Sprint is the least attractive network for the iPhone 4S despite its offer of unlimited data, according to a study, suggesting consumers may be better off with AT&T or Verizon.
The iPhone’s top data speed on AT&T’s network was twice as fast the top speed it reached on Verizon and Sprint, according to a study done by Apple Insider. Meanwhile, Verizon proved to offer the best overall coverage on the device, providing service in the most areas.
Sprint, however, offered the slowest data speeds and worst overall coverage “by far” in the areas tested in the study.
Apple hoped the latest iOS 5.0.1 release would fix the iPhone 4S battery woes. It was disappointed. One problem is that it’s unclear whether this is a hardware or software bug. My technical instincts point to the former, but there are anecdotal reasons to blame software.
The logic for hardware as the source of the problem is based on three observations:
1) Most 4S users (myself included) don’t experience excessive battery drain, and those who do typically see it right away, before adding apps and tweaking settings. This indicates that the base OS, at least as shipped, doesn’t have a systemic problem.
2) The problem doesn’t affect other iOS 5 devices, like the iPad 2, iPod Touch, or original iPhone 4. It’s more anecdotal evidence, but I upgraded both an iPad 2 and a fourth-generation Touch and have noticed no degradation in battery usage even with heavy use.
3) The reports usually can’t trace the battery drain to any specific activity; in fact, many of those affected say they can literally see the battery drain while doing nothing more than watching the home screen.
According to research carried out for my by an iPhone app developer, the battery issue that some iPhone 4 and 4S owners are experiencing is not, as some have suggested, related to the hardware.
The developer, who at this point wishes to remain anonymous, approached me late last week to discuss the issues he was experiencing with one of his two iPhone 4S handset. The problem he was seeing was pretty much along the lines of what others are reporting – rapid drop in battery when the handset is doing little or nothing.
Nothing new there, but what I thought was interesting was that he had two handset, one that was displaying the battery problem that some people are screaming about, and another that wasn’t. He admitted that the two handsets were very different in their configuration and had different apps installed. One was a test bed for apps he develops, the other was his day-to-day use handset. It was his day-to-day handset that was displaying the battery problems.
Both handsets were bought at the same time (direct from Apple for delivery on launch day), both are connected to the same network (AT&T) and both handsets are now running iOS 5.0.1. This to me was strong evidence to suggest that the problem affecting iPhone handsets was not a hardware issue. However, so that we could totally rule out this being a hardware problem the developer took things a step further. He factory reset both handsets and then recovered then from a backup. However, rather than reloading them with their original backup, he swapped them over. He reloading his day-to-day handset with the backup from his development handset, and loaded the development handset with the backup from his regular day-to-day handset.
Would the battery problem stay with a specific handset or swap over with the software?