Apple on Wednesday confirmed that some users of the iPhone 4S and other devices running iOS 5 are experiencing poor battery life and attributed the problem to a software bug. The company says it will soon issue a software update that fixes the problem.

"A small number of customers have reported lower-than-expected battery life on iOS 5 devices," an Apple statement reads. "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 has already delivered an early version of this fix to registered developers in the form of iOS 5.0.1, according to enthusiast sites. This update provides the battery-life fix plus some other improvements, including the addition of multitasking gestures to the first iPad; this feature is currently available only on the iPad 2.

As I noted the other day, this issue doesn't suggest that the iPhone 4S suffers from the same widespread and endemic hardware problems that faced users of the first iPhone 4. Last year, when customers began complaining of signal loss in the iPhone 4, Apple was silent for far longer and then responded with a belligerent press conference at which it claimed that all phones have problems rather than admitting to the problem. This time, the issue affects only certain users and Apple has responded much more quickly.

Furthermore, the battery-life problems appear to be solvable with a simple software fix. Apple wasn't able to fully solve the iPhone 4 antenna issue until it redesigned the system completely for the iPhone 4S.

My review of the iPhone 4S is now available on the SuperSite for Windows.