Apple Admits iPhone 4S Battery Drain, Promises Fix

Apple has acknowledged the iPhone 4S battery depletion problem that customers have been complaining about but says there will be a fix in the next version of iOS 5.

Yesterday, the company delivered a beta version of iOS 5.0.1 to developers, which it claims will fix the battery problem – and could improve battery life in other Apple devices. The beta release will also fix some of the other niggles in iOS 5 relating to iCloud, Siri, and some security loopholes.

Battery bugs

In a statement accompanying the beta, Apple said, “A small number of customers have reported lower-than-expected battery life on iOS 5 devices. We have found a few bugs that are affecting battery life, and we will release a software update to address those in a few weeks.”

The company did not specify where the problem lies but users have found that disabling the “Setting Time Zone” helps to improve the situation. When the iPhone 4S was released, specifications quoted a battery life of eight hours of talk time on a 3G network. However, customers have been complaining that the devices can lose 15 percent of their battery power every hour.

The battery life problem in the iPhone 4S may also be related to Siri which appears to run most of the time, even when the phone is inactive. Graham Cluley, a senior technology consultant at Sophos, pointed out that there is a problem even when the iPhone is locked. The use of Siri is still possible despite the lockdown, even if an illicit user does not know the pincode to access the iPhone.

There have been other problems with Siri because it does not recognise some regional accents in English. Scottish and Australian users have reported voice recognition problems which are being addressed in this update. It is also rumoured that universal Siri support for earlier devices could be included, but this is more likely to be part of the specifications for iOS 5.0.2.

Multi-tasking gestures were not included in the original iPad but were introduced with iPad 2. With iOS 5.0.1, owners of the older iPad will be able to access the app switcher, jump to the springboard, and swipe between apps while another app is running.

Apple’s new cloud service is also getting a tweak to solve syncing problems when documents are stored on iCloud.

The company is keen to get this update out of the door as soon as possible and, despite the earlier statement, it is rumoured that it could even appear over the coming weekend.

Eric Doyle, ChannelBiz

Eric is a veteran British tech journalist, currently editing ChannelBiz for NetMediaEurope. With expertise in security, the channel, and Britain's startup culture, through his TechBritannia initiative

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