Apple Replacing ‘Limited’ Number Of iPhone 5s With Manufacturing Issue Leading To Battery Life Problem

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Apple released a statement today to The New York Times noting that a manufacturing issue has caused shortened battery life in a ‘very limited’ number of iPhone 5s devices. At its introduction, the phone was reported by Apple to have nearly identical life to the iPhone 5, and most tests have borne that out with reviewers seeing identical or slightly improved numbers.

The statement, issued by an Apple spokesperson, indicates that a small number of the iPhones that Apple has sold so far are defective. Here’s the statement given to the Times:

“We recently discovered a manufacturing issue affecting a very limited number of iPhone 5S devices that could cause the battery to take longer to charge or result in reduced battery life,” said Teresa Brewer, an Apple spokeswoman. “We are reaching out to customers with affected phones and will provide them with a replacement phone.”

The Times says that Apple’s statement ‘implies’ that this is only a few thousand devices, but Apple themselves gave no exact number. Apple sold 9 million iPhone 5s, iPhone 5c and iPhone 4s devices in its launch weekend in September.

iPhones do not have user replaceable batteries, making the life of those batteries of paramount importance. In general, iPhones get comparable battery life to other devices in the same size and thickness. Other devices from Motorola, Samsung and more have made design decisions that allow them to get greater battery life by packing in larger or thicker battery packs.

If that reputation for decent, if not exhilarating, battery life is going to be maintained, Apple will want to make sure that they clamp down on this issue quick. Of course, the bad news about iPhone 5s battery life issues arrives ahead of iPad Air reviews, which are expected later today. Slick.

We’ve reached out to Apple to see if it has any more information to share.