Bigger, Better, Bendier Batteries for the iPad 3, iPhone 5

battery patent for ipad 3 and iphone 5The prospect of a thinner iPhone 5 combined with LTE has made little sense for the iPhone 5, given its battery needs. But a new patent reveals that Apple may have developed a thinner, shapeable, and more powerful battery pack that could vastly improve the battery life of the upcoming iPad 3 and iPhone 5.

If all of the prominent iPhone 5 rumors come true, the 2012 iPhone 5 will no doubt live up to the landmark expectations set for it. A bigger screen, LTE, A6 processor, and thinner form factor — all of these would contribute to a new vision for the iPhone that could set a new mark for smartphone technology. Its inclusion of LTE alone could establish LTE as the new standard, as we argued in yesterday’s post.

But we’ve also made the point here on the Blog that a thinner form factor would not seem to jive with the rest of the prevailing iPhone 5 rumors. I wrote a piece about back on December 13, 2011 about how the battery issue would prohibit Apple from making the iPhone 5 thinner, unless they managed a new battery design. Then, on December 30th, we reported on the start of a fresh rumor that Cupertino had a new battery design in the works.

Today, we finally have a report that would make battery life and thinness a dual reality for the iPhone 5.

iDownloadBlog is reporting — thanks to the great work of Patently Apple, as usual — that Apple has a new patent that would allow for a thinner, shapeable battery pack that could be shaped around other components inside the device: “The patent itself allows for batteries to be made up of electrode sheets of varying dimensions. These sheets can then be arranged in a variety of shapes such as pyramids or L-shapes rather than the conventional rectangles. . . By changing the size and shape of battery cells Apple could potentially increase the amount of power held within the same area, making it possible for iOS devices and MacBooks to pack higher capacity batteries without the extra size and weight.”

If you recall, Apple did something similar early on with the iMac by embedding the AirPort antenna around the screen. They could use a similar approach on the iPad 3 and iPhone 5 with the battery.

This kind of innovation is exactly what Apple will need to achieve in order to bring a thin form factor to the LTE-powered iPhone 5. I’ve argued before that the rechargeable battery is the unsung hero of all successful mobile devices. I’ve also argued that the anemic battery life on the iPhone 4S makes it a somewhat problematic iPhone iteration. With a thinner yet powerful battery on the iPhone 5, we might finally get the dream iPhone we’ve all been waiting for.

By Michael Nace

www.appleiphoneapps.net


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