Spare Batteries

Yesterday at Austin City Limits, I went through two batteries on my Android phone. By midnight, on our way home from a late dinner, the second battery died and the phone shut off. But at least I got a long day of heavy use out of my phone. And that was possible becuase I left the hotel with a fully charged phone and a fully charged spare battery.

Of all the limitations imposed by the iPhone, the inability to take out the battery is the one that mystifies me the most. I understand most of the other choices Apple has made even though I don't personally agree with them.

But to this day, I don't understand how anyone can use a phone that doesn't allow for the use of a spare battery. When a phone is dead, you can't be reached. And with all of the heavy data usage on a smartphone, the battery takes a pretty heavy toll. It seems to me that any credible smartphone in this day and age ought to allow for a spare battery. And yet the iconic smartphone, the one that every other smartphone looks up to, does not.



Comments (Archived):

  1. Pascal-Emmanuel Gobry

    It’s because of industrial design. Allowing to change batteries means having a latch that one can open, with small fragile parts, a magnet for gunk, etc. Also means the battery can’t be as snugly fit into the rest of the guts of the phone, so it would have to be (much) larger and/or have less features.Design is tradeoffs.PS I’m writing this on an iPhone in a train with no functioning electrical outlets, and a half-drained battery. I feel your pain, Fred.

    1. Peter P

      Agreed – and the external battery packs available for the iphones are a ‘good enough’ solution for me. I’d guess that the majority of iphone users don’t go through a full charge in a day making the tradeoffs for not having a user-swappable battery more than acceptable.

      1. rosshill

        That’s exactly why you have battery accessories you can plug into the phone. It’s not a core feature of the phone. My lasts plenty, as long as I charge it each night while I sleep.

      2. Pascal-Emmanuel Gobry

        Yep. W the increased battery life of the iPhone 4 and a charger at work, battery life’s no longer a problem for me.PEG

    2. stevekiesling

      I agree that there are tradeoffs to the design element. But I also imagine a company as innovative as Apple should be able to find a compromise between the two needs. Essentially we have been given a gas guzzling sports car with a small gas tank.If anything, it would help Apple break into the enterprise market, where the typical user is more like Fred.

      1. Pascal-Emmanuel Gobry

        Apple doesn’t want to break into the enterprise market. And if you haven’t noticed, Apple isn’t exactly about being all things to all people…PEG

        1. CJ

          Tell that last sentence to everyone who will mindlessly defend it to the death as the best phone ever.

        2. PhilipSugar

          Exactly right.You know it even goes down to the really small things.For example is really easy to setup a Mac where you don’t have to type a password.Enterprise would go crazy about this. My eighty year old father goes crazy having to type in a password each time.

        3. ShanaC

          They’re growing in enterprise markets. My old college got ATT&T as their mobile provider. A number of low level administrators got Iphones because it worked out to be cheaper on the plan.

    3. ShanaC

      Why can’t they apply the same industrial design techniques as self charging watches though? You know the gyroscopic motion providing power over time to the battery?

      1. Pascal-Emmanuel Gobry

        Ha! I’m not sure if/how that would work. But maybe that merits an email to sjobs? ;)PEG

        1. ShanaC

          … very funny …I just know that’s how expensive watches can be powered. So why not phones?

  2. Michael R. Bernstein

    As far as I can tell, Jobs considers ‘no user serviceable parts inside’ as an ideal to strive for, rather than a trade-off imposed by constraints.

  3. Elia Freedman

    Every device has trade-offs. This is one we are willing to accept on the iPhone.For the record, I haven’t even come close to wearing out the battery in a day on the iPhone 4.

    1. fredwilson

      my son has lost the battery on his iPhone both days so far

      1. William Mougayar

        Was it a 4? I’m quite pleased with the battery life on my iPhone4, much better than the previous models.Honestly, the battery life has never been a problem for me, as I’m always connected somehow somewhere. I also have a cigarette lighter recharger that I plug into when in the car as needed. The device that JLM suggested is also an alternative. I know someone else who has it, and if it’s the same one, it also functions as a flip-up stand.The problem with the battery door is that if you drop it, the battery will go flying. I used to have that on the BB a few times…Hey JLM – I like the fact that you have an iPhone 4 too…:)

        1. JLM

          I love my iPhone though it does seem to drop a lot of calls. A few less w/ an earpiece for some reason. I use the GPS feature all the time. It is invaluable when wandering around NYC on foot.I also — sniff, sniff — have an iPad.I use my iPad to read books and I love the ability to store the books.I have every aviation app you can possibly buy. They are really something though I would be extremely cautious of using them in the air just now because of the distraction they present.I freely admit to being a gadgeteer though I am surely in the second wave of innovation.My latest toy is a 4 processor computer w/ three screens. I almost have to buy and sell something just to justify turning it on.

          1. William Mougayar

            It is dropping a very small number of calls even in Canada where Apple says the issue isn’t as prevalent. I didn’t notice less drops with ear piece but I will take note. iPad is part of the furniture too; it has replaced the coffee table books in terms of usage.

