“The highly anticipated iPhone 5 is finally in millions of people’s hands,” Barry Fischer reports for Outlier. “Within three days of its September 21st launch, Apple had sold a record-breaking five million units. And within a year, analysts project that sales of the iPhone 5 will reach 170 million.”

Fischer reports, “The popularity of the new device got us thinking: how much juice does it take each year to charge a next-generation smartphone? To find out, we got our hands on a new iPhone 5 and also a Samsung Galaxy S III – currently the hottest Android handset – then headed into the Opower Lab for some testing.”

“Charging the iPhone 5 costs $0.41 per year,” Fischer reports. “While the annual electricity requirements of charging a smartphone are negligible, let’s not forget about the power of multiplication. If we consider the astronomical quantity of smartphones being used around the world today and in the coming years, their collective electricity consumption takes on a more intimidating profile. Global smartphone shipments (which includes people upgrading to newer phones) will reach 567 million units this year alone. And by 2016, 1 billion people worldwide will own smartphones. (There are currently 106 million smartphone users in the US.)”

“Even if we consider just the 170 million iPhone 5’s that are projected to be sold globally in the next year, their aggregate electricity requirements are nothing to sneeze at,” Fischer reports. “The collective annual electricity consumption of the iPhone 5’s sold within 12 months will be equivalent to the annual electricity usage of 54,000 US households (roughly equivalent to the size of Cedar Rapids – the second largest city in Iowa). That’s just for one smartphone model over one year.”

Much more in the full article here.