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Iphone Power Bug IOS Software Apple Hardware Technology

Apple Says Air Exposure Is Causing iPhone 6s Battery Problems (arstechnica.com) 76

Last month, Apple announced a repair program for a "small number" of iPhone 6s phones that suffer from faulty batteries. The phones that were affected by this fault were manufactured between September and October 2015. Two weeks later, Apple now says the fault was caused by overexposure to "controlled ambient air." Ars Technica reports: The same press release -- issued only in China so far, but available in English if you scroll down -- says that some owners of later iPhone 6S models are also reporting problems with unexpected shutdowns. Apple isn't replacing those batteries just yet, but the company says that an iOS update "available next week" will add "additional diagnostic capability" that will allow Apple to better track down and diagnose the causes of these shutdowns. It "may potentially help [Apple] improve the algorithms used to manage battery performance and shutdown," as well. Those improvements will be included in future iOS updates. Apple says that the battery problem "is not a safety issue," an important thing to note given the way the Galaxy Note 7 blew up in Samsung's face. The software update that Apple mentions in the release is almost certainly iOS 10.2, which is currently in its sixth beta build. The update will be the first major bug-fix release since October's iOS 10.1, and it also includes a handful of other changes like new and redesigned emoji, the TV app that Apple demoed at its last product event, and other features.
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Apple Says Air Exposure Is Causing iPhone 6s Battery Problems

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday December 06, 2016 @06:23PM (#53436621)

    is wrong!

    • by Anubis IV ( 1279820 ) on Tuesday December 06, 2016 @07:05PM (#53436873)

      I know you're joking, but no, the actual problem is that they were exposed to air during manufacturing. It has nothing to do with the users using them a particular way. Apple is basically admitting to a manufacturing defect causing bad readings to occur, which is causing the battery to misreport its status and shutdown early. They think, however, that they can take all of that into account and rectify the problem via a software update.

      • by AmiMoJo ( 196126 )

        It really depends if the problem is a bad reading or if the battery voltage is actually collapsing. Battery voltage varies with various things: state of charge, electrical load, temperature, age and so forth. If it dips below the range where the phone can operate, software isn't going to fix it.

        Doesn't bode well for the long term reliability of those batteries either. I'd hope they at least offer an extended battery warranty.

    • by kiviQr ( 3443687 )
      you need to cover those vents!
    • Just to be on the safe side, you should stick your phone in a bucket of water.

      • Just to be on the safe side, you should stick your phone in a bucket of water.

        Afterwards, don't forget to dry it out in the microwave.

    • I tried using my phone only underwater, and now they say the warranty is void!

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday December 06, 2016 @06:24PM (#53436627)

    Designing iphones for the vacuum of space! Did you want to use that in atmosphere?

  • by WindBourne ( 631190 ) on Tuesday December 06, 2016 @06:30PM (#53436667) Journal
    Seriously, when are western companies going to quit trying to cut corners in China?
    • Re:low quality (Score:5, Insightful)

      by sims 2 ( 994794 ) on Tuesday December 06, 2016 @06:31PM (#53436681)

      When it's cheaper to cut corners elsewhere and not one second sooner.

      • Tell that to Samsung's >5 billion dollar recall of the Galaxy Note 7.

        I know we all have trouble imagining huge dollar amounts these days. But 5 billion dollars is a fuckton to any current size company. Nobody gets away with losing that much money without heads rolling, policies changing, etc.

        • by Anonymous Coward

          Sorry, I can't hear you. I'm still talking on my user serviceable and replaceable battery, micro sd card enabled, two sim phone with a headset jack. It is a horrifying half millimeter thicker though. I try not to cry myself to sleep over it. A full mm actually, since it has a plastic back that absorbs shocks and pops off if I drop it.

        • by Anonymous Coward

          Heads have rolled. The engineers responsible are now developing umbrellas that use your phone to tell you that it's raining.

    • by Osgeld ( 1900440 )

      really honestly ask yourself, if non china joe bumblefuck is going to care any more while making 9 dollars an hour in a job he hates...

      • Ask yourself, if any American who is willing to work in that kind of environment will care any more... the answer is no, however because of Chinese culture , the large pool of people wanting jobs in those areas and the fact they are being paid above average wages, I suspect the Chinese worker will actually do a better job.
    • by wonkey_monkey ( 2592601 ) on Tuesday December 06, 2016 @07:12PM (#53436899) Homepage

      Round corners, not cut corners.

