One of the ugliest design choices for the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6s series is the protruding rear camera, which is a compromise between Apple’s design and camera teams. Some buyers concerned with battery life still say that Apple should increase the size of the iPhone and fix both the camera bump and battery life with one move. But Apple’s phones aren’t getting any thicker, and the camera bumps will still be there in the upcoming iPhone 7 models.
However, there’s an MIT spinoff company that has already figured out how to double iPhone battery life without making any changes to the phone’s thickness. And unlike other promising new battery technologies, this new type of battery is actually heading to mass production.
Called SolidEnergy Systems, the startup developed an “anode-free” lithium metal battery that is twice as dense as lithium-ion batteries, and just as safe and long-lasting, MIT News reports.
“With two-times the energy density, we can make a battery half the size, but that still lasts the same amount of time, as a lithium-ion battery,” said CEO of SolidEnergy and inventor Qichao Hu. “Or we can make a battery the same size as a lithium-ion battery, but now it will last twice as long.”
The company demonstrated the first working prototype in October 2015 using the iPhone 6’s battery as a comparison tool. The SolidEnergy battery was just half the size of the lithium-ion battery in the iPhone, yet it offered 2.0 amp hours, slightly more than the iPhone’s 1.8 amp hour battery.
The company plans to bring its battery technology to drones this November, to smartphones and wearables in 2017, and to electric cars a year later.
The new battery technology uses an ultrathin lithium metal foil for the anode (the negative electrode), which is one-fifth the thickness of a traditional lithium metal anode and “several times thinner and lighter than traditional graphite, carbon, or silicon anodes.” This is how the company was able to shrink down the size of the battery without losing battery life.
SolidEnergy also came up with a solid and liquid hybrid electrolyte solution that allows the battery to operate safely at room temperature. The resulting product is a battery that has the energy capacity of lithium metal batteries, but the safety and longevity of lithium-ion batteries that operate at room temperature.
Now someone just needs to fix that camera bump…