The Tech News Blog

August 25, 2014

Apple Offering iPhone 5 Battery Replacements

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Is your iPhone 5 experiencing shortness of battery life or need to be charged more frequently? It may be eligible for Apple's replacement program.

Cupertino is now offering new batteries for "a very small percentage of iPhone 5 devices" purchased between September 2012 and January 2013. The replacement process began Aug. 22 in the U.S. and China; it will become available in other countries as of Aug. 29.

To find out if your phone is eligible, enter your phone's serial number on Apple's website (Settings > General > About > Serial number). If it is, you can visit an Apple retail store or contact technical support to have your battery replaced.

Your phone needs to be in working order. "If your iPhone 5 has any damage such as a cracked screen which impairs the replacement of the battery, that issue will need to be resolved prior to the battery replacement," Apple said.

If you're eligible and already paid to have your battery replaced, Apple said to get in touch about a refund.

January 9, 2014

Mophie Space Pack Blends Power, Data Storage


These days, the two things your phone is running out of faster and faster these days are battery life and storage space. Mophie’s got your back on both.

Today at CES 2014, Mophie announced a new addition to their legendary line of lifesaving Juice Packs: the Space Pack – the world’s first smartphone case with the power to recharge your battery and the space to store up to 32GB of digital stuff.

With the same slim, barely-there profile as the other Packs in their pack, the Space Pack is designed for the iPhone 5 and 5S, and lets you access and share your photos, videos, music files and documents anytime without the need for a data network or using a bit (pun intended) of storage space on your phone.

All you need is Mophie’s free app, Space, to manage all your files easily, no Wi-Fi necessary.

October 30, 2013

Apple Blames iPhone 5s Battery Drain on ‘Manufacturing Issue’

iPhone 5S

Apple this week acknowledged that a small batch of iPhone 5s devices include a problem that can affect the phone's battery life.

"We recently discovered a manufacturing issue affecting a very limited number of iPhone 5s devices that could cause the battery to take longer to charge or result in reduced battery life," Apple said in a statement. "We are reaching out to customers with affected phones and will provide them with a replacement phone."

Cupertino did not elaborate on just how many phones were affected.

On the Apple forums, there are several posts from 5s customers complaining about battery life, though it's not immediately clear if they are among those who are affected by this particular manufacturing issue.

"I noticed that the battery drains too fast on the 2 days old phone," one user wrote last week. "When i go to sleep i put alarm on, close all apps, switch off the sound, put the device in airplane mode. When i wake up, 8h, the battery drains 10% or more."

February 6, 2013

Microsoft Responds to Surface Pro Battery Life, Storage Concerns

Surface Pro

Microsoft's Surface Pro hits stores on Feb. 9, but the reviews went live last night. PCMag gave the Windows 8 tablet our Editors' Choice, but some have voiced concern about certain features, like battery life and actual available storage.

Today, the Microsoft Surface team, including Panos Panay, a corporate vice president at Microsoft, stopped by Reddit for an "Ask Me Anything" about Redmond's newest tablet.

Two of the biggest topics were battery life and storage capacity.

In PCMag's battery rundown test, the Surface Pro lasted 4 hours and 58 minutes. To some, this is subpar for a $999 device. But according to Microsoft, it designed the Surface Pro so that it "did not compromise speed [or] performance in any way."

"With that, we wanted to be the best notebook/laptop product in its class, but still deliver you the tablet form factor. This product is optimized in every way to take advantage of the full third generation Core i5 it runs, yet give the best battery life," Panay said. "If you compare it to say a MacBook Air, you will quickly see that pound for pound in battery size vs. battery life, you will find optimizations that puts Surface best in its class."

Still, Panay acknowledged that Microsoft selected a smaller battery "to be sure we were able to give you the same performance and to keep it thin" and under 2 pounds.

August 11, 2012

Rumor: iPhone 5 Battery Bumped up 10 mAh

New iPhone 5 Assembled Shots?

An alleged new battery shot has leaked out for the iPhone 5 and, if true, potential purchasers are going to get a bit of a battery bump in the to-be-announced smartphone.

But we use the word "bit" in the smallest possible sense of the word, for the alleged iPhone 5 battery is only going to run at a capacity of 1440 mAh – up a whopping 10 mAh from the battery found in Apple's iPhone 4S.

What does that mean? A slightly higher capacity, but one that'll be offset by the battery-draining 4G LTE capabilities rumored to be making their first Apple appearance in the iPhone 5. Additionally, the allegedly larger four-inch screen rumored to be making its way to the iPhone 5 isn't going to do much to help battery life, either.

However, before you run for the technological hills, there's no indication of just what tweaks Apple might be working into the iPhone 5 or iOS 6 to help stretch battery life as long as possible, given these new features. Depending on how Apple's tweaked its rumored dual-core SoC design for the iPhone 5 – or integrated other, less battery-draining components like Qualcomm's Gobi chipset (for extreme, worldwide compatibility with a number of network operators) – the issue of battery capacity plus LTE and a larger screen size might not be that big of a deal.

What we do know – again, if the leaked photos of the iPhone 5's battery are legitimate – is that Apple has upped the voltage of the battery from 3.7V to 3.8V. The battery's also rated at a higher watts-per-hour measurement (5.45) than that of the iPhone 4S or the iPhone 4 (5.25 wHr).

August 3, 2012

Mountain Lion Users Report Battery Drain

Mountain Lion  Apple's latest operating system, OS X Mountain Lion, is causing a major drop in battery life on some MacBook Pros and Airs.

Users have flocked to Apple's support forums since July 25, the day Mountain Lion launched, to lament about the issues, though it appears Apple is now looking into the problems. As of Friday, one Apple Support Communities thread about Mountain Lion's adverse affects on battery life was up to 16 pages with 233 replies. A number of other similar threads have been created.

