iPhone Battery Drain Is Software Bound, Says ABI Analyst

ABI Research mobile device expert Michael Morgan agreed with Ars Technica testers in that Apple’s battery drain issue is related to software, not hardware, and that Cupertino needs to address the power management problem with a new firmware update.

What Morgan doesn’t say (but surely he’s thinking it) is that the company should roll out the fix pretty soon, as more and more complaints are piling up on the Apple Support Communities forums.

“iOS 5 may simply be using more data transmission or running more background processes to support its new features,” Morgan told Ars. “There is also some potential impact of iCloud services.”

He admits that Apple may be doing its best in trying to pinpoint the culprit, even though it appears the company is late in delivering the much needed patch.
“Any undefined glitch is a massive problem to solve for such a complex system,” Morgan explained.

It all has to do with how people use their phone individually, he said. There are so many variables to take into account that it could take weeks, even months before Apple’s software engineers zero in on the faulty code.

Morgan also acknowledges that Apple’s early attempts at squashing the bug caused other areas of the iOS to start draining the battery more rapidly: “iOS 5.0.1 supposedly fixed the problem for some users, but made it worse for others,” he said.

This falls in line with numerous Apple forum reports, as well as reports from our own readers. These people are actively discussing potential fixes in our comments, though few seem to be on the right track with their workarounds.

ABI’s analyst said his firm performed a teardown of the newly released iPhone 4S to try and eliminate hardware as a potential problem.

“We tore down the 4S and tested some of the major components, including the new A5 processor,” Morgan said. “Nothing that we tested was significantly different from the iPhone 4, and power draw was right where we expected it to be.”

So it appears iOS 5.1 is still the best bet for a potential fix. Unfortunately, developers testing the first beta have provided negative feedback as far as the battery issue is concerned.

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