          2. JLM

            It is amazing the things we allow to infiltrate our lives and become essential. I dig it.

    2. Elie Seidman

      I easily run down an iPhone 4 battery in 8 hours. easily.

  4. JLM

    Fred, how about that Austin weather? Hope you’re having a bang up time in Austin.There is a little gizmo I bought for my iPhone4. I THINK it is called the “Mili PowerSpring 4” and it purports to be a 2-4x multiplier of the iPhone’s battery life. It uses up the phone’s battery and then kicks in.It plugs into the iPhone’s charging port at the bottom of the phone and wraps around its entire body.You can apparently carry as many of these gizmos as you desire and they can be changed in the field thereby theoretically providing unlimited power. I have never done this but was told by the company it could be done and my kids have done it.They can also be recharged absent the phone itself. So you could have a couple of them charging all the time.I had 2 of them but one of my children (or a burglar — their theory) has appropriated one.I have never been able to run the damn thing out of juice.

    1. William Mougayar

      I’m with you. Another known trick is to turn off the wireless stuff when not needed, i.e. bluetooth and Wi-Fi and it extends the battery life. Fred- Does your Android phone have a % battery indicator? That’s so useful on the iPhone 4. Dunno how we lived without it b4.

    2. Elie Seidman

      thanks – I’m going to order one.

      1. Dale Allyn

        Their site shows that they are upgrading the battery in the Mili PowerSpring 4 to 2000mAh soon. They are offering a $30 discount through midnight tonight (10/10/2010) for the 1600mAh version. Not sure how the net cost compares to those available through Amazon and elsewhere, but thought I’d mention it so that folks would know about the impending upgrade, etc.(no affiliation to the company in any way, just mentioning it since the thread has provided so many options for aux. power)

        1. Jonathan Lambert

          I added the same comment on the same device above, before reading your comment (whoops).It’s definitely a winning product. I only wish the case didn’t leave the screen exposed that fraction of a mm above the pack. 🙂

    3. fredwilson

      Had a wonderful visit to austinNext time I will visit youI promise

  5. William Mougayar

    Here’s a story on this. I was once in a restaurant and was running out of battery, so I asked if they could re-charge it for me for a few minutes to keep it going for the evening. The staff loved it, I went to the kitchen and plugged it there, and they were all saying “He wants to re-charge his iphone” as if it was a big emergency event.I think restaurants should have recharging stations….like airports do, with various chargers…You can imagine…”and you’d like your steak medium, with your iphone charged up on 30%, OK!”

    1. Matt A. Myers

      I suggested to Ryan Carson at FOWA to have cellphone charging stations – not sure if he started doing this at his conferences though.Re: Restaurants – It’d definitely be a nice simple highly appreciated added-value customer service thing.

    2. ShanaC

      problem- I want to walk away- do you know how many lost and stolen iphones would show up. Its worrying about how to lock it while its charging

      1. William Mougayar

        Good point about trusting issue. Of course I wouldn’t do it anywhere.

        1. ShanaC

          A friend of mine and I were talking about it a long time ago in the context of blackberries and nightclubs. Where you need them, but not always in your hand. And charging them seems like an awesome thing to do.Without locked stations, it would be easier, but you would still risk theft

  6. LIAD

    iphone batteries aren’t fit for purpose.Find myself subconsciously rationing my usage because I’ve been let down by it so many times in the past. Far from encouraging engagement with their device they actually penalise it.Farcical situation.

    1. Matt A. Myers

      But it makes you think about it more regularly… 🙂 Not that I like that, but it still makes you think about it more.I ration my iPhone use too sometimes – kind of a silly thing.

      1. William Mougayar

        Just like we think about putting gas in the car. It’s an inconvenience to stop and do it…but we do. Wait til electric cars become the norm, then charging them won’t be as easy as a 3 min gas-up, although I heard there will be stations where they swap your battery.

        1. Matt A. Myers

          Yup. In Toronto they’re putting 100,000 electric cars on the road by 2020 (or sooner?) with strategically placed stations which automatically replace the battery in the car, swapping it with a fully charged one. I think it takes 3 minutes or less? The company doing it set up a recurring revenue model where they’re the exclusive providers of the batteries. There are articles on it somewhere on the interweb…

    2. fredwilson

      You said it better than I did Liad

  7. ErikSchwartz

    I’ve been saying for years that the person who solves the battery problem (weight, capacity, heat, cycles, time to recharge) becomes the richest person in America.

    1. Matt A. Myers

      Just wait a few years. There are some materials being developed that will allow pretty much everything made to be revolutionized; I just hope these materials get on some sort of an open-platform so the use doesn’t get stunted dramatically by patents, etc..

  8. christopolis

    To the “everything has trade offs” crowd. What are they? The Iphone battery can’t be removed but it can do what compared with android phones?AndroidOS is going through the roof because they do not have weird policies based on ill conceived assumptions. It feels exactly like a repeat of the 1980’s commodore=RIM Apple=Apple Microsoft=Android.