  • It failed for being in the air? Not a good design in any engineering manual.
    • A more interesting question - were the conditions of storage outside the published storage temps, or operating ones. This could easily mean that it'll fail in use for some people.

    • Re:Not good (Score:5, Informative)

      by AK Marc ( 707885 ) on Tuesday December 06, 2016 @06:59PM (#53436847)
      The phone "in the air" isn't the problem. The unassembled phone parts "exposed" prior to installation aged them before they were used. Poor QC and supply chain, not an inherent design flaw. They should be able to identify all affected phones by serial, as well as an iOS update that tests for the failures/signs known to the aged battery parts.
      • So they "aged prematurely"?

        In other words, they were meant to fail in 2 years, not 2 months.

        • Re:Not good (Score:4, Insightful)

          by AK Marc ( 707885 ) on Wednesday December 07, 2016 @03:13AM (#53438405)
          A car engine piston, left unprotected on a shelf will rust and age, and would fail sooner when finally installed. Properly stored and installed in an engine and used regularly, it will last for decades. Being in the final installation position matters a great deal and premature failure from improper storage in no way implies abnormal delicacy in the constituent parts.
          • by Agripa ( 139780 )

            I get your point but that would be quite a problem since car engine pistons are made from aluminum; they start out rusted with a nice protective coating of aluminum oxide.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    I bet they're regretting soldering those batteries in now. And it'd really suck to have to mail in your phone just to get a new battery.

  • by Anonymous Coward
    Samsung should sue Apple for copying the Note 7...oh wait
  • Surveillance? Now, when Microsoft does stuff like that, the shrieking commences.

    • by Osgeld ( 1900440 )

      Apple has done it for quite a number of years now .... 2003? maybe, but no its apple, its a "feature" to sign up for an itunes account and log in every time you boot your computer

      Microsoft does it and its all holy hell! I personally trust microsoft more, they have not been intentionally trying to fuck me over since the 1980's

    • This is exactly what I was going to say.

      "additional diagnostic capability" == "telemetry"

      Ok for anyone except Microsoft.

  • Didn't they install IOS 7?
    That's supposed to make them air proof.
  • by fustakrakich ( 1673220 ) on Tuesday December 06, 2016 @06:57PM (#53436837) Journal

    What is causing this "exposure to air"? Can't they just spell out "manufacturing defect"?

  • by Anonymous Coward

    If you can't be bothered to use it in the right atmosphere, just get an adapter bubble.

  • by dcavanaugh ( 248349 ) on Tuesday December 06, 2016 @07:39PM (#53437023) Homepage

    Field replaceable batteries!

  • by rantrantrant ( 4753443 ) on Tuesday December 06, 2016 @07:43PM (#53437043)
    So we've reached the point where the Apple-Samsung duopoly have given up on things like effective quality assurance and testing. If they can't offer premium reliability then we may as well buy cheaper generic phones and tablets.
    • by AmiMoJo ( 196126 )

      To be fair, it's not just those two who have had problems with lithium batteries. Boeing's Dreamliner kept catching fire because of battery problems, Sony had problems with laptop batteries (which affected Apple and many others who buy from them), and I seem to recall LG had a few issues as well.

      I get a bit frustrated at the slow pace of battery development with electric cars, but on the other hand I can appreciate why they don't just ram another few cells in without doing extensive safety testing first.

      • The worst part is we have more stable batteries, but they're slightly heavier or don't produce as much power at the same rate. But they're safer.
  • That way Apple can tell customers what's wrong with their iPhone 6s a full year after they purchased it.
  • by PPH ( 736903 ) on Tuesday December 06, 2016 @08:41PM (#53437259)

    We never anticipated the users actually taking the phones out of the packaging. We figured they could just gaze lovingly at them through the plastic.

  • Caused me heaps of problems.
  • by Anonymous Coward

    is when the problem was US only apple fed everyone their usual bullshit propaganda. A "small number" of phones affected.
    apple is so desperate for sales in China that now when China raises the issue apple offers them a slightly less bullshit response.

  • With the added benefit that I can't hear what anyone says and they can't hear me, so I'm getting into far fewer fist fights than usual.
    • Do you normally talk to the person within arm's reach on your telephone?

      • Ah, I see where the confusion is coming from. I meant that they don't come and find me to provide punches in response to something I said. Not that they can get that close anymore. Unless they wear one of these dang pressure suits.
  • Which is okay, as that's where most of their users occupy their time.

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