Did Apple lay an egg with iPhone firmware 3.1?

g_iphoneMy iPhone’s battery used to last the entire day and then some, but it’s been struggling to make it past dinnertime ever since I upgraded to firmware 3.1. But hey, at least I haven’t encountered “coma mode” yet.

The complaints about iPhone software 3.1, which added such features as Genius song mixes and App Store recommendations, have been piling up since its release early last month.

The first thing that many iPhone users—myself included—was a huge hit on battery life. An 89-page thread on Apple’s support pages is packed with users complaining about iPhone batteries that die after just a few hours of use, or lose big chunks of their charges while merely sitting in standby mode.

It’s been happening to me, too. Example: Earlier this month, during a train ride from New York to Philly, I decided to read a book on my iPhone’s Kindle app—and as I read, I watched my iPhone’s battery meter steadily tick down, about a percentage point a minute. I tried switching to Airplane mode to staunch the bleeding, but it didn’t do any good. By the time I arrived at the station, I was down to about 20 percent—and no, I hadn’t made any calls, watched any videos, or played any 3-D games. I wasn’t even using the Kindle app the entire time.

Of course, iPhone users have complained about poor battery life ever since the thing first came out, but after watching my iPhone’s battery go completely dead three times in a month after a moderate day’s use, well … believe me, this is different.

And that’s just one of the complaints about iPhone firmware 3.1. Fortune’s Apple 2.0 blog details the iPhone’s new “coma mode”: an apparent (and unwanted) 3.1 feature that turns the iPhone into a frozen paperweight, requiring a hard reset to revive.

Fortune also reports that some users have had trouble making calls or sending text messages after installing iPhone software 3.1, although that hasn’t happened to me yet.

So, what’s Apple’s response to all this? Well, as has been reported a few weeks back, Apple service reps have been quietly investigating the complaints about poor iPhone battery life after the 3.1 upgrade, although it hasn’t made any public announcements/explanations yet, and I’ve yet to see a reply from an Apple staffer on any of the various message threads.

In any case, I know I’m not alone in hoping that iPhone software 3.2—complete with a battery life fix—arrives real, real soon.

Any other iPhone users having battery life or “coma mode” trouble after upgrading to firmware 3.1?

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