  9. Dudu Mimran

    Someone should invent a charger that charges the internal battery from an external one, this will save also the replacement process and will open up the market for low cost batteries.UPDATE: I see it already exists, so what about a plug that moves energy from phone to another? energy sharing:)

    1. Dale Allyn

      One option:http://www.griffintechnolog…I believe there are others, in addition to the Kensington mentioned by Rich.

  10. RichardF

    I’m no Apple fanboi but the fact is there is no better smart phone out there by a country mile, that’s why I can use the iPhone instead of all the pretenders to the throne. Battery life is a problem for all smart phones. You just need to buy Josh the power pack that JLM is talking about. I have something similar, solves the problem.

  11. rich caccappolo

    Agreed that it is a serious problem – so serious that I found a workaround – a product by Kensington called the Mini Battery Pack and Charger… – it has been out for a couple years and costs $40. Ironically, I charge this iphone charger using the USB cord for my blackberry…

  12. Shyam Subramanyan

    It’s frustrating when the phone runs out of juice when you really need it, but I have learned to ration the usage – not voice, but the web. It forces me to focus on people/things around me for a change. I wish there was a quick way for turning off all Internet access except the 15 minute email pulls.

    1. CJ

      My solution would simply be to carry two spare batteries.

    2. fredwilson

      That’s suboptimal

  13. lazerow

    Best option: iPhone and Blackberry. Blackberry has spares. iPhone is the iPhone. Pls tell me that you saw Phish while you were there.

    1. fredwilson

      I did not see PhishI saw The StrokesI a NY punk rock kind of guyI’ve never seen or listened to Phish that I know ofI feel the same way about the iPhone

  14. deepeshbanerji

    although not having a battery sucks, you can buy a mobile battery extender that can charge your phone without a plug point

  15. Tereza

    I call my iPhone my “brain” and when it powers down my productivity grinds to a halt.As I’m typing this I just got the Low Battery alert. How convenient.As a commuter into NYC without an office, even with an extra power pack, I’m constantly squatting for power outlets an have been known to sneak into bathrooms for a quick boost. I am addict.Charlie’s suggestions are good but I fear with 60 minutes train commute in each direction, if the Starbucks or cafe doesn’t have an accessible outlet I am screwed.The ability to recharge has become a differentiator at coffeeshops.There should not be a coffeeshop or restaurant that does not offer a charging station. Like a coat check.Many tech conferences are smart about this. Lots of others haven’t figured it out yet though. For example at Fashion Week at the big Barney’s event, the place was a cellular impenetrable fortress that drained down batteries while not offering a single outlet. THE HORROR! Net result I missed a text providing timing and coordinates to meet Kim Kardashian. Like her or hate her, I do hear she is worth seeing in the flesh.Under such circumstances that dead battery should be a punishable offense.Alhough while we’re at it, could we please discuss embarrassing typos forced by the Apple dictionary?

    1. RichardF

      I agree meeting Kim Kardashian is a punishable offence 😉

      1. Tereza

        Well then thankfully I got off scot free!….written from my iPhone at home…no signal, but fully charged!

    2. Matt A. Myers

      What’s life without hippos?

      1. Tereza

        Matt I think you’re mixing her up with her sister Khloe.Or….was that….Kourtney?

    3. JLM

      As you know, I happened to be in NYC the week of Fashion’s Night Out and I ran into KK right in front of Bergdorf’s. I told my wife and daughter and I was very cool for about 7.5 seconds. She looks, well……………pneumatic. Not my cup of tea. But then I did not win the Heisman either.

      1. Tereza

        You mean they’re not real? LOL

    4. ShanaC

      Some MTA trains have outlets, at least the ones on the LIRR does

      1. Tereza

        Accessing one of the two outlets in a Metro-North car is a full-contact sport.Sometimes, I win!

        1. ShanaC

          I know I know. I find it in some ways bizarre that the MTA is thinking that they are going to offer WIFI on the LIRR and perhaps Metro-North (are they doing Metro-North? I never take it…) and expand phone service in the subway tunnels if they can’t think that they need to further electrify the cars with outlets….

    5. JLM

      New Trent IMP880 8900mAh External Battery PackBy complete oddity, I just happened to bump into a friend at a coffee shop and he had one of these. This is the answer to your problem.It apparently is widely available but relatively unknown.An interesting observation about your willingness to buy a commodity (coffee shop) based upon its readily available services — the “clean” rest rooms theory of life. Actionable.

    6. fredwilson

      Case in pointWell done Tereza!!!

