> Yes, this would result in lower peak performance for iPhone devices.
Aren't they essentially arguing that Apple should enable the throttling on day one instead of waiting until the battery degrades? How does that benefit anyone?
Also, consider the effect it has on companies that have contracted that development out, and a year later, their app "sucks", without any code changes.
Pulling numbers out of the air, the argument is the chip was designed for maximum performance with a fresh battery, 100% performance. But later it's throttled to 80%. Or, Apple could have designed the chip for a steady 95% performance throughout the life of the phone.
Smartphones are the one area in computing that seem to still be having huge jumps in performance compared to desktop/laptop computers.
Unless you actually put some thought into your hardware designs because you're making phones that have a life expectancy of greater than a mere 12 months that will be used around the world for years to come... in which case you can easily reference an electrical engineering textbook and design a circuit that can buffer enough power and supply sufficient voltage/current to meet your expected max sustained power draw with some very simple and cheap components.
But simple frequency scaling based off of _dynamically detected_ available power. There's no need to slow down a CPU based off the age of the battery so you can "guess" what the max speed you can safely run at without inducing a brownout is (and even less of a reason to do so in discrete steps instead of linearly scaling the performance, except if you're trying to do it discreetly) - all you have to do is monitor available power and scale the CPU clock rate accordingly in realtime. But if your circuit is poorly designed with no forethought as to what you'd do if the maximum rated power of the battery wasn't available, I suppose that's not so easy to retrofit.
Plain and simple, battery is shaved so much that there is no surplus left (in the name of thinness), nothing to amortize normal battery degradation, so iPhone only works beautifully during initial review and couple of months after that.
I really love Apple and some of my daily living depends on it, but this crap has to stop already. Three years back until now there are many missteps in the name of fad and profit, couple of years more and it won't matter since I won't have any market in that ecosystem.
This is the crux of the issue. Apple is trying to "fix" a design flaw with software.
I really dislike gimmicks over reliability, and I count race to thinness there too, that can be seen with Apple in last couple of years.
> iPhone only works beautifully during initial review and couple of months after that.
I guess both sides are guilty.
So what do we gain by a larger battery? Only that the performance envelope would be pushed even higher. You’re basically arguing for degrading the performance of the phone from day one rather than degrading it over time. Matter of preference I guess
His half-serious proposal to guarantee users "a 12 hour battery life" regardless of battery condition was poorly received by the rest of the team . . .
(Yes, we did the whole Newton on a 20Mhz ARM with less than 512K of RAM).
The fact that they didn't implement it and that doing so might benefit them financially obviously leads people to assume malicious intent.
Easy, user replaceable battery. (For clarity by "user replaceable" I don't mean by the user paying $79 for Apple to do it; which is a rip off)
IMO if you design a phone (costing the better part of a grand) with a battery unsuitable for a years worth of use it's a design flaw, if the battery is not easily replaceable by the user then the phone is not fit for purpose.
How then can it then "look like crap" if aesthetically it's hidden under a layer of coloured rubber?
I replacyed my old Samsung S4 Mini because the flash storage got super slow. It is known, you can test it and because android uses sqlite and there are apparently many small iops, the smart phone starts to become slow and lagy.
Who cares? I cared. Had to replace it because i can't / will not re solder flash chips. Who else cared? NO ONE...
My previous smartphone was also too old for warranty and had an issue with the mainboard. Also enough other people had this issue.
I don't mind when there are better lawys like 3 year warranty for specific specs like battry lifetime, broken pixel and iops but this is not a 'controversy'.
To be clear: I’m not apologizing Apple. They have “we’ll make decisions for the user” attitude in their DNK, but this was gone too far.
Apparently they had run out of 6Ps and were trying to clear stock of 1st gen Pixels. They probably won't be quite so nice to you, sorry.
Do third party battery replacements return the processor to normal performance? Or is it just "official" Apple-performed battery replacements that do so?
I wouldn't be surprised if there were some sort of extra procedure needed to reset the processor throttling back to normal. Or, perhaps the throttling code checks for genuine Apple batteries somehow?
Apple needs to come clean with more details about exactly how this is implemented.
The real limiting factor is that a basic USB plug charger puts out only 2A while the iPhone’s peak draw at the same 5V can be well north of 2.5A if you’re using the GPU to its fullest.
However it’s not just the power cord that’s supplying current when you’re plugged in - if it were designed correctly there’s no reason those 2A couldn’t supplement whatever your battery is already putting out and only charge it with what’s left over. In fact, that’s how iPhones can stay at 90% while plugged in to a car charger, running GPS, playing audio at the loudest, and streaming some data in the background while some android models would discharge even while plugged in... but both would be dead a lot sooner if they weren’t plugged in.
