If you've ever cursed your iPhone for its inability to go longer than a day without having its battery topped up, don't go looking to Jony Ive for sympathy. Apple's design chief thinks the iPhone's juice-hungry nature is a sign that the company's made a device you just can't bear to leave alone.
In an interview with the Financial Times, Ive makes no excuses for building a device that keeps you tethered to the wall sockets. Instead, he believes if you're recharging your iPhone frequently, he's succeeded in making a "compelling" device. The way Ive sees it, the reason people love using their iPhone is because it's so thin and light and therefore the battery gets depleted frequently.
If Apple upped the battery life, the device would be chunkier and people would love it less, Ive told the FT, despite the fact they'd need to charge it less.
Apple's iPhones have typically shipped with batteries with a smaller capacity than their Android rivals. While the iPhone 6's 1810mAh battery was a significant step up from the iPhone 5s' 1560mAh battery, according to iFixit's teardown, it's still trailing that found on the latest Samsung flagship: the Galaxy S6 launched recently with a 2550mAh battery. However, it looks like Samsung may be following Apple's lead in favouring slimness over battery life: the S5, which was 3mm thicker, sported a 2880mAh battery.
Battery life is also one of the big questions hanging over the Apple Watch, which will be announced today.
Ive said he's approaching the watch industry with an entirely different view to the way Apple upended the mobile phone business. With the iPhone, Apple was driven by "an absolute disdain" for the mobile phone market it later went on to dominate, whereas he and his design team have a high regard for the luxury watches coming out of Switzerland.
"We're a group of people who love our watches. So we're working on something, yet have a high regard for what currently exists," he said.
The Apple Watch is expected to launch later today, and its battery life is likely to draw the attention of both consumers and industry types alike. Prior to the launch, rumours have been circulating that the Watch will need to be recharged each night, and actual usage time may be only a couple of hours.
With the launch so near, the Watch team are still working to improve the product, Ive revealed.
"Even now, when the design of the Apple Watch is incredibly mature and has gone through thousands and thousands of hours of evaluation and testing, we're still working and improving," he told the FT.
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