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If you missed out on the initial shipment of the iPhone 4S, you may want to count yourself lucky.

Apple engineers are reportedly contacting new iPhone 4S customers to collect more information about a possible defect in the device’s battery, reports the Guardian.

Some customers (including VentureBeat’s very own Devindra Hardawar) are reporting the phone’s battery life will randomly and dramatically decrease — even when the phone isn’t in constant use. For instance, people are doing things like leaving their phones on a bedside table over night at full charge, only to wake up to find that the device is completely dead (or devoid of battery power).

According to the Guardian report, Apple engineers have asked some iPhone 4S customers to install a monitoring program on the device so that the company can better diagnose the problem.

There are a number of possible causes for the accelerated power drain from the iPhone 4S’ battery. The updated phone features a more powerful A5 dual-core processor, which enables it to perform a number of power-intensive tasks that weren’t possible on the previous phone model. Also, some of the Apple help message boards have suggested that a person could have corrupted contacts that were imported from MobileMe, iCloud or Google.

The 4S already has an unimpressive standby time (the total amount of time the device can stay powered when inactive) of 200 hours. That’s 100 hours less standby time than the iPhone 4, and 50 less than the first generation iPhone.

For now, Apple hasn’t determined exactly what’s causing the power drain, and until it does, it cannot come up with a definitive solution.

Have you experienced phantom power draining on your new iPhone 4S? Let us know in the comments.

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