Apple Inc. (Nasdaq: AAPL) says there is a problem with its latest mobile operating system that is shortening the battery life of iPhones, iPads and iPods that use the software.

Spokeswoman Natalie Harrison said Wednesday that a small number of customers have reported lower-than-expected battery life on devices running on the company’s iOS 5 operating system.

“A small number of customers have reported lower than expected battery life on iOS 5 devices,” 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.”

Harrison declined to comment further about what may be causing the problem.

The statement comes after users took to message boards and discussion forums to complain about weak battery life after downloading the new iOS 5 mobile operating software that was released last month with the iPhone 4S.

The glitch is the second consecutive iPhone release in which Apple has had to issue a fix. Last year, Apple released a software update and gave away free cases after some customers complained that the handset would drop calls if gripped a certain way.

“I am experiencing very very poor battery life on iPhone 4 since installing iOS 5,” said one person on Apple’s discussion forum.

“I upgraded to iOS 5 last night and I noticed that my battery only lasts about 5 hours from full charge,” said another.

She said Apple has found bugs in the program and will release a software update to address them in a few weeks.

The latest iPhone, the 4S, comes with iOS 5.

Other devices can be upgraded to run the software: The iPhone 3GS or 4, iPads and an iPod Touch released in September 2009 or later.

(Bloomberg and The AP contributed to this report.)

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