistance in narrowing down this issue. There is no "finally". They generally don't talk about things that they don't have information on. If they had spoken up sooner, they would have simply been able to say nothing other than, "hey, people, don't buy our phone, wait for some indeterminate amount of time until we can solve an issue that may or may not even exist, and my only affect a small fraction of our customers".

    • Further, they have been working on it from various angles. Early versions of the iOS 5 beta were TERRIBLE on the battery. You could have nothing running, and the phone would randomly heat up, slow down, and burn through the battery in 4 or 5 hours. And it's gotten better with each release. But show me an OS whose GM release didn't have any bugs. They draw a line in the sand, decide if something is a showstopper or not, and then move forward, fixing things incrementally.

      It's amazing the level of perf
      • by Bryansix (761547)
        Typically when you have MAJOR problems in Beta you weigh that and delay the release if needed. Apple however has too much HUBRIS to do this. Trend Micro did this recently as well. The Beta for Worry-Free Business (Their Enterprise AV solution) was horrible on performance. They released it anyways on schedule. Most customers jumped ship.
  • by goldspider (445116) <ardrake79&gmail,com> on Thursday November 03, 2011 @02:25PM (#37939152) Homepage

    ...for a replacement battery?

    • Batteries aren't meant to be replaced. If you need the iPhone's charge to last longer, there is an accessory [chinatraderonline.com] that you can purchase for that.
  • Have they pattented having a fast-draining battery yet?

    My old Nokia from the 90's used to drain the battery fast- perhaps they can retro-actively sue Nokia.

  • It's a fact of life that faster chips consume more power, and Apple may have taken a bite the battery can't chew. Faster didn't equate to better in this revision I think.

    • by nblender (741424)

      my iphone has a significantly faster 'chip' than my old Nokia or SonyEricsson and yet it still has a better battery life... Maybe put away your overgeneralization spell for the day.

    • by gorzek (647352)

      You do realize that smartphone CPUs don't run at their maximum clock all the time, right? There are plenty of ways to save power even as phones get faster and more functional.

  • by yacc143 (975862) on Thursday November 03, 2011 @02:29PM (#37939216) Homepage

    Just carry a second (or third) charged battery and switch it when the battery is drained.

    • Yep, I have a cheap dock-connector battery that I bought for my 3GS that I'm hoping will still work for my 4S.

    • by wsxyz (543068)
      No, just carry an extra iPhone or two, and switch when the battery is drained.
      • by NiteShaed (315799) on Thursday November 03, 2011 @02:48PM (#37939520)

        Take a piece of double-sided tape, apply it to the back of your iPhone. Firmly press a second iPhone against the first, back to back, and offset so as not to cover the cameras. I got the idea from watching war movies where they'd tape two ammo clips together and flip them when the first goes empty, and it works great for them, so I figure it'll work fine here too. Added benefit that if one iPhone is cool, a double iPhone should be double cool...

        • by swb (14022) on Thursday November 03, 2011 @03:02PM (#37939738)

          That works with removable ammunition magazines, but it does not work with ammunition clips.

          Ammunition clips or "stripper clips" clip together cartridges in a uniform orientation so that magazines, either removable box-type or fixed magazines (eg, M1 Garand, or the Soviet SKS) can be loaded quickly.

          Taping two stripper clips together won't work, since you won't be able to insert them into a magazine.

          They now also make a host of gizmos for pairing magazines that's more effective than the duct tape method made popular by various revolutionary groups.

      • That's stupid! I have a really, really long extension cord for mine, so I never have to rely on the battery at all!
    • by Rob Kaper (5960)

      Well done. Pointing out that inability of the iPhone is funny, flamebait and interesting all at once.

  • " With Apples new iCloud it's never been easier to carry a backup iPhone! "
    Has iOS5 really been that much of a battery killer? I didn't notice a different on my ipad, though I'd only been using it a few days prior to the update.
    • My iPhone 4 has been pretty much the same since installing iOS 5, and in fact I'm not having the problem I had with iOS 4 where Usage time = Standby time, and the battery gets hammered.

      However, I noticed the Location Services arrow turning on a bit more than I would expect it to, so I disabled some of the system services (Settings, Location Services, scroll down to System Services at the bottom). In particular, I disabled Location-Based iAds, Setting Time Zone, and Traffic. I've also got automatic diagnosti

    • by Americano (920576)

      I've noticed a few things with my iPhone 4, seems to specifically be related to out-ranging a wifi signal to plain-old 3g AT&T. When I do this, I've noticed that sometimes the phone ends up getting quite warm to the touch, and the battery drains at a very fast rate. I fixed the problem once by turning the phone off & back on, and since then by engaging airplane mode, then turning it off. My guess is something (could be third-party apps, even) goes rogue when it is active & your network connec

  • it has problems with time-travel and mind-reading.
  • If there is one thing I have learned, nowadays no company will admit that their product has a problem. It opens them up to liability. Due to the litigation-happy society we live in, companies now find it wiser and safer to deny their product has an issue.

