Dear Apple: Please spend your billions on radical battery tech

The future of mobile isn't being held back by software or hardware -- it's the battery that is our greatest limitation.

We're still using AA batteries, a technology invented more than 60 years ago. Eric Franklin/CNET

Dear Apple,

You have more than $100 billion sitting in your coffers. I know you're returning some of that money to shareholders , but you will still have tens of billions of dollars leftover for R&D.

I have a proposal for how you should spend some of that money: please invest it into new and radical battery technology. Let me explain why.

My friends and I decided to visit Disneyland, the happiest place on Earth, last Sunday. We fought Emperor Zerg and chilled with Mickey Mouse, all the while taking hundreds of photos and recording dozens of videos on our iPhones.

By 6 p.m. though, only one of us had a phone that had any power. Despite our Mophie cases and our conservation of power, only one person's phone survived the night. We didn't even have a chance to take photos of Disney's famous World of Color show.

The iPhone is an amazing device. It provides directions, finds the answer to any question on your mind and lets you communicate with your friends instantly. And it does this insanely fast. It's not limited by its software or even its hardware. In fact, the iPhone only has two real limitations: the wireless carriers and the battery.

I know you don't have control over carrier networks, Apple, but you do have control over the battery.

Despite more than four years of innovations that have drastically increased the iPhone's speed, improved its resolution, and created the App Store and Siri, the iPhone's battery life has barely improved. Sure, the iPhone 4S has double the talk time of the 3G, but that still only translates to a few hours of videos or photo taking.

The truth is that battery technology has not improved much in the last few decades. Hell, we're still using AA batteries, a technology that was adopted in 1947. Think about that for a minute.

I see a story every week about some new piece of battery technology. Yet none of this technology has made it to our mobile devices. Super-efficient lithium-ion batteries and solar-powered iPhones that last for days have yet to reach my pocket. So far, only the Droid Razr Maxx even comes close to fulfilling my battery consumption needs, and that's because it has an enormous battery that takes up most of the phone.

Battery power is limiting our ability to develop new technology. Without more efficient batteries, we can't have phones that run as fast as our laptops. Instead, we're forced to play with our settings and watch our battery bar constantly. We're supposed to be living in the future, damnit!

Apple, you are one of the few companies with the resources to fix this problem. I don't care if you have to acquire the best battery companies in the world or if you build a secret lab to create a new type of battery power (maybe you already have -- we can only hope). Please just find a way to fix our battery woes.

Now if you'll excuse me, I'm going to charge my phone.

Sincerely,

Ben Parr

 

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