iPhone 4S Battery Life Woes: Details and Solutions

A growing number of iPhone 4S owners are reporting battery problems with Apple’s newest handheld. The device seems to be draining unusually fast during regular use, as well as when it’s not being used at all.

Users in Apple forums are describing up to 15 or 20 percent drops in battery in the span of one hour during times of light usage. Others report losing 10 to 15 percent battery at night while they are sleeping — something potentially very troubling if you are relying on your iPhone as your alarm clock the next morning.

“My battery life is terrible,” one person in the forum wrote. “I was iMessaging my friend about it (on Wi-Fi) and over the course of 12-15 minutes I lost 10 percent battery life.” Another said he was issued a new phone after reporting the issue.

The problem is primarily affecting 4S owners, but some iPad and iPhone 4 owners are experiencing similar battery problems since upgrading to iOS 5 (this reporter has not — my iPhone 4’s battery life has remained unchanged since the upgrade).

Although Apple has not yet officially commented on the issue, according to The Guardian, some of those affected by the issue have been contacted by Apple’s engineers. One individual said that Apple called and, after asking a number of questions about his usage habits, asked him to install a monitoring program so that they could better diagnose the issue.

The iPhone 4S has a built-in rechargeable lithium-ion battery. It’s supposed to provide up to 8 hours of 3G talk time (14 hours of 2G) and standby time of up to 200 hours. Although it’s a slight larger (capacity-wise) battery than that of the iPhone 4, the iPhone 4 is supposed to get 300 hours of standby time. For more intensive activities like internet use and watching videos, on the iPhone 4S you get 6 hours on 3G and 9 hours on WiFi, and 10 hours, respectively. The iPhone 4S has a beefed up A5 processor and several other hardware upgrades and changes compared to its predecessor. When the iPhone 3GS debuted, it also suffered from battery life complaints.

But there’s no new-iPhone-problem more infamous than 2010’s Antennagate. The problem surrounded the placement of the antennas on the steel band around the newly released iPhone 4. Holding your phone it what came to be known as the “death grip” resulted in your phone’s signal strength dropping dramatically, falling three or four bars. Apple’s solution was to issue plastic bumpers to those afflicted. The problem, although widely publicized, had little affect on iPhone sales, though: the iPhone 4 continued to be a top-selling smartphone for both AT&T, and then Verizon, through this last quarter.

Likewise, iPhone 4S sales also continue to be strong. The device debuted in over twenty European countries last week, and will begin launching in a slew of other spots around the globe, including potentially big markets like Hong Kong and South Korea, Nov. 11.

The issue has not been pinpointed to one particular service or problem-area.

If you’re suffering from iPhone 4S battery drain, there are a few solutions you can try. Many users have reported improved battery life after draining the device completely (that is, until the device powers off), and then letting it fully charge back up in an uninterrupted sitting.

Another user in Apple’s forums found that disabling the calendar in their Exchange mail account and then enabling it again dramatically improved their battery life.

If neither of those fixes seem to be helping, try adjusting your settings. In addition to normal battery-saving techniques like lowering screen brightness or turning off Wi-Fi or switching to Airplane Mode when you don’t mind being off the grid, you can turn off location-based services, or just on the apps you don’t need monitoring your whereabouts constantly. You can also switch off push notifications for email, switching to fetch at longer intervals instead. You can check out this article on Gizmodo for more details and additional tips.

Are you experiencing iPhone 4S battery drain? Share your problems (or lack thereof) in the comments.

Photo: Jim Merithew/Wired

Japan Mobile Marketing Round-Up Part 8

mixi launches counter-offensive

In the last round-up we brought you some immediate data from survey research on Japanese corporate use of social media, rapidly on the increase in Japan. Some of it takes a highly Japanese form (virtually hosted J-pop concerts) and some of it is via imported platforms finally starting to see growth (Facebook).

mixi has long been the key local rival to Facebook and it is fighting to maintain its grip on the demographic. At the end of August it started offering a new “mixi Page” feature, allowing users to customize the design of their own free space within the site. Differing to regular individual mixi user pages, you do not have to be logged in to view a mixi Page, nor do you even have to be a member of mixi. In other words, it is meant to take the mixi aesthetic and community out of mixi itself, opening up the platform to non members.


