Apple Hopes to Squeeze More Battery Life Out of iOS Using Dense Lithium Cells
We like seeing that Apple is looking into ways to get longer battery life in its iOS device lineup, considering it can be absolutely dreadful at times. It becomes a difficult situation to run into because the most popular option of increasing battery capacity is to make the battery itself larger, which Apple doesn’t go for at all. No, Apple prefers to keep the size as small and thin as possible to keep its products modern and competitive.
So if there’s no more room to make the battery larger, how else can one increase battery capacity? A new patent filed by Apple indicates the company has been focused on finding the answer, and it appears they may have found it: instead of making the battery larger, take advantage of the space you already have. In other words, increase the capacity of the battery cell itself.
The technique is called “multi-step constant-current constant-voltage”, aka CC-CV or dense lithium cells. Increase the density of the power capacity, not the size of the battery cell.
In the patent application Apple also notes that it plans to make the battery cells smaller if this new technique is successful. After all, smaller batteries help open up extra room for additional features (RFID, perhaps? Maybe a NFC chip? One can dream).
Employing the new CC-CV technique does come with a few obstacles to overcome first. For instance, in theory the CC-CV would significant decrease battery life in extreme temperature (10 degrees C will lower the battery cycle time by a large margin when compared to 45 degrees C). Also, when the battery is spending more time at a high level of charge (for instance, when you leave your phone on the charger overnight every night, like I do), it also reduces the cycle life of the battery.
The last intriguing thing about the patent application is that it was actually filed in August 2009 and only became public this week. Does this mean that Apple has already been hard at work, and is finally ready to make something good out of it? Could you imagine packing more battery life into an iPad 2 with the same size battery as the original? Or perhaps making the iPad 2 thinner and yet get the same battery life as before? So many good questions with this one.