Apple Changing iPod Battery Technology?

Discussion in 'MacRumors News Discussion (archive)' started by MacRumors, Dec 16, 2003.

  1. MacRumors macrumors bot


    Apr 12, 2001
    A article (Danish) reports that Apple has dropped one of their iPod battery suppliers -- a Danish company called Danionics.

    Danionics supplied polymer lithium-ion batteries for the current Apple iPod, but according to Niels Kryger Anderson, Danionics' managing director, Apple has now chosen a prismatic (fluid based) lithium-ion battery for upcoming iPods.

    Danionics was not the only supplier of iPod batteries, and in light of the recent iPod battery controversy, they note that Danionics batteries will still perform at 80% of full capacity even after three years of extensive use.

    Implications/advantages of changing from polymer to fluid based Lithium ion based batteries is unclear
  2. arn macrumors god


    Staff Member

    Apr 9, 2001
    I'm sorry I can't really offer any insight into the advantages of prismatic (fluid) lithium ion batteries.

    Based on my brief research, it seems these are actually considered less flexible and less desirable then the polymer lithium ion batteries.

    Also, it's not completely clear if the new batteries will reside in completely new ipods or retrofitted in current ipods.

    And if anyone else speaks Danish and might be able to provide any other insight from the original article, it would be appreciated.

    Thanks to Rasmus Bruun for providing the initial translation.

  3. anodized macrumors member


    Dec 15, 2003
    Well I really hope that Apple made a good decision.
    We really need thos 'pod battery last longer. 6-8 hours is a complete joke.
  4. Sabenth macrumors 6502a


    Jan 24, 2003
    i just did a google and well it gets complex to say the least what i see is either apples trying to make the ipod cheaper or there just trying to find new products that work for a shorter period of time so people have to use there battry replacement service i might be way of there by the way
  5. sethypoo macrumors 68000

    Oct 8, 2003
    Sacramento, CA, USA
    Apple should have a disclaimer on their site:

  6. Gymnut macrumors 68000


    Apr 18, 2003
    Well hopefully with new batteries the relative size of the iPod wil be unchanged.
  7. SeaFox macrumors 68020


    Jul 22, 2003
    Somewhere Else
    I think the advantage of Primatic Cells is that they don't have to be cylindrical. Many of today's Minidisc players use "gum-stick style" rechargeable batteries. The size and shape seems unervingly similar to the latest alkaline batteries.


    That image is from this Wired Magazine blurb about Duracell's new Prismatic alkaline cells.

    Last sentence of the byte: "Look for a flood of MP3 players that slip easily into the back pocket of a pair of hip-huggers."

    Now take recent rumors of 2GB MiniPods, or iPod updates in general and put two and two together.

    Adopting this new battery technology may allow Apple to fit more battery into the current iPod casing, or they may get more use for the existing space of the old Lithium-Polymer battery (if only we had an electrical engineer or someone who knew more about the two technologies here).

    I agree battery life is the #1 problem with the iPod. Video playback and such are just stupid gadgety add-ons, the battery problem effects the player in its current form and is usually the #3 issue competitors (DELL and iRiver) attack with their products (the first two being price and WMA compatability).
  8. theipodgod16 macrumors 6502

    Aug 10, 2003
    Berkeley, CA
    maybe this battery will be used in the replacement plan? (cheaper battery)??
  9. warcraftmaster macrumors regular

    Dec 5, 2003
    i found some thing?

    products range from long established technologies like Lead Acid Batteries through to the more recent Lithium Ion and Lithium Polymer cells providing high energy density in low profile packages.

    sound d*mm good to me:D
    :eek: well good night :eek:
  10. joed macrumors regular

    Feb 15, 2002
    Budapest, Hungary
    Or what if this new battery is for replaceable batteries instead on the current non-replaceable (I mean, I can take out the batteries and buy new ones to replace).

    And if true, I'm sure this is also to cut the cost.

