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article imageiPhone 6S caught in 'batterygate' complaints

By James Walker     Oct 8, 2015 in Technology
Some owners of the iPhone 6S and iPhone 6S Plus are reportedly experiencing major battery life issues. The culprit appears to be the processor which has been discovered to vary between handsets, giving some devices more stamina than others.
This year, Apple managed to sell 13 million devices in the first weekend of new iPhone availability. That's a vast number of phones to be built on its own but the figure becomes even larger when the sales that have been completed since are considered. No manufacturing line would be able to make so many devices unless production started months before the launch, leading some to consider how Apple pulled the feat off.
It appears the company solved the issue in the only way it feasibly could: dual-sourcing. The Apple A9 processor powering the new phones actually comes in two different variants, built by different manufacturers. Some iPhone 6S units have a Samsung chip at their heart while others have one built by TSMC. This difference seems to have had a pretty major side-effect with owners of Samsung devices apparently experiencing much greater battery drain than those with TSMC chips.
The TSMC version of the Apple A9 has apparently lasted for as much as two hours longer than its Samsung counterpart in some stress tests. Although artificial tests aren't always representative of real-life behaviour, they are indicative of processor efficiency and general power draw. All the evidence suggests that owners of the phones with a Samsung core are likely to see noticeably lower battery life than those with TSMC ones, especially when running high-intensity tasks.
A wide number of reports on forums led to the discovery. Owners can check which processor is inside their phone by downloading a system monitor app capable of displaying the iPhone's actual hardware model number. The iPhone 6S and 6S Plus with Samsung chips are known as N71AP and N66AP respectively. TSMC models have an extra "M" in their name, giving them formal titles of N71MAP and N66MAP.
In short, the 'Apple A9' is actually two different processors with nearly-identical performance but very different power efficiency. Apple may have designed the circuitry but the differing manufacturing techniques used by Samsung and TSMC mean not all iPhones are as alike as they seem.
The 14nm Samsung processor is a little smaller than the 16nm TSMC one but the cause of the extra battery drain isn't really known yet. Apple hasn't responded to the "batterygate" claims that are circulating online but there does seem to be a pretty large deviation between the Samsung and TSMC processors in otherwise-identical phones.
More about Apple, iPhone, iphone 6s, Smartphone, Handset
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