While some users have seen battery life drops of about an hour, others claim performance has been cut in half or worse.

"I can visibly see the battery draining," one user with the handle tarpus wrote. "In fact when I first started writing this post my battery was at 96% and now, three sentences later, without doing anything else, and without having any other applications running, my battery life is at 91%!"

Users have tried to remedy the issue in a variety of ways, such as reinstalling Mountain Lion and turning off some of the operating system's new features, but the battery issues remain. Some users have seen some temporary success after resetting the machine's system management controller (SMC), but the problem comes back after continued use.

Apple caught wind of the issue and has been working with some impacted users to gather information about the problem.

"They contacted me to get info to give to their engineers," a user with the handle bleavi wrote on Friday. "Thus, I think they realize the issue and are working to find a solution. Be patient and hopefully a solution will be found."

Some users have come to expect problems following new Apple releases, and choose to wait before installing upgrades or buying new products so Cupertino can iron out any kinks. Days after Apple released the iPhone 4S and iOS 5 last year, for example, users began complaining of plummeting battery life.

July 5, 2012

Report: Apple Tweaking Camera, Battery in Current iPad

Apple is making some tweaks to a camera lens on its third-generation iPad and addressing overheating issues related to the tablet's battery that will appear in units shipping around the holiday season, according to DigiTimes.

The Taiwanese tech journal, citing unnamed sources from Apple's Asian manufacturing supply chain, reported Thursday that the revised iPad will have a larger lens hole and a revised battery that could make the tablet "slightly lighter and thinner than previously designed."

The iPad's overheating issues have been well-documented but it's not clear if the reported fix to the lens hole is in response to a specific problem with the component's design or functionality.

DigiTimes did not specify which camera lens hole was getting the tweak—the iPad has an 0.3-megapixel front-facing camera capable of VGA-quality photos that's also used for FaceTime video chats and a 5-megapixel rear-facing iSight camera that can capture 1080p video at 30 frames-per-second. A quick Internet search for camera-related iPad issues does yield this three-month-old users' forum thread discussing a problem with the tablet's rear camera, but it could be unrelated.

June 16, 2012

Apple Bumps Battery Replacement Cost to $199 For Retina MacBooks

Apple MacBook Pro 15-inch (Retina Display)

Much has been written about the lack of upgradability and reparability found in Apple's new Retina MacBook Pro. In fact, it's widely seen as Apple's least fixable laptop to date: Pentalobe screws stymie those who lack access to a fancy screwdriver and Apple's been on an adhesive kick throughout the insides of its latest laptop. The battery's glued down, the RAM is soldered to the motherboard, the display is fused together as a single unit (forcing one to replace the entire unit to fix any broken bits like, say, the iSight camera).

Fun times are in store if you're looking to upgrade your Retina MacBook Pro (good luck), and costly times await you if anything goes wrong with your system's components – especially the battery.

According to a sea of reports from yesterday, Apple's decision to stick the battery to the Retina MacBook Pro means that any kind of home-based repair or replacement is right out. Users with fussy laptops will have to either ship them back to Apple itself or drop them off at an Apple Store for battery replacement: Apple will take 3 to 4 business days to replace the battery, whereas the retail store will be able to do it the day of your appointment.

And the cost? $199. If you've owned a MacBook in the past, you'll recognize that the new repair fee is all of 54 percent greater than what you might have previously paid to get your MacBook's battery repaired. Or, for that matter, your MacBook Air – same built-in battery deal, but replaceable at the lower cost of $129.

May 11, 2012

USPS Banning International Shipments of Most Battery-Powered Gadgets May 16

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The U.S. Postal Service will refuse to ship devices containing lithium-ion batteries, such as cell phones, laptops, or e-readers to overseas addresses as of May 16, the USPS said.

The restrictions will also ban those same devices from being shipped to APO, FPO, and DPO locations, the shorthand for overseas Army, Air Force, or Navy post offices, as well as diplomatic posts.

The USPS has also banned the lithium-ion batteries and cells from being sent separately, according to a revision notice posted by the USPS. The ban includes video cameras, GPS devices, cameras, feature and smartphones, MP3 players, laptop computers, GPS devices, and even smaller gadgets like Bluetooth headsets and electric shavers, according to Fast Company, which reported the story earlier.

Lithium-ion batteries, cells, and the devices that contain them will still be able to be shipped domestically during those times, the USPS said.

March 28, 2012

Apple Claims New iPad’s Battery Charging is Perfectly Normal

The new iPad's battery performs within the normal parameters of an iOS-based device, thank you very much. At least that's the story Apple is telling in the face of criticism of the way the company's latest tablet deals with battery charging.

Apple told All Things D on Tuesday that there's been some "confusion" about the way the new iPad charges up its battery when users plug it into a wall socket.

When the tablet reaches a nearly 100 percent charged state, the new iPad displays the battery as being fully charged, Apple's Michael Tchao told the tech site. When that happens, the battery actually continues to charge all the way to 100 percent—but if it remains plugged in, it decharges a little, then charges back up fully, then back down again, and so on until the user unplugs the tablet.

Tchao billed that process as a boon to new iPad owners.

"That circuitry is designed so you can keep your device plugged in as long as you would like," he told All Things D said. "It's a great feature that's always been in iOS."

Apparently, Apple has been doing the same thing to manage the battery charging of several iOS-based devices, including iPhones, iPod Touches, and iPads, for several product generations. It just hadn't gone noticed by many folks until a DisplayMate analyst grokked that his new iPad wasn't fully charged even though the display indicated that it was, according to All Things D.

So basically, plugged-in iOS devices cycle between a completely charged state and a slightly decharged state, but Apple doesn't reflect this in the battery status on its devices because it could "distract or confuse users," according to Tchao.