How Apple's 'iPhone 8' could improve battery life with 2-cell design, OLED screen

Posted:
in iPhone edited April 2017
The hurdles to better battery life in modern devices are both technical, in terms of power consumption, and physical, as limited by space available. Apple's upcoming "iPhone 8" is rumored to address both of those issues, potentially allowing for longer battery life than ever.


"iPhone 8" mockup by ConceptsiPhone.

Doing more with less

Rumors suggest this year's flagship "iPhone 8" will boast a large 2,700 mAh battery, on par with the high-end 5.5-inch iPhone 7 Plus.

But the "iPhone 8" is also said to have dimensions similar to the smaller 4.7-inch iPhone 7, meaning Apple could offer the best of both worlds -- portable form factor with much longer battery life.

For comparison, the iPhone 7 has a 1,960 mAh capacity battery, while the iPhone 7 Plus has 2,900 mAh.

Where would Apple find the space to fit such a large battery in a device expected to have a 5.2-inch edge-to-edge screen? It's rumored that Apple will accomplish this by shrinking the parts inside of its premium-priced handset, rumored to debut later this year in September.

Efficiency, efficiency, efficiency

According to KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, Apple plans to use a stacked logic board, called a substrate-like PCB mainboard, to allow more space inside of the "iPhone 8" chassis.

Shrinking the size of the mainboard also has the added benefit of allowing for greater energy efficiency. The one-two punch of a larger battery and more efficient parts has led Kuo to predict that the "iPhone 8" could boast even better battery life than the iPhone 7 Plus.

In addition, it's also heavily rumored that the "iPhone 8" will see Apple make the switch to an OLED display, ditching the legacy LCD panels that have been found in all iPhone models to date. This change could be significant for battery life in a few ways, not the least of which is the fact that backlight-free OLED panels are typically thinner than their LCD counterparts, once again freeing up more valuable space within the iPhone's design.




Like the smaller mainboard, OLED is more efficient too, consuming less power in some use cases thanks to the absence of a backlight. While an entire LCD screen requires backlighting, OLED pixels are individually lit, saving space and also not using energy for "black," or unlit, pixels.

Shrinking the components within smartphones has been a necessary step for years, because battery technology itself has not improved in significant ways. Chips and other parts continue to get smaller and more power efficient, paving the way for more space for batteries.

Apple is said to be planning to take advantage of expanded space within the "iPhone 8" with an entirely new 2-cell, L-shaped battery design. According to Kuo, this new battery design will also allow for faster charging speeds.

Slower draining, quicker (and easier) charging

Apple's rumored well-rounded plan for improving battery life is also said to include faster charging, giving users the ability to top off their iPhone in less time plugged in. Specifically, it's expected that Apple will accomplish this via USB Type-C Power Delivery issued over a Lightning cable.

Combined with the 2-cell, L-shaped battery pack design, Apple could make the "iPhone 8" battery replenish faster than any model before it.

Beyond faster wired charging, it's also rumored that this year's flagship iPhone will introduce contact-based wireless charging. Less about speed and more about convenience, wireless charging would allow users the option to juice their device by simply placing it on a compatible charging pad.


"iPhone 8" mockup by ConceptsiPhone.

How good can it get?

Prospective "iPhone 8" buyers shouldn't expect anything crazy -- most users will probably still end up charging their handset at least every night. It will take a major shakeup to current battery technology to achieve considerable gains in any mobile device.

Still, Apple continues to make incremental gains in battery life, and this year's handset should be no different.

Apple's current battery life king in the iPhone lineup is the iPhone 7 Plus, which boasts up to 13 hours of internet use on LTE, or up to 15 hours on Wi-Fi. Talk time is rated at 21 hours.