    Personally, I would much rather a company come out and say, "Yeah, there is an issue we've uncovered and we are working on the fix." I can live with that. If it is an issue they can't fix in a timely manner, of course I would want to return the product and

    • by gl4ss (559668)

      there's no liabilities.

      that's why they call them smartphones.

      so they can say that the usual phone liabilities don't count. 911 calling fucked up? no problem because it's a COMPUTER with a phone functionality and not a phone, duh.

      one problem a lot of companies have with fixing problems is that they no longer control their product, due to contracting all the work so they wouldn't need to pay to the engineers after the product is done and they don't want to admit that, so you can't even have direct customer-en

  • I was holding it wrong

  • by tgibbs (83782) on Thursday November 03, 2011 @03:02PM (#37939734)

    When should Apple acknowledge the issue? When some users are saying they have a problem, when others are saying they don't? (Many people, myself included, have not encountered this issue). Such problems can be very difficult to track down. How does Apple know if it is a real issue? Maybe the people who are complaining have unrealistic expectations, or are using their phones in a different way. After all, the iPhone 4s has new features, which might cause some people to place a heavier demand on the battery. How many people are encountering the problem? is it 10%? 1%? 0.001% (which would still be quite a few phones). Is it a manufacturing defect, or a software problem? Is there any point in acknowledging the issue if all that you are able to honestly say is something noncommittal like, "Well, we've had some reports, but we haven't yet been able to reproduce them, and we really have no idea at all what's going on or how many people are having this problem, but we're investigating the issue"? Or is it better to wait until there is something substantive to say?

    I actually had the same problem with my first-generation iPhone. I didn't even bother reporting it to Apple until I had it figured out, because a bug report that just says "Sometimes my battery runs down really fast" is virtually useless. I eventually figured out that the battery died if I left the Clock application in the foreground while the phone was asleep. I filed a bug report with Apple, and after the next system update, I got an email message that said, "We believe that the bug that you reported has been fixed. Can you verify?"

  • I'm waiting for some guy from Apple to tell people that they are holding the phone wrong or something.....

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Problem: My Apple product does not appear to be the coolest thing I own. It does not seem to be revolutionizing my daily workflow, shifting the paradigms of my life philosophy or allowing me to think outside the box. Women in bars do not come up to me and coo "Ooh, that's amazing; can I touch it?" Men do not give me jealous looks when I walk down the street. Friends and neighbors do not appear to think I am more interesting than I was before purchasing this product.

    Solution: Examine Apple stock price. Watch

    • by Dunbal (464142) *
      The coolest thing you own is probably your ice maker.
    • Exactly.

      Which is why I still carry a 5 year old Nokia phone that is just a phone (well, OK it has a crappy camera). It may look boring... but it does what I need it to do.. Ring when someone calls me.

      I hope that when it finally does I will be able to find another simple phone only phone, without having to be forced into buying a 'smartphone'....

  • If it's using too much power when it's not supposed to be doing anything, it's probably doing something it shouldn't be doing when it's not supposed to be doing anything.

    The question is, what?

  • my new iPhone 4S out of the box had a fast draining battery. After messing with it in a completely non-scientific and non-systematic way and switching off some services (e.g., Ping) battery life is "normal" now. So it probably is a software issue.

  • Keep in mind that with the advent of the interweb and social media, people can be a lot more vocal a lot easier. Suppose Apple sells a million iPhones in the first couple weeks worldwide, and half a percent of people are having an issue with something. That's 5000 angry people, whom a good proportion of which are going to jump on internet forums and such. The end result is that you get a couple of very busy forums and tech sites with angry customers, but the reality is it might not be a very big issue, or a
  • Two weeks after initial reports of poor battery life Apple has found that the problem was cased by the IOS 5 update. A beta of IOS 5.0.1 which should resolve the issue is already available for developers.
    iOS 5.0.1 beta contains improvements and other bug fixes including:
    Fixes bugs affecting battery life
    Adds Multitasking Gestures for original iPad
    Resolves bugs with Documents in the Cloud
    Improves voice recognition for Australian users using dictation
    Contains security improvements

  • I was afraid that the lower battery life was an attempt to try and copy the bad battery life of the top-end Android smart phones...

  • Must Every.Single.Article. relating to Apple get trolled by Android fanbois and vice versa? Is this really worth your time, to argue inane points about some preferred phone OS you use? 90% of the comments on this article are worthless drivel. Sometimes I think the quality of /. commenting is going down hill in a big way, but then I see other sites forums with the same issues on the iOS/Android flame war. Are your lives really that shallow?

    Perhaps /. should do away with AC commenting. Sure you could sti

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