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iPhone 5S: Apple acknowledges battery life issue, will replace affected phones

Apple has said a manufacturing issue affecting “a very limited number” of its new flagship iPhone 5S handsets means some users will be experiencing longer-than-usual charge times or reduced battery life. The phone is supposed to offer 10 hours of talk time on 3G and up to 250 hours in standby mode.

The Cupertino company told the NY Times Tuesday that affected users would receive a new handset.

“We recently discovered a manufacturing issue affecting a very limited number of iPhone 5S devices that could cause the battery to take longer to charge or result in reduced battery life,” Apple spokeswoman Teresa Brewer said. “We are reaching out to customers with affected phones and will provide them with a replacement phone.”

Few details

Brewer declined to offer any details regarding the nature of the manufacturing flaw, nor say how many handsets the company believes are affected. Apple sold around nine million new 5S and 5C phones on their first weekend of release last month, though a specific figure for each device wasn’t given.

In its report, the NY Times distinguishes between a “manufacturing issue” and a “defective battery”, suggesting the problem may have occurred during the assembly of the device rather than there being an issue with any of its various parts.

A user on Apple’s support pages describes how their 5S battery appeared to be draining at a much faster rate than the one in their old iPhone 4 handset, even with all functions switched off.

“When i go to sleep i put alarm on, close all apps, switch off the sound, put the device in airplane mode. When i wake up, 8h, the battery drains 10% or more,” the user explained. “On the iPhone 4 this wasn’t an issue, max 1-2 percent….Why is this battery draining that fast with nothing running? Any solution?”

It’s not clear how Apple is going to “reach out” to affected users, though presumably an official notice about the issue will appear on its website in the coming days.

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