  11. ITR 81 macrumors 65816

    Oct 24, 2003
    I could've told you 3 months ago Apple would change the current battery for a longer lasting one and this mostly because of all the people that complain about the low battery life.
    I still get 8hrs and 10mins on my 3 month old 40GB iPod which I use almost every day.
  12. AndrewMT macrumors regular

    Jul 22, 2002
    NOVA, or Northern Virginia to the lay person.
    That's funny that you mention minidiscs. I have two minidisc players/recorders (one from sharp, one from sony), and they have EXTREMELY good battery life. The rectangular battery is rougly the same volume as one AA battery and allows my minidisc to play for over 12 hours. Now, it seems to me that the iPod (who's hard drive only occasionally spins to load a song into memory) should use less battery than a minidisc which has to continually spin and a laser which has to continually allign itself under a portion of the disc. Am I wrong? Why can't Apple make a portable music player with the same battery life as any minidisc player on the market?
  13. Dahl macrumors 6502a

    Nov 21, 2002
    Danionics polymer battery can seem like plastic, they will perform very well in a very "slim design", where's new prismatic based design often is thicker.

    I know nothing about these batteries, but I'm danish, so I could translate some of this.

    I find it a bit odd, if Apple wants a battery type that might take up more space, but who knows. Maybe the new battery will work better and if the rest of the iPod continue to get smaller, the overall case will probably still be small.

    btw. The company got a new deal with Samsung for a tablet PC.
  14. Analog Kid macrumors 601

    Analog Kid

    Mar 4, 2003
    Ok, I'm not an expert by any means, and I can't give a detailed explanation yet, but I know this is off base. Lithium polymer does not need to be a cylindrical cell. The key advantage that I've heard touted is that you can mold it to whatever shape you care to.

    I've heard it put so far as to say you can make the housing the battery...

    I think the confusion comes from the presumably wrong translation that a prismatic cell has a liquid electrolyte. That's not the case-- those are two separate issues. Prismatic simply means square (think 9V) and cylindrical is round (think AA).

    Cylindricals with common chemistries typically have better energy density (power per volume/weight) and are typically cheaper to produce, but some genius eventually figured out that round batteries were being put into square holes and all the volume was wasted anyway.

    Wet or dry electrolytes are a separate consideration.

    Lithium polymer has been touted as the next bit thing in battery chemistries. They claim several advantages:
    You can shape them how you care to more easily
    Higher energy density than Lithium Ion
    Less dangerous (remember the flaming PBs?)
    No leak hazards

    It's not clear to me how much of that was hype, and how much was real, but the idea of "plastic batteries" caught a lot of people's imaginations.

    There may be other users out there, but the iPod is the first mass production unit I've seen using LiPolymer, and I've been interested to see how they did.

    I'll poke around and see if I can put specifics to the claims, but my guess is that Apple has been having reliability problems with a young technology and are making the switch because the lost energy is worth the fewer headaches.

    I don't think this is going to help the iPod specs, but it might help the cost and reliability of the device.
  15. Analog Kid macrumors 601

    Analog Kid

    Mar 4, 2003
    Best I can find so far:

    Again, no real specifics... Maybe someone knows more?

    Interesting that I found several sites with identical wording... Wonder if they were written/submitted by the same person or if they were just plagiarized...
  16. Stephanos macrumors newbie

    Dec 17, 2003
    London, UK
    Lithium Polymer Batteries

    AFAIK Lithium Polymer batteries also have the advatage of zero memory effect (i.e. there is no loss of battery life if you start recharging the battery before it's empty). Lithium Ion batteries had a significantly less intense memory effect than older NiMH (Nickel - Metal - Hydride) batteries.

    The NiMH batteries in my Sony CD Walkman (same as those in Sony MD players) last for an obscene amount of time, but if I start charging them before they are completely drained I can expect my battery life to drop to near zero in no time.

    Additionaly, Li-Polymer batteries have incredibly accurate battery life meters.

    And no, the iPod is not the first mass market device with Li-Polymer batts. The Ericsson T38i (I think) was the first one (that old phone that came out about 3-4 years ago with the squat flattened antenna, ridiculously unresponsive interface and the flip that flipped out with a button that *always* went bad after about a month or so causing the flip to be open all the time). Since then a lot of mobile phones use this kind of batteries.

    Then again, I'm sure most of you are in the US where as I understand it mobile phones are a bit behind the times... but here in Europe (and most of the rest of the GSM world) Li-Polymer batteries have been the standard for high-end phones for years because of their compact size, lack of memory effect and accurate voltage gauges.
  17. aggemam macrumors member

    May 7, 2002
    I am Danish.

    Apple rejects Danionics for newest iPod

    "The battery-company Danionics has been laid off by Apple. The American IT-company has rejected the technology from the Funen(1)-based company for the new generation of the super-selling little multi-device iPod.

