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Apple hires Samsung battery bigwig: More durable iPhone batteries incoming?

The former Samsung SDI executive now serves as Apple's global head of battery developments.

Published onJanuary 24, 2019

The Apple iPhone XS Max.
  • Apple has hired former Samsung SDI executive Soonho Ahn to lead its battery development.
  • The executive previously worked on next-generation battery tech at the Samsung company.
  • Ahn now serves as Apple’s global head of battery developments.

Apple’s latest crop of iPhones seem to offer solid endurance for the most part. But that hasn’t stopped the company from hiring a Samsung battery executive to (hopefully) drive improvements.

Soonho Ahn joined Apple last month from Samsung SDI (the Korean company’s battery division), according to Bloomberg. Ahn was a senior vice president at the Samsung unit, but now serves as the global head of battery developments at the Cupertino company, according to his LinkedIn account. Ahn’s profile noted that his work at Samsung SDI focused largely on next-generation battery solutions.

The outlet adds that Apple has used Samsung SDI batteries in its products before. And with the iPhone maker’s drive to gain more control over components, designing its own batteries could be the next step.

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It’s worth noting that Samsung SDI was responsible for making most faulty Galaxy Note 7 batteries, but the company also made the Galaxy S8 batteries. And Samsung touted the Galaxy S8 packs as being more durable than previous generations. In fact, the Korean company reportedly said Galaxy S8 batteries retain 95 percent capacity after two years of usage, compared to 80 percent capacity for the Galaxy S7. By comparison, Apple claims its batteries will retain 80 percent capacity after 500 charging cycles.

The Cupertino company could use better durability in the wake of its throttling scandal. It emerged in December 2017 that Apple was throttling iPhones with degraded batteries in order to maintain endurance. However, this move predictably resulted in slower iPhones, and the company slashed the price of battery replacements as a result of consumer anger. A move to more durable batteries would mean iPhones are able to maintain a healthy level of endurance over time, reducing the need for throttling and battery replacements a couple of years down the line.

NEXT: Samsung working on secondary display area to animate punch hole camera area?

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