Surfacing reports say Apple’s next gadget may include a battery that lasts a whole week. Unlike many gadget predictions, this one is based on scientific fact.
Reports surfaced this week that the next iPhone may include a battery that lasts an entire week. And, unlike many gadget predictions, this one is based on scientific fact.
A company called Intelligent Energy has developed a prototype battery using a hydrogen fuel cell that matches the size of the current iPhone 6. Telegraph suggested the British power company is working “closely” with Apple on the design for what could become the next iPhone. Whether that’s true or not is a good question, and we might not find out about any details for a year or two after the rumored iPhone 6s comes out.
Hydrogen fuel cells have an added benefit: They are safer for the environment. I’ll spare you the deep science, but fuel cells basically create a chemical reaction between hydrogen and oxygen. There’s nothing but a vapor trail. They do not release any harmful toxins.
Intelligent Power already offers a back-up charger called the Upp that can power any phone, so the technology is already in the wild. I’ve tested fuel cell back-up batteries before and, while they are a little weird (you usually have to add a little water to a capsule, and they almost seem like a science experiment), the main advantage for business users is that they last so long on a charge but tend to be small and light.
How would a week-long battery in your phone change how you work? For me, the main benefit is in not having to keep chargers and cables around and babysit the device constantly. I’ve used Samsung phones before that last a week if you enable a special long-battery life mode (which makes the screen gray and disables some features and wireless connections), and it was a godsend for conferences and longer business trips when you never know if you can charge up easily, even if the screen looked like a feature phone.
An iPhone that lasts all week would provide a few more benefits than reducing clutter and freeing up space in my laptop bag, though. It opens up some new opportunities for how you would even use your phone. For example, when I’m driving, I usually stow my iPhone away with the cable connected and the screen off. I want it to charge up to full power. If I knew the phone would last all week, I might hand it off to colleagues in the car or use it as a hotspot. I might even use it as my main GPS nav.
Those things are not major benefits, because you can always keep a cable connected. However, in the office, a longer-lasting iPhone could change a few work dynamics. I might be more willing to run a presentation off my phone if I know I won’t have to deal with cables. I might keep the display on longer when I’m travelling to see notifications pop up rather than just listen for them. My guess is that, if the rumor does prove true, keeping the display on will still ruin battery life, but maybe only by a day or two.
However, the really interesting impact a long lasting iPhone might have on business has to do with one of my least favorite gadgets of the year.
One of the things I hated most about the Apple Watch is that it didn’t last more than a day. When you already have to keep a laptop charged and your phone, one more babysitting chore becomes really annoying. If I didn’t have to think as much about my phone, I might want to use the Watch. Or, one of many other devices that needs to be recharged each day.