  16. Mgjolley

    Initially it surprised me how many people carry spare cell phone batteries. But then I realized there are a lot hard working road warriors that are constantly on their phone. Here’s a link that makes it easy to find a spare battery for your cell phone if you need one. You can choose between a recycled OEM battery, a brand new, or an aftermarket -…

  17. Antonio Tedesco

    In the developing world where many people do not even have electricity, they hike to the nearest town and charge their mobile phone. Not only do you lose a day’s wage but there are hefty fees. People spend a significant portion of their income on charging their phone. Solar phones and solar powered lanterns with phone charging functionality are aiming to solve this problem.I saw a start up company called One Degree Solar at Good Company Ventures talking about this issue.Regarding iPhone, I’m more bothered by the closed platform.

  18. antoniu

    Perhaps I’m just not that heavy of a user, but I’ve never had my iPhone die on me due to one day’s worth of use if it was charged to 100% in the morning.

    1. John Frankel


  19. Graham

    Fred,Kinetic and other rechargers (MiLi Powerspring 4, M2E Power) can help alleviate the situation as can the power reducing suggestions probably listed among these comments. Nevertheless, this situation is not going away and will only become exacerbated as smart phones become more powerful and interconnected in our lives. Battery technologies thus far have not followed Moore’s law and size and weight restrictions are going to be with us until some technologic breakthrough comes along.I find it particularly unpleasant that the useful life declines dramatically with recharges so that 12 to 18 months is about all one gets these days before many batteries become effectively useless.

  20. Bill Houle

    What is strange to me is the constant need for people to point out shortcomings of XYZ and use their selection of ABC as some far-sighted decision-making superiority. I heeded all the iPhone battery warnings and armed myself with an array of charging options – none of which I have had to use. I’m perfectly fine with USB charging and a wall or car charger as the need dictates. I can’t really say I have “learned to adapt” as others claim, since I don’t cripple WiFi or Bluetooth during my daily usage. But I manage to manage just the same. I am extremely happy with my iPhone without removable battery, even more so with the iPhone4. I’m glad you like your Droid.90% of users would be perfectly happy with *any* smartphone. The other 10% probably have very personal reasons why one is better for them than another. There is no wrong choice. It’s not a debate of good vs evil. It is simply consumer preference that does not need to be over-analyzed.

  21. Elie Seidman

    It would not be as beautiful if you could remove the battery… There are benefits to design by Steve but there are also problems – this is one of the big ones. The lack of a power switch on the Apple TV is ridiculous. It used to crash all the time and the only way to fix it was to pull out the power plug which is on the back of the device and inaccessible if you have the AppleTV buried on a shelf full of other electronic/TV gear. Religion has significant problems – design religion is no exception.I’m now travelling on a day trip with a Blackberry Torch (best blackberry ever) and an iPhone. I forgot the charger for the iPhone but have an extra battery for the Torch. I’ve had to put the iPhone into airplane mode so it won’t die before I get back home. Silly.

  22. zubinwadia

    I was a participant @ the Web 2.0 start-up showcase and it was pretty funny watching you ask the Glympse founder if the app did background location and if it sucked down the battery…Founder: “yep, it can monitor location every 7 seconds and yep it would eat the battery pretty quick.” FredWilson: *slips Android out* *Kills Glympse* Just found that casual observation amusing because:a) it shows you multi-task atleast as well as your iPhoneb) battery life is clearly a concern for youCheers,Zubin WadiaFounderCiviGuard, Inc.

    1. fredwilson

      You are very observant. That will serve you well. Nice comment!!

  23. John Frankel

    Amazingly, I have never had a battery issue with the iPhone. I do not know why; but perhaps having a charger in the car and at home and at work help. The charger itself is so small that I can carry it easily if I need to charge.Everything in tech is a tradeoff and I think Apple called it right here. Apple has from the getgo worried about battery life and applications and processes that drain it – remember the arguments about Flash and multi-tasking. They make these decisions so that the phone can actually last a day without dying for me. Perhaps the issue is that you are using an Android phone that drains its battery faster. If I needed more juice there are charger cases and external battery packs. I used to carry one, but never used it.The iPhone is about optimal compromise not having everything for everyone. That being said it seems to be quite popular despite there being only one design release a year on one inadequate carrier.

    1. CJ

      I never have an issue with my Android phone either when I’m at home and have access to a charger at home, at the office and in the car(when I’m driving). However, if I’m traveling and I use my phone in the airport, on the plane, when I land, meetings before checking into the hotel that night, all without a charger, I can see how I’d need a second battery.Secondly, Android is about not having to compromise. Spare battery? Check. Flash? Check. Multi-Tasking? Check. Carrier other than AT&T? Check. Unsigned Apps? Check. I could go on but Android’s answer to Apple is: Why Compromise? You can have beauty, functionality and variety. Why sacrifice? Not gonna fight the phone wars here though, but I don’t agree with your reasoning or Apple’s behind why they restrict so much and how that somehow makes the phone better.

  24. niallsmart

    I carry one of these portable power packs anytime a regular charge won’t get me through the day, highly recommended:…I have no affiliation to this company other than being a satisfied customer.

