If you’ve ever owned an iPhone – particularly an iPhone 4S – you know some of the headaches that its poor battery life can cause. If you’re careful with your phone, a full battery charge can last a full day. But if you need to do much – watch some video, play a few levels of Angry Birds, or make too many phone calls – you’ll be looking for a charger well before the day is out. What’s more, if you use any sort of Bluetooth accessories – headphones, speakers, a headset, or an in-car speaker system (a la Ford’s SYNC system), your battery drains even faster, thanks to the extra power requirements of the Bluetooth radio itself.
Apple, it seems, is aware of the problem, though, and is working on a fix. According to a patent application that was published today by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, Apple has been working on a solution that will reduce the amount of power a device’s Bluetooth radios require do to their job. The solution revolves around a modified method of data transmission between devices. Apple’s method would add format conversion to the process, which would reduce the amount of work required to transmit data from one Bluetooth device to another. Reducing the amount of work means reducing the amount of energy consumed, which means better battery life.
Apple applied for the patent back in February, and the USPTO published it today. It’s not clear when Apple might bring this sort of technology to its devices. This is only a patent application, so of course all it really means is that Apple is exploring the possibility. Assuming they end up implementing this at all, it’s not likely that we’ll be see it in the new iPhone this fall.