Did Qualcomm Solve the iPhone Battery Problem?

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One major complaint about Apple Inc.’s (NASDAQ: AAPL) iPhone 7 is that it does not hold a battery charge long enough. Qualcomm Inc. (NASDAQ: QCOM) may have solved that problem with a new chip.

Qualcomm’s new Snapdragon 835 processor does a number of things to advance mobile and PC chip technology, according to the company. It is built to support new entertainment functions, cloud services, virtual reality systems and next generation cameras. However, for Apple, and other smartphone manufacturers, it offers the prospects of longer battery life.

According to Qualcomm’s statement about the product:

The Snapdragon 835 is 35 percent smaller in package size and consumes 25 percent less power compared to our previous generation flagship processor, which equates to longer battery life and thinner designs. The Kryo 280 CPU provides a highly efficient architecture for power, while the integrated Hexagon 682 DSP adds support for TensorFlow and Halide frameworks. The combination of the CPU, GPU, DSP and software framework support in the Snapdragon 835 offers a highly-capable heterogeneous compute platform. Additionally, the Snapdragon 835 is equipped with Qualcomm Quick Charge 4 for up to 20 percent faster charging and up to 30 percent higher efficiency than Quick Charge 3.0.

The iPhone 7 battery life problem is so severe that technology experts have offered several “fixes” to address the problem. These include, primarily, changes in the settings of the iOS 10, which is the software heart of the smartphone. Some of the solutions are as simple as resetting the phone. Others suggest installation of software not created by Apple. The most damning solution, as far as Apple is concerned, is adding a second battery within a thick battery pack. One of the most attractive selling points of the phone is its very thin design.

iPhone sales in the fourth quarter may have been poor, according to at least one source. Production of the iPhone may drop 10% in the first quarter of this year. Is battery life the reason for slow sales? No, almost certainly, for the most part. But increased battery life and a way to address a clear criticism from consumers might help.