  25. Hop

    Thats a very small use case – vast majority of users have access to a wall or car power source within the 24hr or so it will last. Not having a solid back is a big sacrifice for the small % of people that would ever swap their battery.The iPhone lasts longer than any android phone.Get a Morphie juice pack or other charging device.I am very glad your mindset did not influence the iPhones great design.

  26. awilensky

    The Captivate is no stellar batt life either – its rear case is as pretty as the solid back of the iPhone.I am not completely pleased that I went from a Blackjack, a hard grippy phone with a crap keyboard and tiny screen and oh-so-woeful OS (Winmo) to a smooth, slippery Android Computer. Also, a societal observation:We went from a society of people more or less connected to our environment, then came the walkman that changed the game, the headphones, became the earbuds, became the glass front phone that people massage with their horny little hands for any 2 second period they are idle. Now we see (me too) people to hold their hand as if to say “wait a minute”, even if the paramedic wants to attach paddles to save your life, but you gotta check your glass machine.One gal was near the caltrain high speed track in Burlingame, and was on high heels, and earbuds, oblivious, do a wee little two-step – not really dancing. But she was not aware how close to the tracks and how loud that horn was, and how close she was to death. I grabbed her by the shoulder bag strap, bad move, as the baby bullet express train passed within a foot of us, and she tumbled into me instead of the tracks, she ripped out the buds, and with the noise of the receding train still very loud, cursed me in a every tongue she knew and a few she learned on the spot, :*(&^%$^&*(pig fuck – bastard molester). I didn’t even try to explain.So you phone can’t last as long as your day…..spare or a nuclear fuel cell in your pocket, as you rub the glass of your sterile phone with your sterile hands, made sterile from RF and Alpha waves. Pulled into TV’s at night, pulled into phones for work and play, posting location so your local burglar home invader can properly schedule your denouement as a proper digital citizen – where we come home to find yet another teen cyber harassed into suicide, where they post to twitter before the hopeless act.Spare batteries indeed.

  27. Mark Essel

    There are external batteries cases and even a solar recharger. my solution was to turn off 3G and rely on wifi. That seems a lower battery drain, and an external wireless node can fulfill wireless networking when I’m out of wifi. Optimum, xfinity and time Warner have pretty nice coverage with interesting holes. At a remote apple picking orchard in northern jersey mountains I had strong wifi. while walking near home it goes in and out as I move between routers.I hope the convergence of wifi and wireless solves the commoditization of bits issue. I’m voting with my wallet.

  28. Guillermo Ramos

    There are some trade offs that should only be decided by the user and one of them is the battery. Why someone else has to decide that I am not able to change my battery in my phone?I think Fred is not only against the battery issue, but the “closed” concept of Apple products. The user should be free to be right or wrong, and not having a “big brother” pulling the strings on what is good or bad for me.

    1. fredwilson

      You are correct my friend

  29. the_omega_man

    That is why I will always buy a phone with user replaceable batteries, and I always buy a spare battery when I buy a new phone! I have been there and done that, with running out of power in a pinch situation!

  30. Monty Dickerson

    I watched a vid by an Apple hardware engineer explaining how removing the modularity of the battery made the device sufficiently less expensive, less heavy, and allowed for more volume for longer battery life, that they felt the tradeoff was justified. If the iPhone had less battlife, cost more, and weighed more, how would it differentiate from HTC or Motorola phones?But 2nd (external) batteries for the iPhone/iTouch/iPad are available in the accessory after-market, so that if your device runs out of power you can “charge” it without AC and even continue use.

    1. Kirill Zubovsky

      But can you charge it with VC power?

  31. Michaelejahn

    Spend more time talking in person. Text more. Stop watching silly You Tube videos and playing games. Get to the point and stop yabberin’ so long.Thats what I tell my children anyway.

  32. vruz

    That’s an easy one: Form over function. The Apple way.

  33. Someguy

    Most of the people who use the iPhone are not power-hungry VCs. (Take that anyway you want ;-).

  34. Dave Pinsen

    You know someone has built a high-traffic blog and an engaged community when a post on spare batteries gets 61+ comments.

    1. Dale Allyn

      Haha, that’s what I was thinking, Dave. Now up to 76 as of this writing. Perhaps Fred is secretly testing his “pull”. ;-)Kidding aside, AVC has a nice group of people who obviously enjoy interacting.

    2. fredwilson

      That made me smile dave

  35. Jonathan Lambert

    Well, I’m an agnostic in the debate around phone platforms, but I agree whole heartedly with your post.I use an iPhone (though I have an android as my company is developing software for both) for my primary phone. I found the MiLi battery pack basically just made the phone into a brick, but the battery lasts 1 day of intense use, and 2 days of casual (you know, so called “heavy” business calling). I bought mine through http://www.anappleonlinesto…, who was considerably above and beyond on their customer service (no relation, just impressed).I have to say, I’ve been considerably pleased with the product, and the support I got from the manufacturer (who wrote me directly through their retail outlet from China and helped when I had issues).Still, not having an interchangeable battery pack? Insanity. It basically says “consumer toy” to me, instead of “business tool.” But at this point, I don’t really think either platform is ready to be a serious business tool like the blackberry, though for non-corporate use, I think Android is closer.

