iPhone should prioritize battery over design, says ex-Apple evangelist

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Would you take better battery life over a thinner iPhone?
Photo: Jim Merithew/Cult of Mac

Apple’s former “chief evangelist” Guy Kawasaki thinks the company has made a massive mistake by prioritizing sleek smartphone design over improved battery life.

“If Apple introduced a phone that had double the battery life but was also thicker I’d be buying it tomorrow,” he told The Australian Financial Review. “You have to charge your phone at least twice a day, and God forbid you ever forget to do that.”

Kawasaki added, presumably tongue in cheek, that, “Maybe Tim Cook has a concierge that charges his phone for him.”

Do young people care about battery life?

Kawasaki will be known to older Apple fans as, essentially, a hype man for the company during the late 1980s and early 1990s. While he remains an Apple loyalist to this day, much like Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak, Kawasaki isn’t afraid to call Apple out when he feels it’s taking the wrong path.

The battery point is an interesting one. In the same interview, Kawasaki says that battery life is one of the reasons he tends to use an iPad as one of his primary devices. But, as he notes, iPads aren’t the device used by young people.

“But clearly if you look at Millennials their computing device of choice is a phone, not a tablet,” he said. “I have three sons, two in the workforce who are 23 and 25, and they’ve never used an iPad. They don’t even have the biggest smartphones. Millennials either use a phone or a laptop right now. When you think of people using iPads they’re old people like me.”

He’s not wrong. A survey of 250,000+ U.S. adults, published in October, suggests that Millennials are responsible for a drop in tablet ownership between 2017 and 2018, with most not owning one. By comparison, 55 percent of Baby Boomers do have a tablet.

As to his point about battery life, we don’t know how successful Apple would be if it prioritized battery life over ultra-thin design — because it’s never tried it. Apple’s iPhone XR has a 11.12Wh battery, compared to 10.13Wh one found in the (theoretically higher end) iPhone XS. The iPhone with the biggest battery currently is the iPhone XS Max, with a 12.08Wh cell.

Would you accept a thicker iPhone in exchange for a longer life battery? How much of a selling point do you think battery life is for today’s users? Let us know in the comments below (along with, if you’re happy to, your age.)

Source: AFR