Apple has updated iOS 5 to patch an issue affecting mobile device battery life.
That iOS 5.0.1 update fixes what Apple described as "bugs" affecting battery life, adds multitasking gestures to the first addition of the iPad, and tweaks some issues with Documents in the Cloud. It also "improves voice recognition for Australian users using dictation," according to the update screen accompanying the software push.
Apple had previously acknowledged a "few bugs" affecting the battery life of some iOS 5 devices, confirming earlier reports by users around the world.
"A small number of customers have reported lower than expected battery life on iOS 5 devices," Apple wrote in a Nov. 2 statement to AllThingsD. "We have found a few bugs that are affecting battery life and we will release a software update to address those in a few weeks."
Reports of battery issues with iOS 5 originally erupted on the Web near the end of October, with a discussion thread on Apple's Website quickly filling with users irate over their iPhone 4S battery life. "I checked and all my settings are similar to my iPhone 4 (i.e., Bluetooth and ping off, brightness pretty low, etc.)," one wrote. "Seems to lose 1 percent every 3-4 minutes, even when locked/asleep." Others on the thread reported battery drain approaching 15 to 20 percent per hour.
In some minor ways, the situation with the iPhone 4S recalled that of the iPhone 4, whose blockbuster release in 2010 was nonetheless marred by reports of dropped calls whenever users gripped the device in a certain way with bare hands.
It took Apple some time to arrive at a solution for the original iPhone 4 conundrum, namely issuing free rubber bumpers to device owners. The bumpers blocked the device's exterior antenna rim from skin contact, resolving the issue. After maintaining that program for a few months following the iPhone 4's release, Apple abruptly shut down the whole issue with a note on its Website. In the end, it ended up paying out some $175 million in bumpers.
Despite the battery issues reported by an unknown subset of users, the iPhone 4S managed to sell 4 million units by the end of its first weekend of release, reaffirming the smartphone franchise's popularity among consumers.