The real problem is just shoddy engineering. Hardware isn’t much different from software: what all this boils down to is the equivalent of someone writing code that went into production across millions of devices around the world that assumed input x would always be greater than y and didn’t bother with any exception handling or bounds checking. And when that voltage/current combination coming in is insufficient.. an unhandled brownout exception occurs.
I actually have three absorbent glass mat batteries hooked up to a Noco Genius battery tender and a 1000W 12V inverter to provide battery backup for my sump pumps (long story). Losslessly converting that to 5V shouldn’t be too hard.
I have noticed significant slowdown on my 2012 Mac Book Pro, after installing High Sierra. Up to the point of not being to start any app for several seconds, which wasn't the case with Sierra or before. So in this new light it may as well be throttled down too. Anybody else noticed this?
Edit: When I mean replaceable, I mean replaceable batteries without the user having to go an Apple store. Like in the old days, taking the cover off and putting the new battery back in.
Where Apple made a mistake was in not communicating to its users that this is something they need to do on an annual basis, so people could budget it in to their cost.
You drop the phone off, leave, and come back at literally any time more than 1 hour later. Go to your important meeting. Do some shopping. Have that doctor's appointment you've been putting off. Have a nice long lunch. Whatever. You don't actually lose that hour.
I mean, obviously.
Actually, I bet they’d sell a $79 normal and $129 extended ‘pro’ version.
Also my laptop from 6 years ago can show the battery health in percent, such technology is not magic.
Lithium battery tech today is an incredible step forward, but simply acknowledging the still existent limitations of the battery and it’s lifespan seems like a much simpler and saner solution than building a house of cards trying to hide that reality.
Battery dying in 2 hours after a full charge? Time to get it replaced. If your device is still under warranty, it’s free. Otherwise it’s 80 bucks and you’re golden. What’s the big deal?
Instead we have this nonsense approach to pretend that batteries live forever at such a cost.
And then you have the people that pop up out of the woodworks in each and every single iPhone battery life thread to say "it's not that the battery dies faster, it's that the phone suddenly shuts off at 60% [or whatever]," which is an absolute load of BS. The iPhone 6S was the first device to have that problem (I went to the Apple store within a year of its release with my iPhone 6S and spent over 3 hours explaining to the tech what was going on despite what his fancy charts and on-chip reporting software saw until he relented and gave me a replacement phone well before Apple ever acknowledged the issue and initiated the limited recall) - and it's the equivalent of a bug in the hardware design.
As a battery ages, the "definition" of 100% slides (as the charge cycles go up the charge capacity goes down - although it's not that simple since li-ion batteries also retain some form of the old cadmium cell memory effect that doesn't scale in a directly linear fashion with the charge cycles, but not to an appreciable extent that would have a bearing on this particular matter), but there's no reason that a device should die at 60% of its _remaining_ battery life. Except that the iPhone 6S' hardware was designed in such a way that it demanded current that could only be supplied at a voltage in excess of what the reduced-capacity battery could supply, leading to the problem at hand.
This is just me guessing, but I'm fairly convinced of the truth here: Apple didn't implement CPU scaling to improve the end user experience nor to make money off of "planned obsolescence" but rather to avoid having to replace phones/batteries within and without the warranty period (as a recall was warranted due to the faulty design) and decided to implement a software _workaround_ (and decidedly _not_ a _fix_) to get all but the most susceptible phones to avoid the scenario that would trigger the brownout.
Li-ion batteries don't have a simple voltage-charge relationship like lead-acid batteries do so you can't actually know the real charge state of the battery (and even those have a number of ways the battery chemistry can get messed up).
I'll also note that your specific battery history matters a lot. If you leave your phone on a hot car dash in the summer even once it will dramatically alter that battery's performance. It isn't as simple as saying it cuts the lifetime... the battery's ability to deliver peak current is affected.
Nope! I had an iPhone 3GS which would die at 30-40% if I turned on GPS.
I had a 5s that shutdown randomly at around 30-40%.
On a hunch I replaced the battery and the problem was solved. I can't say if performance improved or not since I gifted it to someone.
My 4S and my 2009 MacBook Pro would both randomly shut off under 40% or so after they were 2 years old.
Note: I wrote this whole comment with C inverted the first time. Too little sleep. It is now fixed thanks to user revelation.
First: Battery people like to talk about discharge and charge rates in a unit called "C". If you drain a battery at 1/10C, you will totally use it up in 10 hours. If you drain it at 1/2C you will totally use it up in 2 hours.
Laptop: 5000 milliamp hours at 10 volts for 50 watt hours of energy. This will last for 10 hours of use if you average 5 watts. You will be discharging at 0.1C on average. Your CPU might be a 15 watt CPU, so you can burst to maybe 20 watts total, or 0.4C.
Phone: 1500 milliamp hours at 4 volts for 6 watt hours of energy. This will last for 6 hours of active use, so that is 1 watt. You are discharging at 0.16C on average. Let's guess the CPU can surge to 5 watts. That takes you to 6 watts total use and a discharge rate of 1C.
