It's almost here! Apple's (NASDAQ:AAPL) big event is Sept. 9 and is widely considered to be the preview of Apple's next iPhone iteration: the iPhone 6. As always, media speculation is intense: What new features will Apple bring to market? Lost in the shuffle is upgrades and improvements, but Apple would be wise to pay attention to this shockingly simple upgrade: improved battery life.
A recent uSell.com survey -- by way of Forbes -- gives us more insight into what actual end users want from Cupertino. The survey classifies anticipated features in the new unit by new and improved features. Taking the No. 1 slot on the most desired improved features was better battery life -- and at 37% it comes in almost double the second-place finisher, a bigger screen, at 19.2%.
To be fair, the most anticipated feature was a new one rather than an improvement. According to the survey, 45.5% of respondents wanted the iPhone 6 to have the new, tougher sapphire screen. If recent rumors are to be believed, those respondents -- and sapphire maker GT Advanced Technology investors -- will be disappointed because it appears Apple will not use the technology on this iteration.
Arch nemesis Samsung's commercial
Apple's high-end nemesis, Samsung, has been rather direct about Apple's less-powerful battery. A recent line of commercials -- dubbed Wall Huggers -- paints the difference between its line of Galaxy phones and iPhones. And Samsung is right; according to numerous studies, Apple's iPhone line has a less-powerful battery than rivals. According to a Which? test, Apple's iPhone reported call time nearly 50% less than Samsung's Galaxy line and 25% Internet usage.
Simple, but not easy ...
Going back to the Forbes/uSell survey, you can see how this rather simple request is easier said than done. The second most-desired feature is the aforementioned bigger screen. In addition, a litany of other feature requests include better phone reception, new health and fitness tools, 3D images, and camera upgrades. Not mentioned in these surveys, but widely clamored for are processor improvements and a smaller form factor.
And that's the issue. As consumers, we all want more and improved features but fail to consider the trade-offs. Many of the previously mentioned desired features require more power from the battery. For example, a larger screen - and it's widely rumored Apple's new phones have larger screens -- demands more from the battery to light the display.
Apple could just increase the battery life by making it bigger, but as consumers increasingly clamor for a smaller form factor, space inside the unit is hard to come by. Apple could incorporate a replaceable battery system like the Samsung Galaxy, but Apple's design guru Jony Ive's smooth and elegant phone lines would be ruined and the device could lose its elegance.
However, one way that Apple is able to make the phone bigger and still satisfy design gurus is to increase the display. Makes sense, since the phone's size must increase to house the larger display -- and a larger phone has the ability to have a larger, more powerful battery. If recent reports from AppleInsider are to be believed, Apple's gotten the memo -- its larger 5.5-inch iPhone 6 variant is rumored to come with a 2,915 mAH battery vs. the 1,560 mAh the phone currently has. That's nearly double the power storage!
The Samsung commercial has a funny -- yet, almost prophetic -- moment. While sitting in what appears to be an airport terminal, one iPhone user says to another one, "It says the new iPhone is coming out soon," then an off-screen responder interjects, "I hope it has a better battery." A funny commercial, absolutely, but one asks if commercials outlining short-term, nondurable competitive advantages are the best usage of its marketing budget.
As far as Apple is concerned, it shows they are taking steps to correct what's become a disadvantage among other handset manufacturers. Look for Apple's iPhone 6 to be a blowout.
Jamal Carnette has no position in any stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool recommends Apple. The Motley Fool owns shares of Apple. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.