According to Kuo, user should expect numbers comparable to, if not better than, those estimates when the "iPhone 8" arrives. And even more time would be saved by quick charging over USB.
watto_cobra

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 20
    I just cannot wait till we all learn the device's name is NOT iPhone 8!!
    StrangeDaysredgeminipawatto_cobraSpamSandwichnetmage
  • Reply 2 of 20
    On my 6S, after a lot of tweaking, I go to bed with still 45% after fairly moderate use. I would be happy to turn all these tweaks off and live with it till late. 
    edited April 2017 RacerhomieXwatto_cobra
  • Reply 3 of 20
    Eric_WVGGEric_WVGG Posts: 622member
    Worth noting that this L-shaped battery would likely not have been possible with the audio jack being part of the design. It really did take a huge amount of internal space in the device.
    blkhawk105RacerhomieXStrangeDaysrepressthisredgeminipawatto_cobra
  • Reply 4 of 20
    Does not matter how mich extra life you get, it won't be enough for some who want to return to the days of getting a weeks use from a dumb-phone.
    Personally, I don't have issues with battery life on any iDevice I've owned. I did have plenty of issues with an HTC phone but that was because it came with apps like Twitter, Facebook etc that could not be turned off without rooting the phone.


    baconstangredgeminipawatto_cobranetmage
  • Reply 5 of 20
    icoco3icoco3 Posts: 1,459member
    I just cannot wait till we all learn the device's name is NOT iPhone 8!!
    iPhone X

    I said it last summer about this year model and the term had been used previously.
    repressthiswatto_cobraSpamSandwich
  • Reply 6 of 20
    If it has wireless charging, what is the need for a lightning cable?
  • Reply 7 of 20
    paxmanpaxman Posts: 4,603member
    Battery technology is on the cusp of some pretty exciting changes, it seems...
    John Goodenough - 'His design uses a glass electrode instead of a liquid one, sodium instead of lithium, and may have three times as much energy density as lithium-ion batteries. The fact that these batteries don’t get as hot, charge faster and are cheaper than lithium, are real pluses as well.'   Goodenoughs Batteries

    The future of batteries. I didn't realize there were so many different technologies  brewing...  Future of batteries

    edited April 2017 minicoffeerepressthiswatto_cobra
  • Reply 8 of 20
    StrangeDaysStrangeDays Posts: 7,961member
    paxman said:
    Battery technology is on the cusp of some pretty exciting changes, it seems...
    John Goodenough - 'His design uses a glass electrode instead of a liquid one, sodium instead of lithium, and may have three times as much energy density as lithium-ion batteries. The fact that these batteries don’t get as hot, charge faster and are cheaper than lithium, are real pluses as well.'   Goodenoughs Batteries

    The future of batteries. I didn't realize there were so many different technologies  brewing...  Future of batteries

    not to be a downer but theyve been on the cusp for years...lots of exciting press, perhaps to attract funding, but so far nothing. heres hoping.
    repressthiswatto_cobra
  • Reply 9 of 20
    If it has wireless charging, what is the need for a lightning cable?
    maybe the charging pad thingy will be sold separately and those who can't buy it yet will rely on lightning for charges for the time being.
    radarthekatpatchythepirate
  • Reply 10 of 20
    avon b7avon b7 Posts: 3,914member
    paxman said:
    Battery technology is on the cusp of some pretty exciting changes, it seems...
    John Goodenough - 'His design uses a glass electrode instead of a liquid one, sodium instead of lithium, and may have three times as much energy density as lithium-ion batteries. The fact that these batteries don’t get as hot, charge faster and are cheaper than lithium, are real pluses as well.'   Goodenoughs Batteries

    The future of batteries. I didn't realize there were so many different technologies  brewing...  Future of batteries

    not to be a downer but theyve been on the cusp for years...lots of exciting press, perhaps to attract funding, but so far nothing. heres hoping.
    Yep. Toshiba was one of them. Very promising potential but never heard of again.

    Still, getting more life out of a smallish phone is always welcome. Faster charging is another plus.

    I'm fortunate enough to work in a smart city, so charging options are far better than a few years ago. That, combined with fast charging, makes running out of juice while out and about virtually impossible.
  • Reply 11 of 20
    If it has wireless charging, what is the need for a lightning cable?
    Wireless charging is for slow, overnight charging with your iPhone sitting on a pad.
    The lightning cable is for FAST charging using a power adapter in a wall or connected to a USB-C equipped Mac.
    watto_cobranetmage
  • Reply 12 of 20
    sergiozsergioz Posts: 235member
    Even if wireless charging make it in to new phone it will be obsolete once high-performance supercapacitors become available and replace or augment current lithium-ion batteries! Imagine a battery that can be charged in seconds and last up to 10 000 cycles! https://goo.gl/K2FYIi
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 13 of 20
    I just cannot wait till we all learn the device's name is NOT iPhone 8!!
    Do you really care what the name is? Will you feel like you got one over on Apple if that is not the name?
  • Reply 14 of 20
    ksecksec Posts: 1,562member
    1. The OLED from Samsung was the absolute best Screen confirmed by Display Tech, and finally more power efficient in actual usage.

