Apple's Jony Ive Says Consumers Want Thinner Smartphones Rather Than Longer Battery Life

When it comes to matters of product design in the consumer electronics space, Apple’s Jony Ive likes to think that his company is the purveyor of all that is good and righteous in the realm of design taste. Last month, Ive thumbed his nose at Motorola’s Moto Maker tool that puts customers in the driver’s seat when it comes to choosing how their smartphone looks. Ive castigated Motorola, stating, “I believe that’s abdicating your responsibility as a designer.”

Ive’s know-it-all stance on product design was on full display in a recent interview with the Financial Times. When describing the development process of the Apple Watch, Ive explained, “Even now, when the design of the Apple Watch is incredibly mature and has gone through thousands and thousands of hours of evaluation and testing, we’re still working and improving.

“You are trying to keep everything fluid for as long as possible because everything is so interconnected. The best products are those where you have optimised each attribute while being very conscious of other parts of the product’s performance.”

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Once you get past all of the flowery language, Ive went on to explain Apple’s insistence on making its devices thinner. A notable example in recent memory is the iPad Air 2, which is .05-inches thinner and 32 grams lighter than its predecessor. But Apple also had to sacrifice battery capacity in order to make the already incredibly thing iPad Air even thinner — battery capacity dropped from 8600 mAh to 7340 mAh.

Ive explained this design decision, using the iPhone as an example, stating that by making the device thinner and lighter people are encouraged to use the device more. So in essence, we shouldn’t really concern ourselves with battery life if we have a beautiful device to look at and hold in our hands. According to Ive, going with a bigger battery over a more svelte chassis makes its devices less “compelling.”

Interestingly enough, most Americans don’t seem to agree with the reasoning if a recent HuffPost/YouGov poll is any indication. According to the poll results, 73 percent of respondents said they would prefer a thicker smartphone with longer battery life when a pencil-thin smartphone with shorter battery life.

What say you, HotHardware readers? Do you think that the quest for thinner devices has gone too far at the expense of battery life?


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