There are three things that are guaranteed in life: death, taxes, and a new iPhone suffering poor battery life.
Reports of less than stellar iPhone 4S battery life have been circulating for the last couple of weeks now, with early adopters once again acting like guinea pigs for those clever enough to hold of buying the latest and greatest tech toys.
We at Redmond Pie clearly aren’t all the bright either – one team member even queued up at stupid o’clock to get his iPhone 4S. *cough* It was me! *cough*.
Owners of the iPhone 4S have been tweeting, posting to Facebook and generally telling anyone who will listen that their new smartphone is chewing through battery power quicker than their old iPhone, and not just a little bit quicker.
According to one Guardian reader, their iPhone was working its way through 10% of battery every hour, even when just in standby.
My battery life was extremely poor – 10% drop in standby every hour. I noticed that the usage figure was roughly half that of standby, even when the phone was not being used, so I assumed something was crashing or running in the background. I switched off all the new features including Siri and location services, but it was still really poor. I also tried setting up a clean phone with no apps but it is still really poor.
That’s a story that has been echoed the web-over, though this particular one gets a little more interesting.
Popular social music network SoundCloud released its iPad app on Thursday and we took the app for a quick spin.
For those that have never used SoundCloud, it’s an online service that lets you upload and share audio clips with other SoundCloud members. The clips can be short sound bites, music tracks or even audio books you create yourself.
It has a strong social component that lets you promote your tracks or discover new tracks. It launched in 2007 and has rivaled MySpace as a place for musicians to distribute their music and interact with fans.
The iPad app does a nice job of combining the social aspect of SoundCloud with the music discovery and playback features. The app uses a multi-pane interface with a left-side tool bar that has four selectable items. There’s a profile section that lets you see your account information, a track section that lists new music in your stream, a comments section that lists the feedback you’ve received on your tracks and a search section that lets you find new music and new people to follow.
This multi-pane interface makes it easy to view multiple layers of information at one time. You can click on the profile icon which opens a pane containing your account information. You can then click on a link to “Your Likes” which displays the tracks you have favorited in a second pane. A click on one of your favorite tracks opens a third pane that lets you control music playback, share the track on twitter, and more.
A holiday weekend is upon us, and that means there are sales all over the App Store.
Both Sega and Gameloft have already offered up some deals, and here are several more for you to check out on your iPhone or iPad.
- Polarbit’s Reckless Getaway is still free (grab it while it lasts) while the rest of their games are available for just a buck.
- Namco Bandai is supposedly launching a sale, featuring titles like Pac Man and Puzzle Quest 2 discounted by a dollar or two, but I haven’t seen those prices on the App Store yet. It’s possible that the company is waiting for the weekend.
- 2K Games has an ongoing sale featuring Civilization Revolution and Sid Meier’s Pirates for just a buck or two, depending on your platform. Civ Rev is a great game if you haven’t grabbed it yet.
- Pixelmator’s Flapcraft game is on sale for just a buck.
- Legendary Wars HD (which I’ve been enjoying quite a bit) is down to 99 cents.
Since the iPhone 4S was released, several customers have reported sub-optimal battery performance.
Not only in standby time (Apple’s iPhone specs comparison chart notes that the 4S offers 200 hours of standby time, while previous models offered 300), but in daily use as well. The UK’s Guardian newspaper reports that some users have been directly contacted by Apple engineers (!) who are trying to suss out the issue.
Today, Erick Schonfeld reports his experience at Tech Crunch. Despite moderate use during an 8-hour work day — about two-and-a-half hours of Internet and email and roughly 30 minutes of calls — his iPhone’s battery had died. If the iPhone saw hands-on activity for about three hours, according to Erick’s anecdotal observation, it spent about 5 hours sitting idle.
As Erick notes, the phone was “…constantly bleeping with notifications and emails. And that may very well be the problem.” Often a “resting” iPhone is in fact doing something, and it’s possible that very frequent notification alerts can contribute to battery drain. Per the Guardian story, problematic contacts may also be to blame (see Chris Breen story below).
While we wait and see if anything official will come from Apple on this apparently widespread problem, here are a few general tips you can use for preserving battery life on an iOS device. You won’t suddenly run 12-hour days after trying these things out, but every bit helps, right?
Steve Sande and I have been collaborating on “Talking to Siri,” an ebook that just recently hit the Kindle store.
It’s a how-to that will help you get the most done with your Siri intelligent assistant. We’re sharing some of our favorite tips with TUAW readers.
Today, we’re looking at Siri’s Wolfram Alpha integration. You can force Siri to use Wolfram by prefixing your request with “Wolfram.” For example, you might say, “Wolfram, what is the square root of 2?” or “Wolfram, graph x-squared plus three.”
But there’s a lot more that you can do with Wolfram than just math. Here are ten of our favorite Wolfram searches. These highlight the flexibility of this amazing information resource.
- Roll a Random Number. Say “Wolfram, random number.” Wolfram returns a random value between 0 and 1000.
- Look up nature facts. Say, “Wolfram, what is the scientific name of a mountain lion?” It’s Puma concolor. Rabbits are Leporidae, and Peacocks, Galliformes.
- Check upcoming holidays. Say,