    2. 10nm SoC from TSMC Promised to be 20% more energy efficient while at the same performance.

    3. This year's Intel Modem ( I hope we finally settle on a single Modem ) will be slightly better. The XMM7360 is old and god damn it awful. 7480 Will be better but still no match for Qualcomm. Only next year's modem will be Pre-5G AND ( Finally ) manufactured by Intel.      

    And i have been saying for a long time, sometimes in the next five years we may see iPhone's usage time doubled. If we see a Energy usage reduction of 30%, and a 40% increase of Total Battery capacity, by increasing Battery space, and Battery tech improvement. Perfectly doable.

          
  • Reply 15 of 20
    tommikele said:
    I just cannot wait till we all learn the device's name is NOT iPhone 8!!
    Do you really care what the name is? Will you feel like you got one over on Apple if that is not the name?
    No, I do not care what Apple ends up calling the model in question, but calling it "iPhone 8" makes very little sense. How would Apple successfully market the iPhone 7s when, within the same model year, Apple releases another iPhone with a name implies the model is a whole year newer? Apple's nomenclature for the iPhone lineup has been linear post iPhone 3G. The world knows exactly when to expect, say an iPhone 9s, just add it up—Fall 2020. What justification is there for Apple to upend traditional, and what is it about this model in question that begs the name iPhone 8? Nothing, really. iPhone SE is a prime example of Apple not interrupting the established nomenclature, and so will be the upcoming 10th anniversary model. I could keep going, listing more reasons why iPhone 8 name doesn't make much sense. You don't find it strange to keep referring to the 10th anniversary model by a name that is improbable? I think it f*#king bizarre. I just cannot because in a year from today, when we're all arguing the merits of the upcoming iPhone 8, I'd surely feel like a ignoramus about previously calling the 10th anniversary model "iPhone 8." Yes, it's possible that I'm wrong about all of this. This Fall I just might have to insert foot in mouth.
    avon b7watto_cobra
  • Reply 16 of 20
    foggyhillfoggyhill Posts: 4,767member
    tommikele said:
    I just cannot wait till we all learn the device's name is NOT iPhone 8!!
    Do you really care what the name is? Will you feel like you got one over on Apple if that is not the name?
    No, I do not care what Apple ends up calling the model in question, but calling it "iPhone 8" makes very little sense. How would Apple successfully market the iPhone 7s when, within the same model year, Apple releases another iPhone with a name implies the model is a whole year newer? Apple's nomenclature for the iPhone lineup has been linear post iPhone 3G. The world knows exactly when to expect, say an iPhone 9s, just add it up—Fall 2020. What justification is there for Apple to upend traditional, and what is it about this model in question that begs the name iPhone 8? Nothing, really. iPhone SE is a prime example of Apple not interrupting the established nomenclature, and so will be the upcoming 10th anniversary model. I could keep going, listing more reasons why iPhone 8 name doesn't make much sense. You don't find it strange to keep referring to the 10th anniversary model by a name that is improbable? I think it f*#king bizarre. I just cannot because in a year from today, when we're all arguing the merits of the upcoming iPhone 8, I'd surely feel like a ignoramus about previously calling the 10th anniversary model "iPhone 8." Yes, it's possible that I'm wrong about all of this. This Fall I just might have to insert foot in mouth.
    Eventually they'll do something like Series 1, 3, 5, 7 for year 2017, like BMW does for cars.
    The "regular" is the 3 series (for BMW) and the low cost. The Watch almost does that with series 1 and 2.
    edited April 2017
  • Reply 17 of 20
    If it has wireless charging, what is the need for a lightning cable?
    Not everyone wants to have to lay the phone down on a certain spot to get it to charge. It's a bonus thing to have, not a replacement.
  • Reply 18 of 20
    foggyhill said:
    tommikele said:
    I just cannot wait till we all learn the device's name is NOT iPhone 8!!
    Do you really care what the name is? Will you feel like you got one over on Apple if that is not the name?
    No, I do not care what Apple ends up calling the model in question, but calling it "iPhone 8" makes very little sense. How would Apple successfully market the iPhone 7s when, within the same model year, Apple releases another iPhone with a name implies the model is a whole year newer? Apple's nomenclature for the iPhone lineup has been linear post iPhone 3G. The world knows exactly when to expect, say an iPhone 9s, just add it up—Fall 2020. What justification is there for Apple to upend traditional, and what is it about this model in question that begs the name iPhone 8? Nothing, really. iPhone SE is a prime example of Apple not interrupting the established nomenclature, and so will be the upcoming 10th anniversary model. I could keep going, listing more reasons why iPhone 8 name doesn't make much sense. You don't find it strange to keep referring to the 10th anniversary model by a name that is improbable? I think it f*#king bizarre. I just cannot because in a year from today, when we're all arguing the merits of the upcoming iPhone 8, I'd surely feel like a ignoramus about previously calling the 10th anniversary model "iPhone 8." Yes, it's possible that I'm wrong about all of this. This Fall I just might have to insert foot in mouth.
    Eventually they'll do something like Series 1, 3, 5, 7 for year 2017, like BMW does for cars.
    The "regular" is the 3 series (for BMW) and the low cost. The Watch almost does that with series 1 and 2.
    They'll have to ditch the numbering scheme shortly. Possibly going down the same route as the mac; different names per model/size but it's the same name each year whether it gets upgraded or not.
  • Reply 19 of 20
    If it has wireless charging, what is the need for a lightning cable?
    Technical reasons, as well as faster charging. There are still odd times when an iDevice needs put in recovery mode, requiring a physical connection to a computer running iTunes, which would be impossible without Lightning/USB/whatever. 

