A Chinese regulatory filing indicates that Apple’s new flagship, the iPhone 12 Pro Max, is equipped with a less capacious battery than last year’s iPhone 11 Pro Max even though the Apple website listing both two smartphones as having the same battery life.
A filing with the Chinese Ministry of Industry and Information Technology’s Telecommunication Equipment Certification Center indicates the iPhone 12 Pro Max battery is 3,687 mAh versus a 3,969 mAh battery powering last year’s flagship, the iPhone 11 Pro Max. However, the Apple website lists both the iPhone 12 Pro Max and iPhone 11 Pro Max as having the same battery life, providing 20 hours of video playback and 80 hours of audio playback.
The filing, spotted by MacRumors, lists the iPhone 12 Pro Max with 6GB of RAM. Both the RAM capacity and a less capacious battery were mentioned by the rumor-mill recently. We won’t know for sure just how capacious the iPhone 12 Pro Max battery is until iFixit tears down the device and identifies the type of battery used.
A less capacious cell doesn’t necessarily translate to a poorer battery life. This year’s iPhones use the new A14 Bionic chip. The A14 is being fabbed on TSMC’s cutting-edge five-nanometer process technology versus the seven-nanometer TSMC process for the previous A13 Bionic.
The newer five-nanometer process results in smaller components that run faster and consume less power. So the iPhone 12 Pro Max is actually more power-efficient than its last year’s counterpart but its new hardware features consume more power, resulting in roughly the same run time as the iPhone 11 Pro Max.
Despite the apparent reduction in capacity, Apple says the iPhone 12 Pro Max performs similarly to last year’s handset. A comparison tool — somewhat vaguely — claims both iPhone models offer up to 20 hours of video playback between charges. That could be a negative for existing 11 Pro Max owners who need a midday top up.
This year’s iPhone includes a number of enhancements, some of which are major power sinks. New photography capabilities like 10-bit HDR and Dolby Vision HDR video recording are perhaps high on the list, but the main check to a long-lasting handset is the inclusion of power-hungry 5G connectivity. Nowhere will that be more noticeable than in the U.S., where iPhone supports speedy mmWave technology.
Apple will start accepting pre-orders for the iPhone 12 Pro Max on Friday, November 6. The handset is scheduled to go on sale the following week on Friday, November 13.