Is Apple's battery replacement the tip of the iceberg?

Richard Thomas - B2M Solutions
Mobile device battery performance issues

You may have read the recent story that Apple devices were being deliberately slowed down by Apple as they age. Apple has taken some care to explain this issue in detail here.

If you read this story, you will no doubt notice that the root cause of the problem is that the rechargeable batteries in modern mobile equipment chemically age at an unpredictable rate. This ageing process can and does result in unpredictable performance. Here is some additional technical information for those interested:

Apple Support - Battery & Performance

Apple - Why Lithium Ion?

So you may now be asking yourself, is this problem limited to Apple iPhone devices, or does it affect other mobile devices from Apple and those from other manufacturers?

What about Android and Windows mobile devices?

As you may have observed, the Lithium-Ion battery technology used by Apple is in fact used by the vast majority of Smartphone and Tablet manufacturers. Given that all major manufacturers use the same battery technology, it seems reasonable to conclude that they also suffer reduced or unpredictable performance as the battery ages to a greater or lesser degree.

You may also have spotted that this ageing process depends on unpredictable environmental factors, such as temperature changes, and operational processes such as charging habits.

Do you use mobile devices on your front line?

If you have ever been in a role that requires you to support mobile devices on the front line, like myself, you may well wonder how your End User experiencing poor performance can in fact determine whether the problem is the battery, the mobile application, the network or something else such as physical damage?

It is clear that battery health directly impacts device performance. It is also clear that device performance directly impacts mobile-enabled services that support an increasingly important array of very visible and reputation defining customer interactions.

So is it fair to say that this problem is both tricky to resolve and likely to affect all mobile devices in some way? Yes!

Ok – so what can we do? One typical answer is just to replace all batteries after 2 years of services. However, this arbitrary battery replacement is both expensive and disruptive to your operations, not to mention the negative environmental impact of disposing of large quantities of batteries that may have significant life left in them.

Do I have to replace 1,000s of batteries just in case?

Not any more! Real-time Enterprise Mobile Analytics solutions help you solve this problem in three easy steps:

  1. 1. Gather enough information in real-time to determine where the problem lies. Is the end user’s problem the battery, a WiFi coverage issue or the App update you put live last week?
     
  2. 2. If the problem is the battery, use advanced algorithms and machine learning to predict which batteries in your mobile estate need replacement and when they need replacing.
     
  3. 3. Real time mobile analytics can either alert your operations staff or supplier to arrange replacement batteries, or automatically kick off a battery replacement workflow via industry standard Open APIs.

As a result of the press attention this story has received, Apple has already promised some additional battery management features in Q1 2018 to help with diagnosis.