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iPhone 5 rumors: battery challenges in the next iPhone

by Nicole
July 19, 2012 at 4:42 pm

In a guest post written for Forbes, Noam Kedem, VP of marketing for Leyden Energy, a Fremont, California-based company that makes batteries for consumer electronics, electric vehicles and storage applications, speculates on the possible challenges Apple might face in building the battery of the next iPhone.

Kedem starts by writing about the problems the company faced before launching the latest iPad.

As Apple had to keep a balance between feature set, form factor and battery life with the tablet, questions have appeared regarding Cupertino’s strategy for the next iPhone.

4G LTE, Retina Display and an A5 processor with more powerful 3D graphics are some of the features of the device that will likely drain more power and generate more heat.

Kedem believes that the battery issues are caused by two aspects: energy density and thermal sensitivity.

In his opinion, increased packaging efficiency could help in getting higher energy density.

This could be possible, he argues, by eliminating the protective casing needed for user-replaceable batteries as is the case with the non-removable Li-ion pouch cells now used in most smartphones on the market.

In addition, the manner in which the battery is placed could also lead to packaging efficiency.

Kedem describes the two ways in which a battery can be positioned inside a smartphone.

One method by integrating two layers of electronics, namely screen and circuitry, with a space “carved out” for the battery, which was used for the iPhone 4S.

The second one uses three layers: screen, circuitry, and battery. As the battery in the carve-out approach gets narrower, higher energy density is ensured.

As for the thermal sensitivity, a two-layer design would help keep a distance between the hottest parts of the device and the battery, an aspect Apple is likely to take advantage of, Kedem believes.

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