Should Apple make the iPhone thicker to include a bigger battery?
The iPhone is a thin, elegant device but would it be better if it was thicker to fit in a bigger battery? Some of Apple's customers think it's time for a thicker iPhone with better battery life
Eye on Apple
By Jim Lynch, CIO
Battery life is an issue that has long divided iPhone owners. Some folks like and approve of Apple’s ongoing efforts to make the iPhone thinner, while others fervently wish for a thicker iPhone that would include a significantly larger battery.
So who’s right here? Should Apple make a thicker iPhone for better battery life? I’ll share my thoughts below, but here’s a sampling of comments from a thread on the Apple subreddit that illustrates how the iPhone thickness and battery life divides Apple’s customers:
Kingfang: ”I would not. I’ve been downvoted for this before but my personal preference is slimmer and slimmer phones. I don’t need more battery if they keep it at its current efficiency. I just spent the weekend with family and had over 40h standby time and 18h on time on my iPhone 6s. That’s phenomenal. I didn’t have to charge for 3 days. If I can get a thinner phone with the same or better battery, I will be more than happy to upgrade.”
Absurdlysarcastic: ”I like it thin and light. Battery case will double battery life and increase thickness about the same, so if I ever crave that, I’ll buy one.”
Cryolems: ”I disagree. I’d rather the phone naturally have better battery life. Look how greedy everyone’s gotten. The iPhone 5 used to be the thinnest smart phone ever. We thought it was nuts. Now we have the 6/6+ era, and it’s all sit too thin if you ask me. Raise the thickness a bit (not 2x like OP suggested), and get better battery life while strengthening the body. I would very much so buy a slightly thicker 6+ if it meant better battery life and stronger body. Win win.”
Hot4TeaCha: ”Aftermarket products and/or foreplanning can mitigate the problem of inadequate battery. They cannot mitigate the problem of a too-thick phone. It makes sense for Apple to make the phones as thin as possible. They’re targeting a few playing cards-thickness.”
Jollycrab: ”The problem with changing the battery size is if they can’t reach 2 full days of use without a charge then it seems like a moot point. Say they make it 50% larger but that only gets you to mid day on the second day. That’s not very helpful and you would still need to charge the night before. Realistically they probably need to include a battery that will last 2.5-3 days for it to be worth it, but I imagine that would be getting bulky again.”
Rundiablo: ”I don’t think the problem is making multi-day stretches on a single charge, it’s the fact that for many people the current battery (at least in the non-Plus sizes) can’t make it through a SINGLE day. Having 50% better battery life could be the difference between making it to bed at 10%, or having a dead phone by 6PM. The vast majority of people don’t have a problem charging their phone at night, but with the size of the batteries today, that doesn’t guarantee it’ll last them until the end of the day for the next charge.”
Thenewperson: ”I’d mind if my phone weighed more. Coming from the 5, the 6S is noticeably heavier.”
ShinLac: ”I thought the same thing when I saw the 6S. They could just have made it thick enough to match the camera bulge, and use the extra width for a bigger battery. But after actually buying s 6S, I find it heavy, and the battery does get me through a day. I wouldn’t want it to be heavier after all.”
THXFLS: ”I don’t know about twice as thick, but both iPhone batteries are extremely undersized for the size of the devices. A Sony Z5 compact is considerably smaller than the 6S and has a battery that’s almost 1000mah larger. You can tell that Huawei was looking at the 6+/6s+ when they designed the Nexus 6P (they’re within millimeters of each other) and yet the 6P battery is 700mah larger than the 6s+.”
Willybeamish: ”I have a 6 plus and still seem to always look for a charger. Also the thing is in an otter box. I’d rather have a tonka truck iPhone than have a thin and dainty one that I have to supplement with an extra battery and a “boy in a bubble” type case. Just this mans opinion.”
Right now I have no real complaints about the battery life of my phone. The iPhone 6s Plus already has great battery life that often lasts me two or three days, so the current thickness of the iPhone works well for me in terms of battery life. I don’t really need a thicker iPhone with a bigger battery.
Obviously, the folks that own an iPhone 6 or 6s or other smaller iPhone might feel differently. One of the biggest benefits of having a phablet is that you already get a big battery with it that far exceeds what you get with a smaller phone.
And frankly, I’m not real sure how much better the battery life would be on the smaller phone if Apple did make the iPhone 6s thicker. Let’s say they doubled the size of the battery, that might get people an extra day’s worth of use but is that really worth having a phone with twice the thickness and additional weight?
For some people the answer is obviously yes, and for others it’s a big no. I don’t think there’s a real way for Apple to win in this situation. It’s not like they can start making iPhones of varying thicknesses to please both sides of the issue. How ridiculous would it be if they tried that and you had to choose which iPhone thickness you wanted when buying the phone? I suspect it would just confuse people, and no doubt some would accidentally buy the wrong size.
On a personal level, I wouldn’t freak out if Apple made the iPhone thicker. I’m using an OtterBox Defender case on my iPhone 6s Plus these days, so my iPhone is already thicker and heavier than it would be without the case on it. But I wouldn’t cheer about it either since the extra battery life really wouldn’t matter much to me.
And I do wonder what exactly the folks who are complaining about battery life are doing with their phones each day? How do you burn through the battery life of the iPhone 6s or 6s Plus so quickly that you constantly need to charge it? Maybe I just use my iPhone differently but I usually finish the day with a big chunk of battery life left on my iPhone 6s Plus.
Car chargers and battery cases for the iPhone can be a big help
I also wonder if the folks saying that they need a bigger battery own a charger for their cars or trucks. I have a charger in my truck, so when I’m driving somewhere my iPhone 6s Plus can be charged up before I arrive at my destination. It takes just a second to plug it into the charger and then I’m good to go while driving around.
And let’s not forget that if you really need more battery life, you can always buy a battery case for the iPhone. Apple sells it’s own battery case for the iPhone 6s, and you can also buy third party battery cases on Amazon and at other retailers. So it’s possible, in a way, to have a thicker iPhone with better battery life right now if you really want one.
The iPhone thickness and battery issue is not going to go away
It seems pretty clear that the issue of the iPhone’s thickness and battery life is not going to go away anytime soon. As you can tell from the Reddit thread I included above, people are very passionate about the issue and the back and forth about it will certainly continue around the Internet.
So I think Apple has its work cut out for it with the iPhone 7. I suspect that the company will almost certainly try to make the iPhone 7 thinner and lighter than the iPhone 6s and 6s Plus. That will make some customers very happy, but it will also irritate the others who want a bigger battery in the iPhone 7.
When it comes to the thickness of the iPhone, Apple is damned if they do and damned if they don’t.
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