In iPhone 6s battery shock, Apple says you're testing it wrong

Cupertino so rattled that its badly-worded PR spin actually includes a typo

[Developing story: Updated 8:08 am PT with more comment]

Some iPhone 6s units have much better battery life than others. That's the claim made by amateur benchmarkers who compared ones with A9 SoCs made by either Samsung or TSMC.

So, sigh, everyone's calling it "batterygate." Ho hum. 

Anyway, Apple's response boils down to the now-classic, Jobsian line: "You're [something] it wrong." And as for the weirdly worded PR statement... What is this, Zero Wing? Noun/verb agreement FAIL (for great justice).

TSMC's A9 SoC might be 33% better than the Samsung-sourced chip, according to several benchmarks by real users. That doesn't sound like 2–3%. Is it credible that Apple and the users should be an order of magnitude apart?

In IT Blogwatch, all your blog are belong to us. Not to mention: The original...

Your humble blogwatcher curated these bloggy bits for your entertainment.

鲲鹏 are "very, very surprised" (hopefully not lost in translation):

There are two versions of the processors used in the iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus, either made by TSMC or Samsung. ... The comparison between the two processor versions, in terms of battery life, is as follows:

The brightness and volume are adjusted to minimum, and to turn off automatically to reduce the influence of the screen. ... The phones are fully charged to 100% and restarted.

Test 1: Safari Javascript rendering complex animations. ... CPU utilization is running about 60%. After 38 minutes, the Samsung 14nm has 59% charge remaining [but the] TSMC 16nm has 74%.

Test 2: NPlayer LAN RMVB video playback. ... After 106 minutes, the Samsung 14nm has 42% charge remaining [but the] TSMC 16nm has 57%.  MORE

Abdul Dremali access the public:

There's a little drama brewing. ... The A9 processor...were dual sourced from Samsung and a company called TSMC.

Users are conducting tests [with] the conclusion that the TSMC A9 has approximately 2 hours better battery [life].  MORE

And raydizzle add this shizzle:

I happen to have 2 6S Pluses (64GB) on hand with one being a TSMC chip and the other a Samsung. ... I performed GeekBench's battery test for both.

The TSMC chip was able to last for almost 8 hours. ... The Samsung chip was only able to achieve approx. 6 hours. ... Results were consistent. Always about a 2 hour difference.

You'd think the smaller sized chip would be more efficient but the benchmarks don't...reflect that.  MORE

So Eric Slivka tell us which chips is down:

As users began to determine which chips were used in their devices, data began to point toward a 60/40 split in favor of TSMC, although the ratio has shifted toward 50/50.

Benchmarks have suggested there is little if any difference in chip performance [but there's] the possibility of significantly better battery life for models with the TSMC...chip.

Data points remain few at this time and controlling for difficult. ... We asked John Poole [from] Geekbench, for any insight into the dramatic differences...and he noted there have been rumors of TSMC's 16-nanometer process being "superior" to Samsung's 14-nanometer process.  MORE

But Ryan Smith and Joshua Ho gives Apple the benefit of the doubt:

In an atypical move for the normally tight lipped manufacturer, Apple issued a statement. ... Apple normally doesn’t comment on anything like this.

However, this statement is also of interest because it's revealing in terms of what internal data Apple has collected on the issue.

[So] where do we stand? The short answer is that all we know is that we don't know. ... There isn't enough information. ... Due to the natural variation in chip quality, it's possible to end up testing two atypical phones and never know it. [So] I suspect that Apple's statement is not all that far off.  MORE

Meanwhile, Duncan Riley drive the point home:

[You're fired -Ed.]

Apple has surprisingly confirmed reports that the battery life...varies depending on the manufacturer of the A9...but claims that the variance is only very slight.

[But] the fact that even Apple admits there’s a difference between the phones based on who manufactured the A9 chip isn’t a good look for a company that has always prided itself on quality control. [We] predict that Apple will eventually dump Samsung as a chip maker.  MORE

Update: Shaun Nichols explain why this "gate-gate" might be:

Apple has confessed that...handsets using TSMC-built 16nm A9 processors will have a slightly longer battery life than those powered by Samsung-built 14nm A9.

That's right – the chips with the larger transistors...last longer. ... The smaller you go, the more current you leak when the gates aren't doing anything, unless you use mitigating technology like FinFET.

While the difference in battery life may indeed be virtually negligible in the wild, the speculation could also be enough to turn Apple off its two-manufacturer approach. ... Reminder to conspiracy theorists: Samsung's electronics wing makes Android smartphones and tablets that rival Apple's iThings.  MORE

And Finally...
Obviously, it's time to dig out ALL YOUR BASE ARE BELONG TO US again

You have been reading IT Blogwatch by Richi Jennings, who curates the best bloggy bits, finest forums, and weirdest websites… so you don't have to. Catch the key commentary from around the Web every morning. Hatemail may be directed to @RiCHi or  Opinions expressed may not represent those of Computerworld. Ask your doctor before reading. Your mileage may vary. E&OE.

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