Apple Responds to TSMC vs Samsung A9 Battery Life on iPhone 6s

By now you probably know which manufacture made the A9 CPU inside your iPhone 6s, either Samsung or TSMC, with the latter showing in tests to have slightly better battery life.

Apple has now addressed this issue with a statement to TechCrunch, noting the tests you see in labs showing both models run at max performance are a “misleading way to measure real-world battery life.” The company’s own tests show the actual differences “vary within 2-3% of each other”.

The full statement is below:

With the Apple-designed A9 chip in your iPhone 6s or iPhone 6s Plus, you are getting the most advanced smartphone chip in the world. Every chip we ship meets Apple’s highest standards for providing incredible performance and deliver great battery life, regardless of iPhone 6s capacity, color, or model.

Certain manufactured lab tests which run the processors with a continuous heavy workload until the battery depletes are not representative of real-world usage, since they spend an unrealistic amount of time at the highest CPU performance state. It’s a misleading way to measure real-world battery life. Our testing and customer data show the actual battery life of the iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus, even taking into account variable component differences, vary within just 2-3% of each other.

TechCrunch’s Matthew Panzarino asked Apple why two manufacturers made the A9, but the company did not comment. Theories as to why Apple went with two companies to produce A9 CPUs could be to increase production for its record 13 million sales weekend, or to also decrease its reliance on Samsung for chipmaking.

Earlier today, maker of the free app Lirum Device Info, which revealed to iPhone 6s owners which A9 CPU their device housed, pulled their app from the App Store, stating it was their decision and not Apple’s.

The Brazilian developer wrote the following on Facebook:

Dear users of Lirum Device Info,

We are aware of some serious issues or our Apps with the latest iOS models (iPhone 6S and iPad Air 2). Changes on the requirements for a new update to be approved are also delaying the development process (and our team is very small).
In face of such events, in 24 hours, we will take Lirum Device Info down from the App Store – until we can release a decent update. That will take a few months however – but then we promise an entire new user interface, faster updates when a new device model is released, and a lot of new features.

Until then, the app will continue to work on models equal or prior to the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus.

Best Regards,
Rogério Hirooka
Lirum Labs

Of course, conspiracy theorists may believe the timing of this move is uncanny, considering the free app probably was downloaded millions of times in the past 48 hours.

Founder and Editor-in-Chief of Follow me on Twitter, and @iPhoneinCanada, and on Google+.

  • In theory, if the cpus run differently, then if one runs at full power, it could drain the battery faster than the other at full power. But real world use may never get to that ‘full power’ setting being used in certain tests. So Apple’s comments do in a way make sense. A good test should compare equal features.
    Then again if a test is just battery life of say on a phone call, and neither device is doing anything other than that, yet the two CPUs produce different battery usage results.. that’s sort of telling. *shrug*
    Not much of a concern anyway, imo. But that’s just me 😛

  • xxxJDxxx

    Tried the app last night and couldn’t get the chip info from it

  • BigCat

    Lirum Device was an app 99% of iPhone users would probably never think of or even care to use. In just 48 hours these guys go from largely unknown to tech headline news. But wait, they decided to pull the app?

    One could only image how many iPhone returns this little app could have and may still cause.

    I hope Apple made it worth their while.

  • 1His_Nibs1

    My thoughts exactly. For those in the know I’m sure the potential to have 20% more battery life imo is worth the return. For those who don’t read or care about this stuff well, the’ll probably never know any difference.

  • Zeke

    The other day I got a flyer from Bell Mobility telling me I enjoy the lowest iPhone plan rate in Canada. Last Saturday I told my girlfriend her jeans did not make her look fat. Volkswagen (enough said). Apple, “vary within just 2-3% of each other”.

    It’s not hard to figure out.

  • Reianz

    Chip-gate anyone?

  • 1His_Nibs1

    Yep, this is just the tip of the iceberg. Wait until the mainstream media gets ahold of this story.

  • poopchute

    Everyone should remember that we all get one year warranty’s on our iPhones.
    There is no need to panic, or rush to the store for an exchange. Just wait a couple months. By then we will all have more info, and therefore be able to make better informed decisions.

  • Nah

    It’s quite literally the first thing you see when you open that app……

    Look at where it says “Model:” and then from that you can find out which one you have.

    6S with a Samsung chip here :/

  • Mac

    Good thing I didn’t sell my iPhone 5. I’m returning the 6S today and will wait a bit and see if anything changes.

  • poopchute

    Now you have an excuse to cover up your buyer’s remorse! Look at you!

  • Mac

    Muahahaha. To be honest, I keep looking at the phone, awesome as it is, and convince myself that it’s worth a $1,000!!
    Now I don’t have to!!

  • MrXax

    If what Apple says is true (2-3%), there’s not much of a story here.

  • Doodly Dood

    Truly, Bruce. I’m a heavy iPhone user, but the only time my CPU would max out is when launching an app or processing a large file – perhaps 2% of the time! Even heavy gamers wouldn’t notice a big real world difference. In my opinion, real world tests will bear out less than a 10% difference (crystal ball :).

  • 1His_Nibs1

    When you do sell your phone what method do you use? Thanks in advance should you choose to reply.

  • 1His_Nibs1

    Well, pardon me if I don’t take “Apple’s word” as the gospel. I’m more inclined to believe the testers as they aren’t invested in the phone the way Apple is. The testers also have nothing to lose where as Apple has sales, reputation, PR optics & shareholders to think about.

  • Mac

    I don’t sell phones often, as I tend to use the phone for a few years before upgrading. Last phone I sold was the 4. I sold it on a ehMac forum. Tried kijiji but you only get hagglers there.

  • Normand

    I just saw the latest consumer report of the new S6 iphone and the battery test showed a 2 hour difference in reduction from last years iphone 6 comparison. Coincidence?
    I think there may be a problem with the Samsung chips. We shall soon see.

  • Normand
  • 1His_Nibs1

    Just an FYI for future reference., GoReCell & Gizmogrind buy used phones.

  • xxxJDxxx

    Orchard will give you more than any of those services.

  • xxxJDxxx

    model said 8,2 or something similar. wasn’t chip related at all.

  • 1His_Nibs1

    Thanks for that! Much appreciated.

  • Mac

    I’ll keep that in mind for my next sale, thanks for the tip.

  • 1His_Nibs1

    No problem but xxxJDxxx’s tip is a better one. Orchard is an iPhone app you can download from the App Store & they offered me the highest price out of all those services. Just not sure I want to sell my iPhone 5 now with this chip gate thing.