From Nadir to Zenith
Why portable energy is complicated
Mobile computer engineering and design is a tough business. There are many different factors that go into creating a good product in the scope of mobile technology. Factors such as form factor, or the size of the device, computing speed, native and cloud based data storage, sensors, radios…the list is long and continues to grow as the state of technology continues to progress in capability while shrinking in physical size.
While each OEM designs their products around the current demands of the market, a strategic vision needs to be applied to the roadmap that defines where that product line will be in the future. Sometimes 2 or even 3 years ahead. Forecasting electronics technology capabilities and limitations has its own slew of factors: diminishing materials, environmental restrictions, unforeseen health risks, disruptive discovery and invention and obsolescence. These are only a few of the factors that are taken into consideration by design engineers when making strategic decisions that will steer the consumer conviction either toward, or away from product acceptability.
Because it is easier to make something bigger so you can stuff it with more things that create the perception of, ‘better’, than it is to make what you have more efficient, people have become accustomed to the progression in advancement of technology in terms of, “bigger, more, faster, sooner.” To make things even more complicated, because the technology space is chock-full of acronyms and terminology that are second only to the US Navy in the context of confusion, the tech journalists who have taken the responsibility of translating these metrics to the layman don’t always get it right, even when they are actually more interested in educating their readers than they are writing things like, “This is the one reason why you should never buy X.” Or, “10 things X can do that Y will never do.” And if no one actually sets out to vet the reporting, everyone ends up believing something that is innacurate. I witnessed recent example of this when someone polled her Facebook friends on iOS vs. Android. One respondent chimed in with, “I dont like iOS because you have to connect your phone to iTunes to download your music.”, something that hasn’t been in play since iOS 5.
iPhone 7 charge time
I came across an article from a tech news outlet that constructed an argument that the iPhone 7 was not a smart purchase because of how long it takes to charge from a dead battery state. The writers opinion was based on an article written by another news outlet that sourced a chart depicting a racked-and-stacked list of devices and their battery charge times. The charge times ranged from 1.5 hours at the top of the list which was described as, ‘amazing’, to 2+ hours. The iPhone 7 was rated at 2 hours, and was described as, ‘terrible’.
30 minutes meant the difference between amazing and terrible. Try to discard the obvious fact that no one waits for an electronic device to fully charge to 100% from 0% just so they can use it. Try also not to realize, that the iPhone 7 will power up and boot from a dead battery condition to a usable state in less than 15 seconds.
I’m not here to try make excuses for Apple and their reasons for the current state of the iPhone 7 charging circuit. Because it doesn’t really matter how long it takes an iPhone to charge from 0 to 100, it will still be too long.
How about we just find out how long is too long, shall we?
I ran 2 tests, and came out with just about the same result. About a 3 minute delta in total time to complete a 100% charge from a dead cell condition. Here are the results, and you can make an informed decision based on them.
Also published on Medium.