Every year Apple introduces a new iPhone, and every year I get my hopes up that this will finally be the model that can go two or three days without needing to be recharged. But according to a lithium-ion battery expert, the odds of Apple adding a power source capable of boosting iPhone battery life like that are practically zero.
Dee Strand, chief scientific officer at battery research firm Wildcat Discovery Technology, says the throughput on smartphone batteries is rapidly improving every year. The problem is, new features are bogging them down.
“I love this question,” Strand said yesterday during a reddit AMA, when asked when we’ll get multi-day battery life. “The answer is never.”
That doesn’t sound good for someone like me, who’s always longing for longer iPhone battery life.
“With every improvement in the battery, the cell phone company wants to add more features (and so do you),” Strand said. “Bigger screen, brighter display, more apps, touch screen features, etc. All those features are designed to work such that your phone can (hopefully) last a day with recharge overnight. The batteries will continue to get better, but the phone will continue to to get even better.”
New features will always hurt iPhone battery life
Essentially, batteries are always improving, just like CPUs, but not enough to outpace increasing power demands. With super-speedy 5G data on the way and an even bigger display possibly coming to the iPhone 7s or iPhone 8, those power demands are set to increase exponentially over coming years.
It would take a new type of battery altogether to make the charge last for multiple days. Apple has reportedly looked into other iPhone battery types, including fuel cells that burn clean energy. However, most alternatives that would boost iPhone battery life come with some serious drawbacks.
Apple could always add a chunkier lithium-ion battery to the iPhone, but that would take away from Cupertino’s seemingly unending quest for a thinner iPhone. And that’s just not Jony Ive’s style now, is it?