iPhone 3G: The Lack of a User-Replacable Battery

I am appalled by the iPhone 3G’s battery life. Apple has put an obsessive amount of effort into creating a fantastic looking product that’s light years ahead of the competition in terms of overall user experience and external aesthetics. Sadly, their obsession for design has resulted in two major shortcomings 1) The lack of a user replacable battery 2) Extremely short battery life. It looks like the reason for the short battery life on the new iPhone is the power drain from the fast but hungry 3G networks. The graph below shows that if you do nothing else with your phone (calls, texts, email, apps), you can get 197 minutes surfing out of your phone (full story here)

Normally, this wouldn’t be a big deal for me as I work with power hungry handsets on a daily basis, but since O2 are only offering the unit on an 18-month contract and battery retention is claimed at 80% over 300 charge/discharge cycles, it looks like the phone isn’t going to make it to the end of its contract. The iPhone 3G uses a lithium polymer battery (1150 mAh) which is reported to be able to take >300 full charge cycles whilst retaining 80% of its capacity. Here are some quick unofficial YourBit tips on how to extend the battery life of your iPhone 3G:

  • You don’t have to charge/discharge the battery fully to get the most out of it. In fact, some reports say this is the toughest work this type of battery can do. Unlike Ni Cad batteries, Li-poly batteries don’t have a ‘memory’.
  • Don’t let it get fully discharged (<10%) too many times. This type of battery lives longer when kept in the middle of its charge range.
  • Avoid topping up the battery. Again, it’s best in the middle.
  • Don’t use cases. The back cover looks like it’s made of aluminuim to dissipate the heat. Covering it up will cause it to heat up and do it more harm than good.

Apple has their own ‘suggestions’ to help you improve the battery life of your iPhone 3G:

  • Turn off 3G
  • Minimize use of location services
  • Fetch new data less frequently
  • Turn off push mail
  • Auto-check fewer email accounts
  • Minimize use of third-party applications
  • Turn off Wi-Fi
  • Turn off Bluetooth
  • Use Airplane Mode in low- or no-coverage areas
  • Adjust brightness
  • Turn off EQ

In short, pretty much disable everything that makes it different from a Nokia 3310. Apple is selling a replacement battery kit for about

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