In a recent HuffPost/YouGov poll, 73% of respondents said they would prefer a thicker phone if it meant better battery life.
Just 12% of respondents said they’d like a thin phone with less battery life — 15% of people said they weren’t sure.
Though the HuffPost/YouGov poll had a somewhat-limited sample size — just 1,000 interviews, including 571 smartphone owners, during a three-day span in late February — this isn’t the first survey to suggest that most people care more about battery life than thinness when it comes to choosing a smartphone.
A separate poll from last week, conducted by Apple blog 9to5Mac, asked readers if Apple should thicken the iPhone to improve its battery life, if battery life was sufficient, or if Apple should focus on helping third parties build better battery cases. Of the 3,100 respondents of that poll, 60% said they were in favour of Apple making a thicker iPhone to accommodate a bigger battery.
So, it seems most people care about battery life, and companies that can promise “days” versus “hours” of battery life will clearly be more appealing to customers. A recent column from The Wall Street Journal’s Christopher Mims suggested as much:
Our dependence on smartphones is only going to get worse. Wearables like the Apple Watch are nearly useless without their accompanying phones. Using our phones as replacements for our wallets demands that they don’t die sometime during dinner, leaving us stranded. Phones are fast becoming the hubs of our entire digital lives.
Some might argue that external battery packs or cases are the answer to these problems. But if more and more people feel the need to carry them, what’s the point of buying such a slim phone in the first place?
The reality for most of us is that we spend our lives thinking about keeping our phones topped off. Being alive in the 21st century means expending a meaningful portion of our limited cognitive capacity maintaining low-level anxiety about the length of a tiny green bar.
It isn’t that I think Apple and its competitors are standing still. (Apple declined to comment for this piece.) There’s every reason to believe, especially as phones approach a level of thinness that suggests further slimming might make them less durable, that phone makers might turn their attention to the battery next. But only, I think, if consumers demand it.