  36. Paras

    Fred, Aren’t you using BB Bold 9700 ?

    1. fredwilson

      NopeFinally rid myself of that addiction this summerIt took me almost three years from my first attempt

  37. Tobias Bray

    How does BMW think about customer experice? A customer with a non-functional car has a real problem. While Apple creates an industry-leading user experience. It is a media company with falling computer sales and rising mobile device sales. Beautiful yes. But I believe this is just like Ford sealing engines so that only Ford dealers can change the oil. Think past the hype and follow the reoccurring revenue stream. Typed on an iPad 🙂

    1. Dave Pinsen

      “How does BMW think about customer experice? A customer with a non-functional car has a real problem.”Related to this, I jump-started a neighbor’s BMW a while back. I was going to help him push the car away from the wall in our building’s garage, so the jumper cables from my car’s battery could reach his, and then he showed me that his car’s battery was in its trunk. That design choice makes it easier to jump start a parked car.

      1. Aaron

        BMW puts the car’s battery in the trunk for weight/performance purposes actually. It helps achieve a 50/50 weight balance. Especially useful in a front engine, rear wheel drive car.

        1. Dave Pinsen

          Interesting, thanks.

  38. David Bloom

    My Motorola Droid sucks battery like crazy. I think the main culprits are all the apps that magically run in the background. I’ve played with the settings and hit my Task Killer app to no end but somehow they rise from the dead and drink my juice. Is this an OS issue? Hardware issue? Do I blame Google?

  39. jonsteinberg

    Mophie juicepacks. Had one on my 3GS and now have one on my 4. Adds a little width but liveable

  40. Kirill Zubovsky

    It’s not really all that complicated to carry a small apple cord with you and charge your phone in a rare occasion that it goes out. Apple didn’t design the phone to go camping. The phones were designed for a certain lifestyle, where a typical travel pattern might be home > train > office > train > home > nightclub … or something along those lines. In those cases, recharging the phone is not a big deal. The only reason you want to swap the battery is because back in the old day it was possible, but possible doesn’t mean required or useful. No offence.

  41. sotek

    I always carry a charger with my iPhone wherever I go.

  42. mattb2518

    It’s a pain in the ass and $80, but this doubles iPhone battery life, and I’ve never needed more than a full charge on both this and the phone to get through even the most power-user day.

  43. Justin Herrick

    idk I would be more upset that my phone went through two whole batteries before you even went back to the hotel that evening. My android phone sucks battery like there is no tomorrow.

  44. Arthur Welf

    I think it because of positioning of devices by Apple. Apple wants you use iPhone for calls including Skype, quick look into the e-mail, Facebook, for ToDo apps and LBS apps. For other tasks Apple wants you use iPad – e-mail writing, web browsing, book readings, tasks assigning in ToDo apps etc.

  45. sachxn

    That why it is an “iconic smartphone”…

  46. rvijapurapu

    I’ve had the same issue, both Android and iPhone never lasted long enough for me – spare battery or not.I started using a small Nokia all I use it for is to receive calls / SMS and for everything else I got a Android / iPod Touch handy.

  47. Navneet Taori

    Companies focus so much on industrial design, user software experience, etc. Hope they do think about improving battery life. Haven’t seen a quantum leap in innovation here.

  48. Senith @ MBA tutor

    Great solutions. I find many other things apple does annoying when many of their products are truly awesome. Lets not start with the ipad too.

  49. Digikist

    I use my iPhone quite enough but am always cognizant of keeping it charged. Some say that overcharging the battery will decrease its useful life but I tend to keep it plugged in when I can. However, there are the days like Fred has encountered yesterday when that is not possible. For me, I carry around extra charges that act like extra batteries. They don’t likely carry as much of a charge as an actual battery but its easy enough to carry around a couple of them, they act like new batteries and are just as convenient.

  50. Mark

    I agree, it is strange. I like my iPhone, but the battery life makes me feel likes it’s water in the desert. It often changes (reduces) my phone use late in the day. Why not a solar panel on the back?

  51. Lisa Mogull

    Agreed. Makes me nuts with all Apple products that they don’t trust consumers enough to allow us to change our own batteries. Was thinking about that this morning how if I run a marathon I will need to bring two iPods since I can’t run without music.

  52. Rick Wingender

    The absence of battery-removal capability doesn’t surprise me. This is one more example of Steve Job’s idea of the Ultimate User Experience (UUE): “It’s a good user experience, as long as I, Steve Jobs, like it, and you will like it too because I SAY SO”.Fred, perhaps Steve is afraid you’ll make illegal copies that you can play in your other iDevice at home.

