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Where’d Apple Get Its Juice?

Tweak the hardware. Cell phone batteries are often as large as the gadget’s casing can accommodate, and there are no surprise technologies that can make a standard battery retain its juice longer. Instead, manufacturers concentrate on power management.

Along with the screen, chips are the biggest power-consumers in a cellular device. By working with numerous chip manufacturers, Apple and other electronics companies can pick and choose individual chips that are particularly energy efficient. The iPhone’s glass screen, announced this week, will also help save energy. The more tasks a phone is running (phone calls, Web browsing sessions) the more quickly the battery gets depleted. Advanced operating systems—iPhone uses a version of Apple’s OS X—can regulate the device’s power usage, powering down the processor or the screen when they’re not active. (Tech companies occasionally calculate a device’s battery life with most of its hardware components shut off, an unrealistic situation that tends to produce an inflated projection of the gadget’s real-world power consumption. Most consumer electronics, including the iPhone, are powered by lithium-ion batteries. These power sources are popular because they pack many times the power of other types of batteries in a fraction of the space. Tech analysts say new screen technology will offer a huge amount of power savings. A large touch screen like the one on the iPhone is particularly power-intensive. As a result, gadget manufacturers are increasingly ditching traditional LCD displays in favor of the more energy efficient organic light-emitting diode screens.

[Via Slate]

Categories: Apple, iPhone
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