Apple Chooses Lithium Polymer Power – Just Like Spyder

Many types of batteries have been employed to power electronic devices. Some have had greater success than others (just ask some laptop users). But when it comes to what to put inside the iPhone, iPod and iPad, Apple’s technology of choice is Lithium-ion Polymer (also known as Lithium Polymer, Li-Poly or simply Li-Po).

As Apple themselves state: Lithium-ion polymer batteries pack in a higher power density than nickel-based batteries. This gives you a longer battery life in a lighter package, as lithium is the lightest metal. You can also recharge a lithium-ion polymer battery whenever convenient, without the full charge or discharge cycle necessary to keep nickel-based batteries at peak performance.

As with any technology, not all Li-Po power cells are created equal. Spyder Digital Research battery products (such as the PowerShadow i4 and i4X) use only A-grade Li-Po cells. A-grade cells offer higher power densities, longer run times and more charge cycles that the B-grade cells used in many other electronic devices.

Spyder’s lithium-ion polymer batteries use a fast charge to charge your device to 80% battery capacity, then switch to trickle charging. That means you can quickly charge your device to almost full capacity in a short period of time (of course, full charges will take longer). This also means that the PowerShadow i4 that you connect to your iPhone, or the i4x that you plug into your iPod will get your iOS device to near full charge very quickly. And of course, you can continue to use your iOS device while it’s charging.

Other benefits of Li-Po batteries include:

• Very low profile – so electronic devices can be made very thin;
• Flexible form factor – can be made into many shapes and sizes;
• Lightweight – important for electronic devices, such as smart phones;
• Improved safety – more resistant to overcharge; less chance for electrolyte leakage.

Cutaway illustration of Li-Po cell

Li-Po Cell Layers

As with all rechargables, you can charge lithium-ion batteries a large but finite number of times, as defined by charge cycles. A charge cycle means using all of the battery’s power, but that doesn’t necessarily mean a single charge. For example, if you recharged your device after using up only half its power per day, it would take two days to use up one charge cycle.

Each time you complete a charge cycle, it diminishes battery capacity slightly. However, it takes many, many charge cycles before Li-Po batteries only hold 80% of original battery capacity.


Technology Tell Reviews the PowerShadow i4

Hands on with Spyder Digital Research’s PowerShadow Battery Case and Charge/Sync Dock


Love your iPhone, but sick of running out of battery by the end of the day each day? Spyder Digital Research is here to help with a new docking case that charges your phone all day long.

Spyder’s PowerShadow Battery Case & Charge/Sync Dock, which works with both the iPhone 4 and 4S, consists of a thick case that charges the iPhone, as well as a USB-based dock that, essentially, charges the charger. It is also possible to charge the phone directly through the dock.

The product is ideal for people who use their phones on the go all day but aren’t ever near a charger. The company boasts that it enables 8 hours of extra talk on 3G, 11 hours of video or 44 hours of music. With my phone at 50 percent capacity after a full morning of listening to music and podcasts, I plugged it into the PowerShadow and it was 100 percent charged about an hour later.

The case also offers open access to the phone’s headphone port, volume controls, and locking button.

The case is a bit on the heavy side, and the $89.99 price tag is a bit high, but the PowerShadow case performs its stated function quite well.