Earlier this week Apple Inc. released an update to iOS, the semi-popular mobile operating system that powers Apple’s moderately-selling smartphones, tablets and music players. The new version, 5.0.1, brings what Apple CEO Tim Cook calls “an innovative new approach to battery power consumption,” which causes the battery level to deplete at a faster rate than the previous version. iOS developers have been testing this update for about two weeks and have reported that in some isolated cases, the battery level may actually go down slower than expected, but others have confirmed that this issue is not widespread.
In a press release posted on Apple’s website at the time of the iOS 5.0.1 release, Apple said:
When we initially released iOS 5 and the iPhone 4S last month, we incorrectly claimed that the new iPhone model was faster at every task than the previous generation. It was brought to our attention late in the phone’s development that the battery level did not deplete any faster on the newer model than it did on the previous model. Unfortunately, we did not have enough time to correct this before the phone shipped. With iOS 5.0.1, we have rectified this issue by ensuring that your battery percentage meter ticks down faster than ever. We hope iPhone users will be delighted with this new level of power consumption as they feel a new sense of urgency to live in the moment, because your phone might be dead in ten minutes. Please note that we are still tracking a few power management bugs in this release, and will be releasing another update in the coming weeks to address these isolated battery-lagging problems.
Many developers have claimed that Apple could have simply changed the algorithm for calculating battery percentage. Apple has possibly confirmed this in an email to a developer who sent an inquiry through Apple’s bug tracker. The email stated that “some users may begin to see their phones die at 50% or higher battery power due to some changes in the way the phone calculates available power.”
Also of interest to many users is the fact that iOS 5.0.1 closes several security holes that would have allowed developers to have a lot of fun. Regarding this change, Scott Forstall, head of the iOS division at Apple, said that he “was having a bad day and just wanted to annoy some nerds.”
iOS 5.0.1 can be installed for free via over-the-air update on devices running iOS 5.0, or through Apple’s iTunes software on a computer for devices running older version of iOS.