Can never be too thin? Battery-life of iPhones getting worse with each generation

“Tests carried out by the Washington Post, CNET, Consumer Reports and Tom’s Guide suggest that iPhone battery-life is mostly getting worse with each successive generation,” Ben Lovejoy writes for 9to5Mac. “Experts believe that’s a trend likely to continue for some time yet.”

“It’s not a problem specific to iPhones, says the Washington Post, but something seen with Android flagships too. ‘For the last few weeks, I’ve been performing the same battery test over and over again on 13 phones. With a few notable exceptions, this year’s top models underperformed last year’s. The new iPhone XS died 21 minutes earlier than last year’s iPhone X. Google’s Pixel 3 lasted nearly an hour and a half less than its Pixel 2,’ [WP reports],” Lovejoy writes. “There is one exception on the iPhone front: the iPhone XR, with its LCD screen, offered the best battery-life of all. But the results otherwise show a gradual decline.”

Lovejoy writes, “Until the oft-promised battery technology breakthrough delivers results, it looks like Apple’s obsession with performance boosts means we can expect a continued gradual decline in battery-life for some time yet.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: If Apple made an iPhone model that was the smartphone equivalent of the Panasonic Toughbook — thick, heavy, full of battery, and virtually indestructible — they’d never be able to make enough of them.

As we wrote back in December 2015:

What’d be wrong with slightly thicker iPhone with more battery life and a flush camera assembly?

Yes, we know Apple thinks thinness sets iPhone apart from all other so-called smartphones (actually, it’s the operating system, the software and the ecosystem), but the iPhone 6/Plus and iPhone 6s/Plus are simply too thin to house their camera assembly.

iPhone 6s is 0.28 inch (7.1 mm) thin. Samsung’s Galaxy S6 is 0.27 inch (6.8 mm). The “thicker” iPhone 6s easily outsells the thinner Galaxy S6. Obviously, at this point, the selling point of “thinness” is overrated.

iPhone 6 and 6s has battery life issues for heavy iPhone users (hint: get an Apple Watch. You’ll use your iPhone less and the battery will easily outlast even the longest day).

The law of diminishing returns can also be applied to industrial design. Apple’s eternal quest for thinness eventually runs into issues such as bulging camera assemblies, battery capacity, strength (breakability), etc. – is Apple’s quest for thinness now bordering on the quixotic?

So, is it “you can never be too thin” or is it “thin enough is thin enough?”

What people want most from Apple’s next-gen iPhones: Longer battery life – September 5, 2018
Apple’s design decisions and iPhone batteries – January 8, 2018
Hey Apple, it’s time to give up thinness for bigger, longer-lasting batteries – January 6, 2017
Open thread: What’d be wrong with slightly thicker iPhone with more battery life and a flush camera assembly? – December 21, 2015


  1. “What people want most from Apple’s next-gen iPhones: Longer battery life – September 5, 2018” – Jonny ignoring one of the principles of UX – user feedback after using a product. This is mind boggling to me since iPhone 6 – bumping out camera. There is a space for a larger battery. Why not use it? Aaaa it’s because your users will put a bumper around your product, because it breaks so easily? Oh no, you’re premium products producer, so you don’t give a damn, your customer will just buy a new one. I reeeeeeally hope Apple (with or without Jonny) will remember, what UX is.

  2. A quick dirty poll: say Apple came up with a phone similar to the just released but gimmicky RED Holographic phone, would you buy it? Thick, rugged, massive battery, OLED or Liquid Retina, and iOS ofourse woud be its components.

  3. I’m one who doesn’t like electronic products such as laptops and phones getting too thin.

    Wonder if a day will come when Apple stops putting batteries in their iPhones and instead, you will have to buy an external battery case for it?

  4. Samsung even copied the “S” sub-designation from Apple which shows how loony Samsung is that it even copied a meaningless (according to Schiller) symbol.

  5. Just level the Case with the height of the Camera Bump,
    allow it to weigh 220-250g and fill it with extra Battery Life.

    So even a full day with heavy GPS Use
    may not require a 2nd or 3rd Battery Pack
    in my Backpack to recharge the iPhone.

    Fill it with Dual eSIM & get rid of the SIM Tray,
    allowing you to #up the IP-Rating for the Phone to 6/8/9
    6 – completely protected against dust
    8 – protected against prolonged of immersion under pressure
    7 – mechanical protection against impact of 1.5kg

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