  53. Todd Hamilton

    For my Droid I rely on Energizer Xpal external battery packs. You can charge your droid (with the right cable) and anything else that charges via USB. I was going to go the spare route, but didn’t want the downtime to pull the battery. When I do a conference I bring two extra packs and have yet to need more than just 1 to get through the day. Plus, when I have an extra I can help out all those poor iPhone folks who run out around me 🙂

  54. Mikesatex

    ACL was great this year. Still AT&T service was horrible, Sprint was a little better. I carried a Morpie external battery-pack for my iPhone 4 and it worked like a charm. Check it out! You can even use it as a flashlight, which came in handy at ACL!!

  55. kb

    I kind to think it is a well thought comprise between design, size, weight, and other factors. I feel the same pain as all iPhone users.Having said all that, I paid Apple another $50+ to purchase 2 more chargers (one car charger and one wall charger). The car charger is always in my car, and I carry my 2nd wall charger with me always so I almost never run out of battery any more…kb

  56. Tereza

    Holy grilled cheesus. Somehow when I wasn’t looking I hit 2000 Disqus comments. ACK!

    1. Peter Beddows

      At the last check, it is now 2,050 Tereza: What do you do with all your spare time?

      1. Tereza

        A lot of them are lite, like: “I agree!” and “+1!”.Then again, some are far too long.Almost all are written while I’m sitting waiting for something or another.

        1. Peter Beddows

          The fact that we can now creatively and productively use those many unavoidable periods of “down-time” (overnight hotels, airplane trips, etc.) and “waiting time” that tend to crop up in the course of doing business when traveling and going out of office to meet others, all of which is a natural part of “doing business” activity, is just one of the tremendous benefits we now have from access to all of this modern technology. When we first installed our car-phone so long ago now and when we first registered our web site in, I think it was 1996 or 97, we could never then have imagined what we can do today with our mini-computer cell phones, web technologies and features like Go2Meeting and Skype.Since building business is really all about building connections, because people tend to do more business with people they feel they “know” than they do with anyone that they do not know, your constructive use of that “waiting time” is a very smart way of keeping up with business building fundamental activity.Dare I say it then: You go girl! The more tweets and AVC comments the better the exposure: Can there be such a thing as bad press?

  57. William Mougayar

    Timely article by GigaOM just appeared:… “…close to half of consumers surveyed are willing to pay around $50 for the ability to use wireless power.”

  58. Morgan Warstler

    Fred, if I paid more attention to twitter I would have found you at the show!Sprint 3G ran most of the time. But without 4G or even 3G on Verizon (yours?) – what the hell do you do during a concert to chew through that much battery? Video? Google Sky Maps?

    1. fredwilson

      No videoLots of web (up and down) and SMSSome voice

  59. Peter Beddows

    Prior to investing in a BB, people used to tease me about my devotion to my old 1998 Motorola StarTac phone ~ but my phone did have a very useful, directly integrated, PDA accessory, an extra large battery attached and did everything I used to need a cell phone to do; lasted all day, connected to my pc’s, easily and quickly recharged on the fly etc., no worries until ….My reluctance to change originally stemmed form the fact that newer technologies and ideas are coming up all the time making it quite likely that today’s wiz-bang phone would be yesterday’s wonder within a heart-beat of getting it. Secondly, I have long had the philosophy that “if it aint broke and it is serving the intended purpose relative to my needs, no need to fix/change it” along with “I aint spending no money that aint making me no money”. The double negatives might be confusing but I think this makes the point anyway.On the other hand, I was one of the earliest amongst my friends and business associates to have an in-car phone at a time when “portable phone” was still something of a misnomer and I’ve also always been eager to have the very latest in terms of pc (windows) hardware and in other electronic gadgetry. Only the StarTac cell phone was my technology orphan.However, a while back now, I awoke to the 21st century by investing in a BlackBerry which I find to be a really great option for my business needs which now include introducing our web site to clients and accessing our twitter, fb and LinkedIn accounts. It is also now used in conjunction with our Vonage account by having the “Vonage Companion” software loaded on my Laptop ~ hence now wherever the laptop goes, my Vonage also goes and thus acts as a surrogate mobile phone.Now, if I or my business partner fails to answer either of our desk phones or I fail to answer the laptop phone, calls auto-forward first to my BB and then to my Verizon voice mail. No escaping!I particularly love my BB because, via BlackBerry Enterprise Server (BES) I can happily email from my BB and know that the complete email thread will be available in Outlook on my Laptop and also on my desk bound pc without any further action to get that data there ~ it’s handled automatically by the BES server. Lack of that functionality is the principal constraint I have against getting an Android phone and, as long as AT&T is the service provider, I would NEVER get an i???? product.So now, the only thing missing from this modern veritable communication conglomeration, because it’s currently not in action, is my Ham Radio gear …. but there’s already enough communications systems in operation that it’s now hard to avoid or miss a call even when in the bathroom. Is that TMI?

