Last week, the Guardian reported on growing rumors that not only had Apple dual-sourced their A9 chips for the new iPhone 6s, but that there were potentially significant performance differences between the two versions. They report that some user tests submitted to Reddit and MacRumors had identified as much as a two hour difference in iPhone 6s’ battery life between the two versions of the chip.
BGR referred to the difference in battery performance between the two iPhone 6s chips as “batterygate,” and also subjected the two iPhone 6s chips to various benchmarks and tests. The iPhone 6s A9 chip manufactured by TSMC outperformed the Samsung chip, albeit only slightly, in a range of tests. The rumors of differing performance between the iPhone 6s chips has spawned a series of independent tests from YouTubers seeking to verify the claims after obtaining iPhone 6s units of both types. One test saw the Samsung version of the iPhone 6s chip deplete to 50 percent a full 50 minutes more quickly, as well as running at a higher temperature.
Apple, however, has stood by their iPhone 6s suppliers and the process used to select and monitor the quality of the A9 chips used in the iPhone 6 and 6s, telling TechCrunch that the difference between the iPhone 6s chips was just two to three percent. TechCrunch described this as “far, far too low to be noticeable in real-world usage” of the iPhone 6s.
“With the Apple-designed A9 chip in your iPhone 6s or iPhone 6s Plus, you are getting the most advanced smartphone chip in the world. Every chip we ship meets Apple’s highest standards for providing incredible performance and deliver great battery life, regardless of iPhone 6s capacity, color, or model.
“Certain manufactured lab tests which run the processors with a continuous heavy workload until the battery depletes are not representative of real-world usage, since they spend an unrealistic amount of time at the highest CPU performance state. It’s a misleading way to measure real-world battery life. Our testing and customer data show the actual battery life of the iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus, even taking into account variable component differences, vary within just 2-3% of each other.”
TechCrunch also notes that these kinds of iPhone 6s battery and performance tests, combined with use of “pristine” devices in iPhone 6s reviews is often a flawed process and not reflective of the real-life performance of the iPhone 6s. They go on to speculate that the reason for the split between two chip manufacturers was to allow for them to hit the extra demand for the iPhone 6s created by going “day one” into the China market, and that the successful delivery of the iPhone 6s by Apple marks an improvement over previous releases, which have sold out and experienced delays.
However, it is possible that some users will have usage patterns that more closely resemble the tests carried out on the iPhone 6s. A user who plays games heavily and watches a lot of high-definition video may well put the iPhone 6s under the kind of sustained pressure that caused the Samsung made A9 to run hotter, and deplete its battery more quickly.
The good news is that the iPhone 6s manufacturer, Apple, has a track record of delivering good support to customers through stores, and was willing to replace those faulty laptops. One can only hope that if some users are disproportionately affected by the reduced battery life of their iPhone 6s, they will take the same approach here if customers bring in their iPhone 6s for replacement.
[Image Source: Apple Press Kit]