Almost three weeks after receiving the new iPhone 5, I wanted to write a few words about the battery life of the new iPhone. If you check out the Apple support forums, you might find thousands of people complaining about the battery drain of the new iPhone.
Also you find dozens of tricks how to extend the battery life by turning off all kind of features (which make the phone interesting in the fist place).
Battery Life Now
After three weeks, I have an average usage similar to the following screen:
Given six and a half hours of usage and 41 hours of standby, I have to charge my phone every seconds day, which is similar to my previous iPhone 3GS and iPhone 4/4s I am aware of.
To Lithium Ion or Nothium Ion
I did not turn of any features and I did not re-install my phone from the scratch. I restored my iPhone 3GS backup and kept all the settings. I have turned on WiFi all the time and most of the time I use Bluetooth as well. Also 3G is turned on all the time. I have some calls and write several text messages during the day, but I do not switch the phone of during night (but do use the new do not disturb mode). I check Facebook and Mails a lot during the day, read tweets on a regular base and check in as often as I can using foursquare.
When I used the phone during the first few days, the battery did no last longer than eight hours (i.e. the phone turned of before a working day was over). I “calibrated” the battery in letting it drain completely and loading it up to 100% several times – which is a very questionable technique considering the underlying technology.
The lithium ion technology is a quite clean technology. There shouldn’t be any learning effect on the battery, the first charge should be as the 20th and fully draining the battery should not affect its overall capacity. One of the few drawbacks of lithium ion batteries might be their complete failure after two or three years.
The last then percent of the battery drain quickly when being used, however, after the first three weeks the battery seems to be fine. Alexander Olma run some tests on the phone with extensive traffic usage resulting in 3h non-stop downloading bits and bytes until the phone turned off.
Due to the lack of data for comparison (i.e. data I can access), I can’t say whether there are other smartphones out in the wild with extensive longer battery life than the iPhone 5. However, a fully charged phone can make its way through a normal business day and a nice evening while still waking you up the next morning.
Last year, I became a backer on Kickstarter. I was looking for a while how to support great ideas in a way with relatively little risk. I wasn’t looking for sort of business angel backing, was looking how it is possible to help folks with great ideas and visions to achieve their goals. The Elevation Dock for iPhone was the first project I pledged and as plus, I received a reward, one of the first docks being produced.
The dock arrived via standard mail, i.e. in Germany it was not delivered with DHL as parcel it came by snail mail, though. Fair enough, as only a few dollars have been added for international delivery.
For international delivery the box was fairly packed. Could be better, as it seems that the box moved around in the box a lot. If it would contain breakable parts, this would be probably fatal. However, considering that some human put a lot of effort into packaging this thing for me, that’s fine. I guess there is a lot of improvement in he future.
The box of the Elevation Dock quite nice. White, sort of apple style, took me a few seconds how o open it, I tried first to push the inner box out of the sleeve before I realized that you can simply flip the box cover.
The box itself showed that it traveled some thousand miles and that several people moved the parcel from A to B before it finally arrived here. Actually, I don’t care, at this moment I am just interested in the content of the package.
The dock, which is surprisingly heavy for being made from anodized aluminum, comes with a pre-mounded USB cord. It’s only a few inches. A longer replacement cable is provided if you want to place your dock somewhere away from your USB hub, power supply or computer. Kudos for this add-on.
Actually, I haven’t seen this in the first place, the dock comes with a hex wrench. I think this piece does not cost that much but it#s great for being included. It’s in fact the only tool you need to replace the USB cord. What it does not come with is a AC adapter. While there is a spare place in the package it seems there are no adapters in the Kickstarter rewards added. Maybe this was announced in one of the various mails send during the creation and funding process and I missed that one. However, the empty place in the box labeled AC adapter is quite an indentation there will be a adapter in the docks sold regularly in the future.
The overall manufacture quality is impressive. The surface is well done and all parts fit perfectly. Turning the dock upside down, you see how well the parts fit. The black bumper within the dock can be turned to fit iPhones with cases into the dock. Also this part fits perfectly and is easy to change.
The rubber stands are well made, on various surfaces the dock comes with quite some friction.