  60. Guest

    Every Android user I’ve known has complained about the battery life. None of the iPhone user’s have.Enjoy your background multi-tasking 🙂

    1. fredwilson

      my kids use iPhonestheir batteries die all the timeand they are walking around the streets of NYC with no phonethat sucks

  61. Jerry Vandesic

    I thought the EU told Apple in 2008 that they needed to support removable batteries. Anything happen with that?

  62. NICCAI

    By the sound of this, I’d guess you’re warming up to the keyboard, Fred. 😉

  63. Peter Steinberg

    This problem only affects a small slice of the iPhone’s customers — after all, the vast majority of them either sit at a desk for most of the day (where they can charge) and commute by car (where they can charge).So who has a problem? Moms on the go. People who commute by mass transit and are on the go all day. College students.

    1. fredwilson

      anyone who lives in NYC

  64. jtfc

    I use 3G juice battery pack, it work with most USB device, it’s like carrying a wall outlet with me during the day. It’s small and don’t add much weight to my bag, and it does not turn an iPhone into , I just plug my iPhone to it and leave it in my bag when I am not using it to keep my phone charge up. I think it last 3 full iPhone charges, my wife took it to a 3 day weekend camping. I have not worry about my iPhone battery ever since I got it.

  65. William Mougayar

    Related to this, just saw today this pay-per-use charging device http://www.safeplugondemand… (Canadian company from Kitchener), like a vending machine model. Would you pay $1 for a 20 min charge?

  66. Scott Wharton

    Hi Fred,I’m on iphone4 user and also run the battery down nearly every day (at some trade shows by early afternoon).I’ve largely solved this problem by carrying an external battery charger. I’m tried many that suck (either too small battery capacity, too easily fall out of the charger slot, or go on to the back of the phone making it too bulky).The solution I love is from Brookstone: You get up to 92 hours of additional capacity or practically speaking, double to triple the normal battery capacity of an iPhone. It has 2 USB slots so you could be charging your iPhone and say a Bluetooth headset at the same time (also tends to run down each day).With this new solution, I’ve yet to run down both the phone and external battery with a year of trying and heavy usage (no rationing!)Hope this helps.Scott

  67. Aaron Klein

    I agree completely. I carry a spare battery for the BlackBerry Torch and have only used it a few times, but every time, I was so thankful.One thing I hated about the iPhone was that on cross-country flights, I wouldn’t play music on the plane because I knew I needed to make calls when I landed. Now that rule only kicks in and I go into conservation mode after I put the second battery in.The thing is, I really love a lot about the iPhone. A real keyboard and a changeable battery would make it very hard to resist.Of course, an open software infrastructure wouldn’t hurt either. 😉

  68. Jamie Lin

    Fred you should try Juice Defender (…. I’ve been using it for 2 weeks and boy has it made a difference. The idea is to only turn ON your data connection 1 out of every 15 minutes and that’s more than enough for all apps to sync. By doing so, it makes my Nexus One last for 1.5-2x longer. There are many advanced settings you can tinker with but by going with the default settings, it can already make a huge difference.

  69. Jcollins

    As many people have already mentioned there are plenty of external batteries to purchase for your iPhone. I used to carry two in pre-IPad and iPhone 4 days but now I carry one and I rarely have to use it with the iPhone 4 but it is there and solves the problem plus most external batteries can charge other phones/devices which is convenient when traveling with others.

  70. Christopher McDowell

    It is a way for Apple to continue to keep control of the accessories market that spins off of every Apple product. Because your only option is a mobile power source/charger, you are forced to recharge the same (internal) battery over and over. This internal battery has a minimal life (in terms of number of charges).When it dies in other phones, you can replace it cheaply. When it dies in the iPhone, (most) consumers will go to the Apple store and can have it replaced through them for around $80. But for Apple, the higher cost gives consumers the option to weigh the cost of the battery versus the marginally higher cost of upgrading your iPhone to the newer version.Either way Apple wins, but by closing out the iPhone-battery-replacement market, they are able to achieve incremental sales in their newer products by killing off the slightly older ones.

  71. Aaron

    That works great for a watch – how much power does keeping time take? I think you’ll find that adding that to a phone wouldn’t give you more than a few extra minutes in a day.

  72. Aaron

    I’ve heard arguments that having a battery compartment that opened would ruin the sleekness of the iPhone with some sort of latch. That same sleekness was likely its largest selling point when it was first released.

    1. Pascal-Emmanuel Gobry


  73. JESSICA BIEL dresses

    I also imagine a company as innovative as Apple should be able to find a compromise between the two needs.

  74. Chris Clark

    What an innovative little stand! Good to see good old fashion low tech ingenuity is still alive and well. Thanks for sharing.

  75. Colin Nederkoorn

    Your stand is awesome. Reminds me of which is making it’s rounds in the press right now after being funded on kickstarter.

  76. Tereza

    Is that a hand-crank on that charging station, Charlie?;-)

  77. Tereza

    I don’t know, Charlie. Please tell us. Why don’t the Amish use an iPhone?