    However... the Apple Watch has no physical connection (USB) available, so... it's anyone's guess what Apple might come up with. 

    As for iPhone naming, it's about time Apple drops numerals. It's the last Apple device (at this time) to have them. Of course, Shamdung will follow suit. Even calling the 10th anniversary iPhone "X" (10) is a year off. It'll be the 11th major iPhone release, as will the "7s" series. It's time to kill off the number naming. Once we get to 10, it'll start sounding really dumb. I predict the high end iPhone this year will be labeled "iPhone Pro." I also believe it'll run an A11X processor, to give it an edge over the "7s," which will run the A11, provided we actually see an iPhone 7s this year. 
  • Reply 20 of 20
    avon b7avon b7 Posts: 3,914member
    tommikele said:
    I just cannot wait till we all learn the device's name is NOT iPhone 8!!
    Do you really care what the name is? Will you feel like you got one over on Apple if that is not the name?
    No, I do not care what Apple ends up calling the model in question, but calling it "iPhone 8" makes very little sense. How would Apple successfully market the iPhone 7s when, within the same model year, Apple releases another iPhone with a name implies the model is a whole year newer? Apple's nomenclature for the iPhone lineup has been linear post iPhone 3G. The world knows exactly when to expect, say an iPhone 9s, just add it up—Fall 2020. What justification is there for Apple to upend traditional, and what is it about this model in question that begs the name iPhone 8? Nothing, really. iPhone SE is a prime example of Apple not interrupting the established nomenclature, and so will be the upcoming 10th anniversary model. I could keep going, listing more reasons why iPhone 8 name doesn't make much sense. You don't find it strange to keep referring to the 10th anniversary model by a name that is improbable? I think it f*#king bizarre. I just cannot because in a year from today, when we're all arguing the merits of the upcoming iPhone 8, I'd surely feel like a ignoramus about previously calling the 10th anniversary model "iPhone 8." Yes, it's possible that I'm wrong about all of this. This Fall I just might have to insert foot in mouth.
    My bet is on the 'i' getting the chop. I can see What you mean with the '8' reference.
    repressthis
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