iPhone 5 Battery Smaller Than Expected?

Images said to show the Apple iPhone 5's battery prompt concerns about the upcoming smartphone's staying power.
Apple iPhone 5 Vs. Samsung Galaxy S III: What We Know
Apple iPhone 5 Vs. Samsung Galaxy S III: What We Know
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With Apple prepared to introduce its next-generation iPhone as early as next month, pieces, parts, and specs have been leaking across the Internet. The latest purports to be an image of the battery for the iPhone 5.

Pictures supplied to 9to5Mac show a narrow battery with a number of markings on it. It appears similar in size and shape to the battery used in the Apple iPhone 4/4S. With something like a battery, however, the devil is in the details.

According to 9to5Mac, the lithium-ion battery is rated at 1440mAh. That's just 10mAh more than the iPhone 4S's 1430mAh battery. The iPhone 5's battery also has an increased watt-hours rating, at 5.45 watt-hours compared to the iPhone 4S's 5.3 watt-hours and the iPhone 4's 5.25 watt-hours ratings.

Perhaps more interesting, however, is that the voltage has changed. The iPhone 4/4S battery--and the battery of nearly every other cell phone sold today--measures 3.7 volts. The new battery shows a voltage rating of 3.8.

Why do these teeny tiny little numbers matter? The new iPhone's most significant new features--a larger display and LTE 4G radio--are power hogs. LTE 4G, in particular, can drain a fully charged battery in almost no time.

For example, the Samsung Galaxy S III supports LTE for AT&T, Sprint, and Verizon Wireless. When used on the LTE networks of AT&T and Verizon, the GS3's battery life is measured in hours, not days. The GS3's battery measures 2100mAh, almost 50% more than the supposed iPhone 5's.

[ Bump up your current iPhone's battery life. iPhone 4/4S Battery Cases Compared. ]

That begs the question, just how good can the iPhone 5's battery life be with such a small battery, especially if it has to power a larger screen and faster data network?

9to5Mac postulates, "Perhaps Apple's tweaked dual-core system on a chip for this new iPhone is efficient enough to run LTE with[out] the need for a much larger battery. We also speculate that Apple may indeed be moving ahead with latest version of the Qualcomm Gobi chips that has a smaller battery draw than previous versions."

It's also possible that the leaked photos aren't of the iPhone 5's battery at all. Given the size of the batteries in other Apple devices, such as the iPad and MacBook Air--and those devices' lengthy battery life--I am not worried that the iPhone 5 will have crummy battery life.

With any luck, Apple will put this all to rest next month.

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