So that is a 2.5x safety margin that the laptop has for degraded batteries over the phone.
Summary: Phones operate much closer to the current limits of batteries compared to older laptops. Accumulated wear or damage to the battery will affect them sooner.
You also need to be careful in your calculations. Battery discharge rates are given in Amps (or C multiples) not Watts because over a cycle, cell voltage will naturally drop. Discharging at 5 Watts puts more strain on an empty than a full cell since the first requires higher current to compensate for the lower voltage. Amps reflect the "demand" better.
Your summary is still correct though, there is more margin for degradation in a laptop battery and space for decoupling.
And I don't mean discharged in two hours, I mean discharged in 40 minutes when you keep it at max usage. Faster than a phone.
>For years consumers have complained and theorized that Apple would purposely degrade the performance of older iPhones, pushing them to upgrade faster than they normally would.
>This week the theory of slowing iPhones was validated by external sources and eventually corroborated by Apple.
The conspiracy theory we're talking about is that Apple slows your old iPhone to make you upgrade to new ones and it goes back all the way to the first iPhones. It's false on its face because this fix wasn't added until iOS 10.2.1  and it wasn't what Apple "corroborated" at all. And for the "Apple should have been transparent" crowd, here's what it said in the release notes:
>iOS 10.2.1 includes bug fixes and improves the security of your iPhone or iPad.
>It also improves power management during peak workloads to avoid unexpected shutdowns on iPhone.
>For information on the security content of Apple software updates, please visit this website: https://support.apple.com/HT201222
There's some extremely bad writing on the internet about this story meant to capitalize on the general controversy. Honestly, Apple should find the most egregious one and sue for defamation, and relish the opportunity to testify under oath if it goes to trial.
> for the "Apple should have been transparent" crowd, here's what it said in the release notes
I can't agree that that's sufficient. That little one liner in the release notes just isn't enough.
On macOS, they did more. The battery menu extra will actually display a warning when clicked if it detects that your battery is having trouble. It shows as an extra row at the top of the drop-down menu with a little little caution triangle icon and the string "Service Battery". When you click this, it takes you to a help article advising you to "take your computer in for service". It's not perfect, but it's better than not telling the user anything.
Apple could and should have done something similar on iOS, especially given that there's a whole section in Settings for just the battery. They could have displayed a similar alert icon with similar help text, for starters. A full-screen alert advising the user to get their battery serviced whenever this condition was detected would have been even better. Burying it as a single sentence in the release notes wasn't all that helpful or informative for customers.
Meta comment: Why is it that we routinely debunk shoddy journalism here on Hacker News but struggle to see why people call the vanguard of mainstream media "fake news"?
I see articles from all venues get eviscerated here on Hacker News. Can we be honest with ourselves and just say that if they're this bad about complex technology subjects, perhaps they might be equally as bad on complex geopolitical or economic issues?
However, the political aspects of discrediting entire news outlets or the entire news community because of critical or negative coverage of certain politicians or political parties is an attitude that promotes mistrust in our society and creates an environment where nefarious political actors can successful avoid scrutiny.
> In any case, you read with exasperation or amusement the multiple errors in a story, and then turn the page to national or international affairs, and read as if the rest of the newspaper was somehow more accurate about Palestine than the baloney you just read. You turn the page, and forget what you know.
― Michael Crichton
Is that so hard?
What arguments are there against this other than planned obsolescence? Educate me. Downvotes aren't arguments.
So they couldn't really run the CPU full speed for years. They sure could have, say, highlighted to users that a battery replacement can make an old phone run better for longer, but of course they'd much rather users replace their phones. Or, as another comment here suggested, they could have left more margin--overspecced the battery so it could run the CPU at higher speeds even once it was somewhat degraded, rather than putting so much of the efficiency gain over iPhone generations into thinness and lightness. Might also help battery life for heavy users.
That may be what they're telling people, but there is absolutely no engineering basis for it. Battery voltages decrease gradually under all normal operating conditions, and switched-mode converters can extract useful energy from them throughout the entire discharge regime.
The main constraint on battery voltage isn't some mysterious "random shutdown" effect, but the health of the battery itself. If you allow the battery voltage to fall too low -- which will, again, happen gradually and not instantaneously -- its service life will be greatly impaired. This is not something that happens without warning. It's a perfectly well understood effect. Once the phone's CPU sees this happening, it will have plenty of time to post a "Shutting down in xx seconds" message to the user, go into emergency low-power mode, or otherwise take action to protect the battery.
Apple seems to be saying that throttling might occur even if the battery is perfectly fine. This points to a fundamental design flaw across many different models and generations, which is the main conclusion of this article. One could even argue that Apple is using a "cheat device" that produces different performance during benchmarks vs. actual real-world use. Sound familiar? This is exactly what VW did. Is it illegal? We will find out as the lawsuits proceed.