Battery for rumored iPhone 6 signals thinnest Apple phone yet

All signs point to a very thin next-generation iPhone. But that also means plenty of headaches for parts suppliers.

iPhone 6 concept. Martin Hajek

A report from Asia reinforces the speculation that a lot of Apple's focus is on thinness for the rumored iPhone 6.

A report from Taiwan-based Digitimes on Wednesday said that the battery in the next-generation iPhone has a thickness of only 2 millimeters versus 3 mm for the iPhone 5 series battery.

"But both feature a similar capacity," the report added. If true, that would indicate an emphasis on thinness over capacity -- boosting capacity can indicate an increase in the size of the battery.

The Digitimes report echoes a report in April from Commercial Times, also a Taiwan-based publication, that claimed the larger 5.5-inch iPhone 6 would have 2 mm-thick battery.

Overall, Taiwan-based component makers are "facing difficulties" reducing the thickness of components including panels, chassis, and battery packs for upcoming iPhones, Digitimes said. Those difficulties stem from trying to make thinner parts but not achieving satisfactory production yield rates (the ratio of good parts to bad parts).

The Digitimes report adds to a growing list of reports that highlight the challenges Apple and its chain of suppliers are facing to create the thinnest iPhone to date.

A report earlier this week said that 5.5-inch model could be delayed because of issues with the in-cell touch display panel. That technology has allowed Apple to make its devices thinner.

And earlier reports cited issues with a new backlight, which would also contribute to a thinner phone.

Digitimes added that 60 million to 70 million new iPhones are expected to be sold by the end of 2014.

About the author

Brooke Crothers writes about mobile computer systems, including laptops, tablets, smartphones: how they define the computing experience and the hardware that makes them tick. He has served as an editor at large at CNET News and a contributing reporter to The New York Times' Bits and Technology sections. His interest in things small began when living in Tokyo in a very small apartment for a very long time.


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