The examples for how to use the “mixi Page” feature include making it a homepage for a shop, or a portal to communicate with fans of a celebrity, or for groups of friends. It is available via a computer, regular mobile phone or the dedicated smartphone browser, Mixi Touch.

Inside the page users can send messages similar to a tweet, as well as offer feedback and responses in a similar way to Facebook’s “like”. To be honest looking at the new service, it is obvious that the service is simply a copy of the Facebook Page feature.

The new service was quickly embraced and in early September there were already over 80,000 Pages. A savvy move has been to offer PC analytics tracking for account-holders, including stats on page views, unique users, followers, comments and “likes”. There is also a ranking of Pages: The current most popular by far is the Page for Kana Nishino, a singer.


Mixi have certainly upped the ante in the face of the American challenge, they even changed their logo! But they are going to have to pull out all the stops, it seems: Some data even puts Twitter and Facebook significantly ahead of mixi now.

DeNA expands into South America

While gaming sites Mobage and Gree may seem distinctly Japanese in many ways, the companies behind them are hoping to try their luck overseas.

However, rather than push into the American market DeNA (the makers of Mobage) at least have their eye on the growing South American market. They just bought Atakama Labs, a Chilean game developer, and who had previously been responsible for making global versions of Mobage games. DeNA is hoping to expand their development team to 1,000 (Japan plus international) in the near future.

iPhones go wider, Keitai get smaller

There was much hype surrounding the news that KDDI have now started to offer iPhones to its customers at last. Early estimates of iPhone4S pre-sales put it neck-and-neck with Softbank.


What may have gone under the radar is the new Strap Phone WX03A from Willcom, a funky miniature phone on sale from December. Advertised as the same size as a box of mints (e.g. a pack of Frisk) and weighs a mere 33g (1.2 oz), with a 1-inch display. Its makers have called it the world’s smallest and lightest phone.

Don’t expect many functions or special features except for infrared connectivity. The idea is that it connects like a strap to other phones and/or to a earphone/microphone piece (sold separately). Japanese consumers are already accustomed to carrying around more than one mobile device (e.g. a regular phone and a smartphone), so it’s not as unimaginable or unmarketable as it sounds.

This is the latest in a series of blogs based on newsletters provided by our local research partner, INterRIDe Inc.

Related Posts:
Japan Mobile Marketing: Smartphones
Japan Mobile Marketing Round-Up Part 5
Crowdsourced Cup Ramen Via Mixi SNS

‘Invisible glass’ could reduce display glare, fails as food-in-teeth mirror

There’s nothing worse (seriously, it’s scientifically proven) than catching some serious glare on your smartphone, unless you’re checking for spinach in your teeth — but thanks to Nippon Electric Glass’ new “invisible glass,” an overly reflective surface may be a problem of the past. According to our friends at Tech-On, the company has developed a new type of vitrine that reduces glare by using a special film on each side of the substrate, which allows more light to pass through the layers rather than bounce off the surface. Normal glass reflects around eight percent of light, while the new variety only rebounds 0.5 percent, dramatically reducing the luminous reflectance to around 0.1 percent or lower. Looks like your yearning to purchase this thing is finally justified.

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‘Invisible glass’ could reduce display glare, fails as food-in-teeth mirror originally appeared on Engadget on Mon, 31 Oct 2011 14:02:00 EDT. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Ubuntu coming to tablets, phones, cars and smart TVs by 2014

Ubuntu Tablet

We’ve already seen Ubuntu running on tablets and smartphones, but not in any official capacity. Rumors had it that Canonical would be making a serious push into the tablet space in early 2011, but that effort never materialized, or at least was never acknowledged. Still, Unity has some finger-friendly streaks and Oneiric added ARM support — so it’s not much of a stretch to see the popular Linux distro on your mobile devices. Well, at the Ubuntu Developer Summit, Canonical founder Mark Shuttleworth made that move official by issuing a challenge to the Ubuntu community to start pushing beyond the traditional PC form factor. Few details were given, but Shuttleworth did say that he believes the time is right for the OS to start making moves into the tablet, phone, in-dash infotainment and smart TV spaces. There were no products to announce, but Shuttleworth was confident the OS would be ready and in shipping consumer electronics by the time version 14.04 arrived in April of 2014. Though, we’re sure some prototypes will start showing up sooner rather than later.

