Now on it’s seventh-generation model, the iPhone is already pretty darn capable. From delivering reasonably accurate turn-by-turn directions to powering single-tap purchases, it’s a handy companion for many everyday tasks. If Apple has its way, the ability to save battery life based on its owner’s tendencies may soon be added to the list.

Apple Insider reports on a patent that introduces some interesting battery-saving technology that could be implemented on future iPhone models. The patent outlines a system that leverages artificial intelligence to recognize usage patterns, which would then be used to manage the device’s battery power more efficiently. In theory, this approach would enable the device to make the most of that power and, thus, provide a longer duration between charging periods.

As for what usage patterns will be considered, the patent application paints a rather broad picture. For example, Apple revealed that this system would remember where a user normally charged their device, what type of power source they use, and how long it takes them to travel from one location to the next. The travel element is an interesting point to note because it means the system would very likely use GPS to help optimize power consumption.

According to the patent, the technology takes those usage patterns and assembles a user profile to manage power for that individual’s device. That profile calculates an optimal power management regime, pulling the plug on operations that may be draining energy. The user’s iPhone could automatically disable Bluetooth, location-based services, and even Wi-Fi in an attempt to decrease energy usage and save battery life.

User Input a Possibility

An iPhone that automatically optimizes power could very well be something Apple fans value, but some users long for greater control of power usage—a big part of Android’s appeal. Being a dealer of proprietary technology, Apple can only grant so much freedom, but users might have a greater say over how their device will preserve energy. The Apple Insider report notes that while the system dynamically updates based on usage needs or location, users can manually adjust consumption settings to their liking. They can also help save battery life by entering their own information into the power management database.

Moreover, it looks as if users may have control of which services are turned off to preserve energy. “Certain embodiments may permit users to specify any or all functionality, separately or in groups, to deactivate in order to prolong a device charge,” Apple wrote in its patent description. With so many individual usage scenarios potentially coming into play, it’s nice to see that Apple is keeping customization in mind.

Power a Priority

Apple’s patent activity as of late suggests that the company is well aware of some users’ complaints about the phones’ battery life. According to IT Pro Portal, Apple recently filed a patent for a system that uses a system micro controller (SMC) and a standard charger to power the user’s device with solar energy. Nothing is for certain, but it is possible that both of the aforementioned technologies could eventually be used to power the ultimate energy-efficient iOS device.

Tech giants like Apple file patents on a regular basis, some of which never materialize into real products. However, this is one concept that has a lot of appeal in a digital realm where even the best mobile devices are hindered by battery capacity limitations. Properly implemented, it would likely be embraced by Apple fans who want a reliable way to get more life out of their gadgets.

Would you upgrade to a new iPhone if it offered usage-based battery conservation technology?

Image courtesy of Flickr 




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