Ads 468x60px

Phone 5 Costs Roughly $0.41 Per Year to Charge

Energy efficiency company Opower today released a study calculating the annual energy cost for charging the iPhone 5 at just $0.41. While any user's actual cost would vary based on use and electricity rates in their areas, Opower's estimate assumes a full charge once per day at a U.S. average of 11.8 cents per kWh.

But while an individual iPhone 5 uses a minuscule amount of energy, the massive popularity of Apple's devices results in significant energy demand in aggregate.
Even if we consider just the 170 million iPhone 5’s that are projected to be sold globally in the next year, their aggregate electricity requirements are nothing to sneeze at. The collective annual electricity consumption of the iPhone 5’s sold within 12 months will be equivalent to the annual electricity usage of 54,000 US households (roughly equivalent to the size of Cedar Rapids – the second largest city in Iowa). That’s just for one smartphone model over one year.
Still, the study notes that smartphones use significantly less energy than other entertainment devices, and a shift from more traditional entertainment sources to smartphones can result in an overall benefit to energy consumption.

The explosion in smartphone usage is of course just one part of a surge in consumer electronics, which now represent approximately 13% of U.S. household energy usage. That growth, which comes even as the efficiency of appliances and other devices has significantly improved, has been driven by a massive increase in the kinds and numbers of devices being used in homes, from televisions to gaming systems to computers.

Tip: How To Fix Apple iOS 6 Wi-Fi & Bluetooth Connectivity Issues on iPhone or iPad

Usually when you upgrade the software on your devices, you expect them to work better. Unfortunately for some iPhone 4S and iPad users, they’ve been experiencing issues with Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connectivity after downloading iOS 6.

Apple Insider’s Mikey Campbell was tipped off to this when he came across a 91-page thread on Apple’s Support Communities webpage.

Forum members report that after upgrading to iOS 6, both the legacy iPhone 4S and new iPad are experiencing disabled Wi-Fi connectivity that leaves the option to connect “grayed out.” The issue appears to be affecting Bluetooth capabilities as well, with some users claiming their units are unable to pair or even recognize other devices, and show the spinning “search wheel” indefinitely.

Users have reportedly contacted Apple and say the company is aware of the problems. If you are experiencing the same issues, you can try one of the following:

Reset Network Setting and change the HTTP Proxy to “Auto”
Do a hard reset and reinstall of iOS6
Downgrade to iOS 5.1
Take it to your Apple Store Genius Bar (If it’s demonstrating the problems for them to see, you can potentially exchange the problem device for a new one)
Personally, I HAVE noticed issue with connectivity when trying to connect my iPhone 4S to the Bluetooth in my car. I managed to momentarily fix it by manually going into my phone settings and re-calibrating it that way. But, I’ve had to do it every time which is pretty annoying.

Source: Apple Insider
Image Credit: Today’s iPhone

Apple & Google Maps Parted Ways Over Features, Voice, Control

Apple's decision to drop Google Maps in iOS 6 has been met with derision and criticism from many quarters, but a report from AllThingsD claimed that the decision was made because the two companies couldn't agree on certain features, including voice-control directions in iOS. The issue of who controlled what was also a source of rancor between the two companies.

Exploring that more deeply, AllThingsD's sources paint a picture where the goals and priorities of both Apple and Google were directly in conflict.

1.) Apple powered its old iOS Maps app with Google data. Apple controlled the front end, including the branding, while Google controlled the data.

2.) Apple wanted to add voice-controlled turn-by-turn directions to its Maps app, but it needed Google's OK and data to do so. Google had spent years building up the databases that made this possible, and the company was keen on keeping voice-controlled turn-by-turn directions as a flagship feature of Android.

An unnamed source said, “There were a number of issues inflaming negotiations, but voice navigation was the biggest. Ultimately, it was a deal-breaker.”

3.) Much of that mapping data—perhaps most of that data—had been added by iOS users. iOS users represent a much larger percentage of Google's mobile mapping services than Apple's market share.

4.) As John Paczkowski wrote, "[Apple] was now in a position where an arch-rival was calling the shots on functionality important to the iOS maps feature set."

5.) Google wanted branding inside of the Apple Maps app, which Apple declined. Google also wanted more say on which features were offered in the Maps app, which was also declined. Google wanted to add in Google Latitude specifically. Guess what? Apple declined to allow it.

With this backdrop, it's easy to understand that the two companies were effectively at an impasse. Apple wanted things Google wasn't willing to offer, while Google wanted things that Apple wasn't willing to offer. The two companies are bitter rivals in the smartphone market, and with mobile mapping such an important aspect of the smartphone experience, it was only a matter of when, not if, Apple and Google would find themselves at loggerheads.

As long as Google refused to allow voice-controlled turn-by-turn directions, iOS would be at a competitive disadvantage to Android, even though iOS customers were doing the heavy lifting in building up Google's mapping data.

As long as Apple refused to allow Google a say in what features got added to iOS Maps, it wasn't getting everything out of those iOS users that it could. iOS participation in Google Latitude, for example, would be a major boost in the popularity of that Google service. The value of branding inside iOS Maps is also enormous, if hard to quantify.

In the end, there is simply too much value in mobile mapping user data for Apple to allow another company final say in what it can do, or for Google to allow its arch-rival total access to what it has spent so much to build.

The two companies had to go their own way on maps, and what's left to argue about is the timing. Many believe Apple Maps isn't ready for prime time, and it's possible that Apple should have taken the remaining year of its contract with Google to continue to build up its infrastructure before dumping Google Maps from its platform.

The reality, however, is that over time, this will be less of an issue for us, the end-user. Google and Apple going head-to-head over maps will end up giving us a better feature set and a better experience. This will be especially true if Google builds a standalone Google Maps app for iOS and Apple allows it on the App Store.

iPhone 5 battery journal and torture testing

I think the best tests of a battery are real-world ones. Rob Pegoraro tested his iPhone 5 in everyday life and found that it matches up great with competitors. My favorite quote:

"Each figure beats any Android phone I've tested on an LTE signal, although some 3G models have done better."

In other words, the iPhone 5 is a great LTE phone in particular. Pegoraro found he didn't have to charge his phone until into the night, although he's yet to fully test it at a mobile-heavy event like SXSW or CES. I find that when the phone has to strain for signal it drains the battery faster, so we'll have to see how that goes.

Still, the iPhone 5 battery, in such a small space, is a wonder to behold.

iOS Users Are Slightly Less Satisfied With iOS 6

Apple has been criticized pretty heavily with iOS 6. While the limitations of iOS 6′s Maps is the only major complaint, other small issues such as Wi-Fi bugs have popped up, ticking some people off. Surprisingly, however, it seems as if users aren’t too unhappy with iOS 6 when compared to iOS 5. According to TechCrunch, On Device, a research firm, polled 16,000 iPhone users and found that users were only very slightly less satisfied with iOS 6 over iOS 5. However, this still comes as a surprise as iOS has never experienced a user satisfaction drop before.

On Drive’s CEO, Alistair Hill, said the following on the issue:

We have always seen an increase in device satisfaction as consumer upgrade their mobile operating system from one version to another

Above we’ve embedded a chart that shows the difference in user satisfaction between iOS 4, iOS 5 and iOS 6. While the chart doesn’t show much information, it gets the point across. For the most part, the .10 point drop from iOS 5 to 6 happened because of Apple’s less than stellar Maps app.

Source: TechCrunch, TUAW
Image Credit: TUAW