As my new iPhone 5 is still on its way, I tried the dock with my not-nearly-retina-and-meanwhile-slow-like-hell iPhone 3GS. Fits perfect. In fact, it fits so well that you have to hold the dock once you want to pull the iPhone from the dock. We have tried this with the iPhone 4 as well, and as promised by Elevation Lab, the dock is a low friction dock. It is awesome how easily you can remove the iPhone 4 from the dock. No need to fix the dock at all, the iPhone 4 just slips out of the dock. Very well designed. That was the original reason I supported the dock.
On the photography above you might have seen a small spot on the left edge of the dock. This is really bad luck, as the quality of the dock is so high, I really got one with a small mark on the left top edge. Maybe this happened during packaging, as I cannot imagine this happened during transportation. As most of the packaging and quality assurance process in done by hand yet, this might happen. I bet the process for controlling the quality of the devices will improve over time.
As a very last step, I tried to exchange the cables provided with the dock. Opening the dock with the hex wrench works quite smooth. Opening the bottom of the dock, I found this surprising note. It should be obvious not just to bull on the cord how some moron, however, it is a great idea to provide such a note to the user. Many people would probably damage the connector while swapping the cords.
Finally, I had a look at the connector. Again, very high quality. The USB cables have micro USB connectors. Surprisingly, the dock connector is mounted using hex screws. Said that it should be possible to change the bolt in connector. In fact, Elevation Labs recently announced that they are currently working on a exchange connector for the new iPhone 5.
I am quite happy being a backer of this project. The quality of the device is high standard, the updates on the project by Casey Hopkins have been great and regularly, and finally receiving the reward is just awesome. Now I am looking forward for the new connector. The time Apple announced the the new connector, the design and production of the dock has been already in full progress. Also many people complaining about the dock having the old connector, one should bear in mind, the docj was designed as a low friction dock for the iPhone 4/4s. And as far as being evaluated it is as promised.
As a resume, Elevation Labs will be definitely one of the gadget providers I will keep on my favorite list for the future. As they already announced the design of a new dock with improved sound capabilities and the development of the new connector I hope that business goes well and they will supply a lot of nifty gadgets in the future.
Recently, I discussed a lot with friends and colleagues about new mobile devices. Using Windows Mobile for years, I switched to Apple’s iPhone 3GS three years ago. Before, I talked quite a lot with a friend who recently bought one at that time.
Before, I used an iPod for listening to music and Windows Mobile devices such as the HTC Hermes or the HTC Touch Pro for quite a few years. Over time, I got annoyed by always carrying two devices, two power plugs, two connector cables and by managing at least two different applications to sync both devices. Eventually, my decision to buy an iPhone was driven by quite rational thoughts.
I was pleased with the hardware quite a lot, never worried about the processor, ram or other components of the device. The only drawback for me as an developer was the fact that you cannot simply deploy your home brewed application to the device.
I skipped two generations of the iPhone, finally rethinking of getting a new device. What shall it be? Meanwhile, I am quite off the track developing for Windows Mobile. Also, the hardware fragmentation for Windows devices is quite a bit. Similar situation with Android based devices. Which one is the reference hardware to buy? While the idea of developing for the Android platform is tempting, there are more facts to consider.
After three years, I have to admitt, the ecosystem lock in is quite a reason. IPad (first gen but with 3G), an almost retina but bought a few months to early MacBook and quite a lot of periphery to use with my devices is a good reason to stay. Nevertheless, with the new Lightning connector many peripheral devices became obsolete.
Much more than the hardware lock in is definitely a data lock in. Dozens of apps with your data, synced address books and calendars, lifelogging and quantified self data collected over the years is a good reason to stay with the current platform.
With the release of the new iPhone there is a lot of making-fun-of-the-new-iphone going on, however considering the facts above you see there are simple reasons to stay with a platform. This is definitely a goal of every manufacturers, and Apple plays this this game very well.
Looking at the new hardware, iOS 6 as well as the new Mac OS, there is no rocket science, there is no Star Trek communicator and no universal translator comming with new iPhone. There is no revolution, simply a technological evolution of a long designed system. A system that grew five generations.
Personally, I think a steady evolution of technology is worth quite a lot. I don’t want to migrate all the data, I don’t want to worry about the hardware to buy, I don’t want to learn new user interfaces and usability concepts for now. I want a device being part of my daily (business) life, easy to use, sitting in my pocket being available when needed. With the current evolution of the iPhone this should be possible for the next one or two hardware generations.
Said that, it will be a 64GB iPhone in white for me while it will be a Nokia Lumina 900 or a Google Galaxy Nexus for others due to the same or similar reasons mentioned above.