One of the biggest complaints we hear from mobile users today, no matter the platform they’re using, is that battery life isn’t good enough. There have been some advancements, and devices with larger batteries can sometimes provide better battery life depending on the settings in place. Apple, however, recently filed for a patent that would help a device predict a user’s habits in an effort to extend battery life as long as possible. The patent was spotted by AppleInsider and is titled “Inferring User Intent From Battery Usage Level and Charging Trends.”
As the name suggests, Apple’s patent covers technology that would track a user’s trends and then try to make the best of the available battery life. “One could imagine the user being happy with a slightly darker screen when in a dark room if it means that more power can be given to the GPU and the performance of the game increased,” the patent says. “Long term power budgeting is concerned with ensuring that the device’s power usage over time does not deplete the battery and interrupt the user.” Most devices already have sensors to adjust the display – if activated by the user – depending on the lighting condition, but this also takes into consideration the task at hand. It’s the focus on use-cases that’s unique.
Consider this line from the patent: “Another example could be using an eWallet application such as Passbook to purchase a drink at a coffee house,” the patent says. “This coupled with GPS location largely staying the same would suggest that the user will be enjoying their drink in the coffee house for the next 20 to 30 minutes. If they should be using their device in that time period they are likely to be doing so intently, (reading the news, playing a game, etc.), such that they would like their device to be particularly responsive.” Knowing that, Apple’s smart system could make sure that power is running at full speed for 20-30 minutes for the best possible performance.
There are dozens of devices that offer power-saving modes, but Apple’s would change on its own without the need for a user to tell the device to save battery life. Cupertino isn’t the only one looking to extend our device usage as long as possible. Samsung’s Galaxy S5 has a new low-power setting that changes the screen to black and white and eliminates unneeded software so that the device can operate much, much longer – still offering the ability to place calls and send text messages.
Patents don’t always point to something that will come to fruition, but this is something we’re likely to see a lot more of. The longer we can go without plugging a device in, the happier we’ll all be.