    Apple is still placing their bet on lithium-ion, but another kind of it.

    "Apple has chosen a prismactic (fluid-based) type, while ours is polymer", Niels Kryger Andersen (CEO of Danionics) informs.

    Large performance in thin form-factor
    Polymer kind of like plastic, and according to the CEO, it results in a great performance in a very thin form-factor - whereas the liquid-based typically are a little thicker.

    Niels Kryger Andersen may instead please himself with the order from electronics gigant Samsung, which arrived medio November. Danionics will deliver a battery for a special model of a kind of Tablet PC.

    Niels Kryger Andersen has not before been willing to tell wheter Apple was one of the customers, because of an agreement with the customer. But Apple ran into trouble because of the durability of the iPod batteries.

    "We're not the only ones delivering for the iPod, and we're not knowing of our batteries not lasting", says NKA.

    According to him, the Danionics battery will still perform at 80% of the full capacity, even after 3 years of tough use.

    The trouble is caused by two young brothers' anti-advertisement campaign for iPod. According to the brothers, the battery died after just 18 months, and a replacement would cost more than a new iPod.

    The brothers' accusation has now been spread all other the world via their website This page shows videos of the brothers spraying messages on large outdoor campaigns for iPod.

    Bank analytics skeptical

    (here, they just discuss the future of Danionics, not Apple).

    (1) Funen is a Danish island
    (Edit:) Typos and corrections
  18. Sol macrumors 68000


    Jan 14, 2003
    Replacable battery

    Maybe it is time to redesign the iPod with replaceable batteries. Two AA batteries maybe. If battery is the component most likely to fail first then it should be cheaply and easily replacable.
  19. MattMass macrumors newbie

    Dec 17, 2003
    Montreal, Quebec
    Basically, prismatic refers to a shape of cell - it does not mean fluid-based. Lithium-Ion batteries are always liquid based, and are almost always cylinders. One post was very correct about safety; when they fail, they fail catastrophically.

    Lithium polymer batteries are never liquid based, and as a direct result, do not fail catastrophically. They are hands-down safer than lithium-ion, and do offer a better energy-density. The added bonus is that they can be a variety of shapes, but I have rarely seen anything other than prismatic (rectangular) cells.

    I don't see any reason why Apple would use a Li-Ion cell in the iPod, when a polymer cell will be better in every respect except for price.
  20. mjtomlin Guest

    Jan 19, 2002
    On the subject of battery life...

    I have a question; Did Apple change the battery since the original iPod? It's funny to hear people complaining about the battery when my iPod, which is now two years old, still gets 9+ hours! There was a point in time when it would die after a couple of hours, but after Apple released that firmware update, the battery went back to it's normal duration. And it's been fine since.

    Anyway, it sounds to me like maybe Apple is just not satisfied with this particular manufacturer and decided not to order from them anymore. This makes even more sense after reading about the mentioning of the two morons from New York.
  21. SeaFox macrumors 68020


    Jul 22, 2003
    Somewhere Else
    I was thinking exactly the same thing last night. The newest minidisc players can get up to 82 hrs playback (LP4 mode) with the gumstick batteries. Can a HD really be that much heavier to spin?
  22. acj macrumors 6502

    Feb 3, 2003
    Re: Lithium Polymer Batteries

    I am quite sure NiMH batteries have almost or completely no memory effect.

    Their disadvantage is approximately a 3-5% self discharge per day. If you do the math right they are essentially discharged in a couple months.

    Some NiMH batteries have the advantage of extremely quick "chargability," like 15 minutes or even less for smaller cells. Not powered by firewire though...
  23. Wash!! macrumors 6502

    Jan 8, 2002
    here, there, who knows
    I want my ipod to be power by....

    a fusion reactor or a warp drive anything less is unacceptable :D

    But a new battery tech for the ipods it's always a good thing, I personally don't have any complains for my 15gig 3g ipod it rocks!!!
  24. TorbX macrumors regular

    Nov 14, 2003
  25. neoserver macrumors 6502

    Apr 24, 2003
    Re: Lithium Polymer Batteries

    I thought it was the Ni-cad batteries that had the huge memory effect. The NiMH batteries had very little memory effect that i can remember... something sticks in my mind about the ni-cads

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