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The iPhone 12 family goes on sale this week as pre-orders arrive and Apple’s smartphone hits retail shelves. But those upgrading their iPhone are in for a shock. This iPhone might burn brighter, but it’s going to burn out much faster.
Poetry aside, Apple’s consumers are gong to have to face up to Apple’s decision to prioritise form over function, because the thin design has compromised the battery life in general, and seriously compromised it in one specific area.
That 5G connectivity draws more power than 4G will not be a surprise, but Apple’s approach to the iPhone 12 design language has turned this feature into a flaw. Where rival smartphone manufacturers have increased the battery size on their handsets to provide a stable amount of ‘real world battery life’ compared to previous handsets, Apple made the curious decision to fit smaller batteries in the latest handsets. The iPhone 12’s 2815 mAh battery is ten percent down on the iPhone 11’s 3110 mAh.
Mark Spoonauer has put the new handset through some battery tests, confirming the suspicion of many:
“The regular iPhone 12 lasted just 8 hours and 25 minutes over AT&T’s 5G network. Last year’s iPhone 11 lasted a whopping 11 hours and 16 minutes over 4G. To compare, we switched the iPhone 12 to 4G-only, and it endured for 10 hours and 23 minutes.”
When your smartphone has a reduced battery, and draws more power for the headline feature, you have a decidedly awkward combination. Throw in Apple’s focus on 5G both in the presentation (you might not have noticed, but Verizon was there to subtly bring up 5G), and the “Blast Past Fast” marketing slogan on the iPhone 12 website makes it clear what Apple believes the key benefit of the iPhone 12 to be.
Every year the iPhone team talks about the improvements in speed and capability of the new iPhone while still offering the same all-day battery life. From the first reviews of the handset, it looks like 5G is going to be a bit of a drag on that philosophy.
It’s worth noting that Apple has set up ‘Smart Data’ mode that will move the phone back to 4G connectivity to balance the faster connectivity potential…