Ubuntu coming to tablets, phones, cars and smart TVs by 2014 originally appeared on Engadget on Mon, 31 Oct 2011 10:56:00 EDT. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Nokia World 2011 wrap-up

Nokia had something to prove at its annual event, and an eight-month turnaround of its smartphone arm is certainly nothing to be sniffed at. While Nokia’s first Windows Phone devices were undoubtably the stars of the two-day expo, there was plenty more to investigate — Nokia’s legion of development labs certainly didn’t let us down. Check out a veritable world of coverage neatly arranged below the break for everything Nokia World had to show us, and few more tidbits we found for ourselves.

Continue reading Nokia World 2011 wrap-up

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Nokia World 2011 wrap-up originally appeared on Engadget on Sat, 29 Oct 2011 15:19:00 EDT. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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White Galaxy Note appears, developers wanted to pen third-party apps for its stylus

We’ve already inspected every inch of Samsung’s big bad phone-tablet hybrid, but a soupçon of extra news has trickled out from the Galaxy Note’s bombastic launch event in London yesterday. Those looking for brighter color scheme to match the striking glow of its HD Super AMOLED display are in luck, as the Galaxy Note looks set to arrive in white; the ethereal ying to its companion’s midnight blue yang. Sammy added that the Galaxy Note’s S-Pen SDK will be available to third-party developers starting December, hopefully bringing more uses for that slide-out stick. And that’s despite the latest Android OS offering native stylus support — the Galaxy Note remains a Gingerbread affair. The current smartphone king was unable to confirm if the UK would be getting the white model on the November 3rd launch day, or ever. Similarly, we’re still waiting on Samsung to put S-Pen to paper on pricing and any possible US launch details.

White Galaxy Note appears, developers wanted to pen third-party apps for its stylus originally appeared on Engadget on Fri, 28 Oct 2011 13:21:00 EDT. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Samsung Galaxy Note review

Remember the display on your first mobile phone? If you’ve been chatting on the go for as long as we have, it was probably barely big enough to fit a complete telephone number — let alone a contact name or text message. And your first smartphone? Even displaying scaled-down, WAP versions of web pages was asking a lot. Now, those mobile devices we couldn’t live without have screens that are much, much larger. Sometimes, though, we secretly wish they were even bigger still.

Samsung’s new GT-N7000 Galaxy Note is the handset those dreams are made of — if you happen to share that dream about obnoxiously large smartphones, that is. It’s as thin as a Galaxy S II, lightning fast and its 5.3-inch HD Super AMOLED display is as gorgeous as it is enormous; the 1280 x 800 pixels you once could only get with a full-size laptop (or in the Galaxy Tab 10.1) can now slide comfortably into your front pocket. Its jumbo display makes it the perfect candidate for a notepad replacement and, with the included S Pen stylus, you’ll have no problem jotting notes on the fly, marking up screenshots or signing documents electronically. But, is that massive display too much of a good thing? You’ll need to jump past the break to find out.

Continue reading Samsung Galaxy Note review

Samsung Galaxy Note review originally appeared on Engadget on Fri, 28 Oct 2011 07:15:00 EDT. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Microsoft Video Envisions a Touch-Based Future

Just relaxing with a paper-thin tablet and smartphone, at some point in the theoretical future. Image: Microsoft

How do you see yourself living a decade from now? For many of us, it’s difficult to picture how technologies will change and evolve in that time span. But for some folks at Microsoft, it’s their job to figure out where technology is headed, and how to make it happen. And a recently released video shows just what they envision.

The video, titled Productivity Future Vision, shows us a world much like our own, but cooler. Microsoft sees touchscreens and holographic displays dominating our daily experiences. Flat surfaces of any kind are transformed into useful, interactive displays as well.

