We reported earlier this week that iPhone 6s users are noticing 2-hour differences in battery life based upon whether or not the device’s A9 processor was manufactured by Samsung or TSMC. The individual who made the initial claim said that in his testing, the iPhone 6s with the Samsung-made A9 processor struggles to get 6 hours of battery life, while the TSMC-made A9 processor achieves 8 hours of battery life rather easily, noting a 2-hour difference between the two iPhones 6s models based on who designed the processor. Apple has taken notice of the complaint online and has issued its own response to the claim in a statement to the source site below. For your convenience, we’ll publish it here.
With the Apple-designed A9 chip in your iPhone 6s or iPhone 6s Plus, you are getting the most advanced smartphone chip in the world. Every chip we ship meets Apple’s highest standards for providing incredible performance and deliver great battery life, regardless of iPhone 6s capacity, color, or model.
Certain manufactured lab tests which run the processors with a continuous heavy workload until the battery depletes are not representative of real-world usage, since they spend an unrealistic amount of time at the highest CPU performance state. It’s a misleading way to measure real-world battery life. Our testing and customer data show the actual battery life of the iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus, even taking into account variable component differences, vary within just 2-3% of each other.
First, it should be said that Apple is wise to issue a response; after all, if I were an iPhone 6s customer, I’d want to know why there are such major differences in battery life as 2 hours (unless you were comparing two different iPhones such as the iPhone 6 to iPhone 6 Plus battery life, for example, not two of the iPhone 6s or iPhone 6s Plus). At the same time, however, Apple has gone on record responding to claims with answers that aren’t entirely satisfying. With the iCloud hack incident last year, Apple said that the hack wasn’t coming from their side, but how could it not come from Apple when iCloud belongs to the company and it happened to so many celebrities at the same time?
This doesn’t count the famed statement “you’re holding it wrong,” referring to AntennaGate, or the #Bendgate issue that was dismissed as “only 9 people have reported bending problems,” only to turn into a website of people who had bending problems with their iPhone 6 Plus models. The Bendgate issue doesn’t exist this year, simply because Apple patched up the problem by using 7000 grade aluminum instead of the 6000 grade aluminum it used in the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus. I insist: if Bendgate wasn’t a problem, why make the aluminum stronger in the middle of the iPhone than before? In short, because it was a problem.
So, Apple’s statements must always be placed in the context that Apple wants to protect its reputation (not that they are entirely believable). With that said, however, Apple’s statement about such endurance tests as the one done to show the 2-hour difference is correct. These tests do not indicate how most consumers will use their devices in the real world. Then again, however, stress tests that measure the health of the heart don’t show how the heart performs in real-life usage, either. A person’s heart could perform healthy in a stress test but the heart could have pain for the remainder of the week when the individual wakes up each day. And the Wall Street Journal, in its review of the iPhone 6s and 6s Plus, says that battery difference is virtually unchanged from the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus, so it’s unlikely you’ll notice the difference.
This is all to say that such phone “stress tests” don’t match how every consumer uses his or her phone, but stress tests regarding battery endurance do show just how durable a smartphone really is. And if the iPhone 6s models out in the wild with consumers have A9 processors that are producing two different battery life times that are as far apart as the test claims, then Apple should provide some explanation other than “our tests are legitimate and say differently.”
Starting with, “we used two different manufacturers and processes for the A9 processor in the iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus” would be nice.