Apple concedes problem with iPhone 4S battery

— -- Apple concedes there's a problem with the new iPhone 4S battery life after all — a snag that apparently extends to other devices running the new iOS 5 mobile operating system software.

"A small number of customers have reported lower-than-expected battery life on iOS 5 devices," Apple spokeswoman Natalie Harrison said in a statement. "We have found a few bugs that are affecting battery life, and we will release a software update to address those in a few weeks."

Apple didn't reveal the nature of the bugs or go into any other specifics.

Harrison's statement follows a rash of complaints in various online Apple forums from customers upset about battery woes on the new iPhone 4S. As previously reported in USA TODAY, users said they've lost as much as 15% of the battery power per hour, even when the phone is not in active use. Last Friday, TheGuardian reported that Apple engineers contacted iPhone 4S owners seeking an answer to the battery issue.

Some speculation has centered around a location setting involving a "time zone" function that is useful for customers who travel a lot but that may potentially sap the battery. Also, iOS 5 brings a systemwide Notification Center that keeps users constantly informed of missed calls, messages, appointments, reminders and more.

Apple touted great battery life for the iPhone 4S — up to eight hours of 3G talk time — when it introduced the phone last month.

Creative Strategies President Tim Bajarin believes the fact that the issue can be resolved through a software fix makes a big difference and that sales won't be hurt. "Apple tends to wait until they're certain of a problem and then works very fast to try and correct it."

The fact that Apple said the bugs lie within iOS 5 suggests other products may be affected, including the iPad, iPod Touch and iPhone 4 and 3GS.