We started-off this week seeing Apple distribute the latest iOS 5.1 beta to developers. The numbering was a bit of a surprise, since rumors had Apple working on a 5.0.2 release first. That build was supposedly going to include another attempt at fixing the battery life issues that have been causing some iPhone users a severe headache. Based on the notes accompanying the release, we couldn’t tell at the time if Apple had implemented such a fix. Now reports are in from enough devs who were experiencing the battery problem that we know it remains an unresolved issue.
Beta releases are just that, and we shouldn’t jump to thinking that Apple may have given-up on a fix until 5.1 is officially released. Even if there’s no solution bundled into 5.1, could Apple revisit the problem and come out with a fix later? Analysis of the iPhone 4S hardware components and their power drain doesn’t show any hardware reason that battery life should be so short, reinforcing the possibility of a software fix.
The big question now is if these software power demands can be scaled-back with smarter power management, of if there’s just so much stuff going on in iOS 5 that sometimes your battery’s going to take a harder hit than other times.