“The video explores what productivity experiences might plausibly look like five to ten years in the future,” David Jones, director of Microsoft’s Envisioning Team, told Wired.com in an interview. The concepts presented in the video don’t necessarily communicate plans for future Microsoft products, though.

In an interview with GeekWire, Microsoft GM of technical strategy Chris Pratley said, “It would be relatively trivial to do a kind of Hollywood thing, where you just say what would be cool, and you whip it up and put it on the screen. But everything in the video, we could footnote everything about where it’s coming from, who’s working on it, why we think it’s going to happen.” Essentially, Microsoft’s video isn’t just a bunch of hot air.

The video was produced by the Microsoft Office team, and is a follow-up to a “Microsoft 2019″ video that the company created in 2008. It builds on several themes established in the earlier video, even using a few of the same actors.

Microsoft heavily emphasizes how thin they think future displays will be. Smartphones, tablets and desktop monitors all measure in at wafer-like thicknesses, slabs of white, blank slates that images and video can be pawed, swiped and manipulated.

On-screen images can be holographic, so tilting the angle of your phone, for instance, could show you a 3-D rendition of a bar graph. And images aren’t confined to the dimensions of the touchscreen you’re using.

And the technology goes even further in the kitchen: A tap on the refrigerator door reveals its contents, and tapping on a food item can bring up recipes relating to that item.

“Many of the technologies in the video, such as stereoscopic-3D displays … speech recognition, real-time collaboration, and data visualization are already part of products available today,” Jones told Wired.com. The video just expands on their capabilities to where they could be sometime in the next decade.

There’s one big thing that’s missing from the piece: Paper. A woman peruses a magazine on a large legal-pad sized tablet. A child seated at a kitchen table draws and plays a game on another touchscreen device. A dad moves a virtual Post-It note from one spot to another on an interactive wall calendar. Hand gestures pass data from a slate to the countertop. For all intents and purposes, papyrus is virtually extinct.

There are also a number of user experience aspects in the video that would also make our computing experiences more comfortable. For example, around the 3:30 mark, a man at a desk opens up a video (or video chat) with a woman, and as he scoots his chair back, her image enlarges proportionately. This could feasibly be accomplished using facial recognition and some IR sensor technology to measure the distance of the face to the screen.

“In the future, productivity software will work to extend our human capabilities, transitioning from the role of a passive tool to that of an active assistant,” Jones said.

Active assistant, eh? That sounds familiar.

And Microsoft isn’t the only one who’s released conceptual videos of what the future could be like. In the late 80s, Apple famously released a set of videos illustrating a concept called Knowledge Navigator, a concept we’re moving closer to these days with Siri and touchscreen iOS devices.

“Microsoft understands the vision of what consumers need in the post-PC era. What they need to demonstrate is that they can execute this vision before their competitors do,” Forrester analyst Sarah Rotman Epps said of the video via email.

The video is below if you want to check it out. Would you enjoy this world? Is there anything missing? Sound off in the comments.

British man’s prosthetic arm doubles as Nokia C7 dock

Smartphones have changed our lives, sure, but for those with only one arm, the touchscreen-centric devices can be a downright nuisance. Trevor Prideaux of Somerset, England has worked out of a solution, with help from Nokia and some folks in the medical community. A prosthetist built the 50-year-old catering manager a limb with a cradle for his Nokia C7, allowing Prideaux to operate the phone with a single hand. Prideaux told The Telegraph that he’d initially approached Apple for assistance with the project, eventually settling on Nokia after the Finnish handset maker agreed to help out.

[Image source: The Telegraph]

British man’s prosthetic arm doubles as Nokia C7 dock originally appeared on Engadget on Wed, 26 Oct 2011 14:24:00 EDT. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Yes, Prisoners Carry iPhones in Their Asses

If you think the cell phone explosion of recent years has somehow been kept at bay by prison walls, you would be greatly mistaken. Technology, like water, permeates every crack. Today on Lockdown, we’re talking phones in jail. More »