The iPhone 4's launch was marred by signal loss issues when the handset was held a certain way, and now it seems poor battery life is threatening to have a similar effect on the iPhone 4S' early days on the market.
And while it's probably too early to call it a “gate” – as in “antennagate” – it's nonetheless enough of a headache that Apple engineers are getting in touch with affected handset owners directly to help resolve the issue.
According to the official data specs for the iPhone 4S, the fifth generation iPhone boasts battery life as good as or better than its predecessors, with the exception of standby time, which is quoted at 200 hours, down from the iPhone 4's 300 hours and lower than any other previous iPhone too, for that matter.
But Apple forums have been flooded by complaints from iPhone 4S users experiencing nothing like the advertised battery life, and the problem has reached the stage where Apple's engineers have stepped in to try and figure out the cause, asking affected users to install a diagnostics file that may shed some light on the subject.
“My battery life was extremely poor – 10% drop in standby every hour,” one affected user told the Guardian. “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.
“I then got a call from a senior [Apple] engineer who said he had read my post and was 'reaching out' to users for data and admitted this was an issue (and that they aren't close to finding a fix!) and asked lots of questions about my usage and then asked if he could install the file below and that he would call back the day after to retrieve the info. I extracted the file from my Mac after a sync and emailed it to him.”
Suggestions are that corrupted MobileMe/iCloud contacts are to blame, while some point the finger of blame in Siri's direction. Several users claim that deleting and then reinstalling contacts fixes the issue, while other say backing up and restoring the entire device is the cure.
But with Apple's own engineer admitting the company doesn't have any idea what is behind the glitch as yet, we'd advise taking any such theories with a pinch of salt at this stage.