We just learned about how the iPhone 15 Pro and Pro Max models are getting an all-new A17 Pro chip that's incredibly powerful. Besides overusing the word Pro, Apple tells us this will lead to amazing new games like an Assassin's Creed title that's "console quality," so you'll essentially have a PlayStation or Xbox game that you can play anytime and anywhere.
This is pretty cool. I'm a fan of most of the Assassin's Creed games, like a lot of others, and I could see myself checking it out if I ever bought an iPhone Pro something-or-other. Then I would get tired of trying to play an AAA game on a tiny screen and go back to wishing the battery lasted longer.
One of the web's longest-running tech columns, Android & Chill is your Saturday discussion of Android, Google, and all things tech.
We've reached the point where the chips that power our amazing phones are not the bottleneck they once were when it comes to performance. We needed to get here, and while Apple makes the "most powerful" phone processor, chips from Qualcomm and MediaTek are no slouch either.
A trade-off of cranking out bigger and faster CPU cores is that they use more power. A lot more power. This is mitigated by making newer chips better when it comes to how much power they consume, but we're still talking about devices that run off of a battery. Your laptop or PC plugs into the wall, but you only plug in your phone because you have to.
I think a lot of people agree that battery life is one of the most important things to consider when it comes to buying a new phone. I really like using the Galaxy Z Flip 5 that AT&T is letting me use, and I'll miss it when I send it back. I also really hate the battery life it has when I actually do anything with it. It's not Pixel 4 level of bad, but it's close.
Rather than see a Galaxy Z Flip 6 that is so powerful it can play Elden Ring or something equally cool, I hope to see a Flip 6 that makes it through the day without needing to be charged if I need to use it a lot. I would play a console-quality game on my phone every once in a while, and it would be fun. But not plugging it in at 7 p.m. so it doesn't shut down by 8 is a thing I would enjoy every day.
Having both is possible, just not with the current technology. One day, some company will make a phone chip that can do it all and not need charging every 10 or so hours. Years ago, when smartphones were new, nobody would have thought the chips we have now were possible, but tech advances. It will continue to advance.
Until then, I'm more interested in how SoC (System on Chip, a circuit that incorporates the Processor, memory, cache, and graphics in a single package) design improves my battery life. Each generation on all platforms is better than the last, but it seems that the companies making them rarely mention it, usually as a bit of text on some corporate infographic. Let's bring it front and center. I want to know how much longer the A18 Pro or Snapdragon 9 will run before I need to plug it in.
I'm not saying newer processors aren't efficient when it comes to battery life because they clearly are. A by-product of their design makes them use less power per unit of performance (we really need something like TDP measurements for phone chips). I'm saying that maybe it's time to shift focus and efficiency becomes the selling point. Companies already do this when it comes to things like smartwatches.
Maybe the next time a tech company exec stands on a stage and tells us about a new chip inside the best phone, the first words we hear should be about how much of our battery it's going to use.
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