Monday, 31 October 2011

News & Technology: iPhone 4S Battery Problem?

In the exchange of comments with Celia in the last entry, she mentioned that there has been complaints about the battery life of the iPhone 4S, which I thought was a unique issue to the Galaxy SII. Today when I went on to Google News, the first news I saw was the following one by The Guardian.

iPhone 4S battery life problems: bug in location services suspected

User tests suggest that bug in iOS 5 may be polling mobile mast data too frequently and running down battery
Location services on iPhone 4S
System location services on iPhone 4S: using too much battery?
A flaw in Apple's location services system in its new iOS 5 software is increasingly suspected of being the cause of rapid battery drain for some owners of the iPhone 4S.
A growing number of people have found that the "Setting Time Zone" element of the Systems Services within the broader Location Services product seems to be operating even when there is no chance that the user would have moved to a different location or time zone. An icon beside the setting, which indicates whether it has been used in the past 24 hours, suggests that it is running repeatedly to access the phone's location even when there is no apparent reason to do so.
Location services can prompt large drains on any smartphone's battery: they use a combination of the Wi-Fi network name, where available, plus mobile mast data and GPS sensor input, to calculate the phone's position. The mobile mast data, for example, is usually calculated by comparing the strength of signals from the three nearest phone masts and triangulating against them. However if such a calculation is made too often, by polling the masts, it will begin to use battery power unnecessarily.
On iDownloadBlog, Oliver Haslam suggests: "it appears that iOS 5′s GM release introduced a bug that causes the Setting Time Zone function to keep the location tracking circuitry running constantly, draining battery power considerably. Switching it off may mean that your iPhone will no longer set its own time zone when you travel, but that's a small price to pay for having your iPhone last more than 12 hours on a full charge… We have tested this method on 4 different iPhone 4s handsets, including an iPhone 4 and an iPhone 3GS. All have reported drastically improved battery life after switching 'Setting Time Zone' off."
Some commenters have suggested they see little difference, but the purple icon beside the setting indicates that it is active - and for many people will have been active during the past 24 hours.
Apple's use of location services is deeply integrated into the iPhone 4S and iOS, but others have suggested that it is consuming too much battery power. "Two years working with dedicated GPS units taught me to be extremely careful with GPS settings: [it] kills battery very fast," David Hamilton, a web and Java consultant, remarked on Twitter.
Discussions on Apple's support boards are still raging over what specifically could be draining the battery so much more rapidly. Apple has not so far made any comment, but the Guardian reported on Friday that its engineers have begun contacting some people who have been reporting exceptionally rapid use.
The Guardian's own latest tests on an iPhone 4S found that it achieved 36 hours of battery life with a mixture of Wi-Fi, mobile data, and combined use, including 6 hours' using apps, phones, browsing and some location services. The majority of that included having the "Setting Time Zone" tab activated. There is no data yet from the ongoing tests about what effect disabling it has had.
• The "Setting Time Zone" setting can be found in Settings -> Location Services -> scroll to bottom to "System Services" -> Setting Time Zone.
Updated: corrected name to iDownloadBlog, not iDownload

Actually, with a software constantly updating itself, up and downloading information, for sure it will drain your battery, so it is advisable to switch off unused GPS apps and notifications no matter you are on iPhone 4S or other smartphones,  but I chose to buy an extra battery pack just to play safe. I went to Broadway the other day and bought a $68 Tekcomm Li-ion battery pack and I've been using it for the last 2 days. So far so good, but a battery at such a low price makes me think that there must be a catch to it, something must be absent in the design or else it wouldn't be so cheap. So I went on to do my research.

First thing I did was of course to research on the company. Tekcomm didn't provide much information on their website, but it does list out the number of different models of lithium batteries they produce, and it does say it is a Hong Kong company. Whether that implies good quality is a subjective opinion, but it does mean its products should comply with the regulations of the Electrical and Mechanical Services Department of Hong Kong. But must Tekcomm follow the regulations? That I suppose is up to the company itself and nothing is guaranteed.

Then why not buy the original factory manufactured battery? Well, because it costs more than $200, that makes a huge difference! Anyway, I suppose no company will replace my phone no matter which battery it catches fire with. Paying more means you get less chances of catching a phone fire? I really don't know about that.

Still the most important thing to remember is to maintain the battery temperature, so watching it closely while it is charging is advisable, and of course, try not to put the phone into my trousers pockets.

In the future entry, I will be working on some facts of the lithium batteries, so follow the playground if you are interested in the topic.

flaw -- (n)[C] a fault, mistake or weakness, especially one that happens while something is being planned or made, or which causes something not to be perfect
drain-- (n) [S] something that uses more of your energy, money or time than you want to give
rage -- (n) [C or U] (a period of) extreme or violent anger
catch -- (n) [S] a hidden problem or disadvantage
comply (with) --  [I] formal to act according to an order, set of rules or request


Technology & Opinions: iPhone 4(S) VS Samsung Galaxy SII @ Locky's English Playground

iPhone 4S battery life problems: bug in location services suspected @ The Guardian


Electrical and Mechanical Services Department