A Much Larger Battery

Apple claimed no decrease in battery life for the new iPad compared to last year's model and only a 1 hour drop over LTE. The problem is that the combination of A5X SoC under GPU load, the LTE baseband and driving/lighting all of those pixels in the Retina Display has a significant impact on power consumption.

Apple addressed the issue by increasing the new iPad's battery capacity by 70%. If the leaked PCB photos are accurate (they look to be), Apple increased battery volume by shrinking the motherboard size and increasing the thickness of the tablet.

The new 42.5Wh battery is downright huge. To put the new iPad's battery in perspective, this is nearly the same battery capacity as the what was shipping in the 2008 13-inch MacBook Pro. This is also a bigger battery than what's used in the 2011 11-inch MacBook Air:

Apple Battery Capacity Comparison

Over the next two years you can expect to see the line between ultraportable and tablet blur considerably. Looking at where the new iPad falls in the chart above really begins to exemplify just how blurry that line is going to become.

With the display off, the new iPad looks and feels a lot like the iPad 2. The additional thickness is hard to see, but the additional weight is definitely noticeable. The new iPad isn't as heavy as the original model, but it's clearly heavier than the iPad 2. I don't believe the added weight is a deal breaker, but it is a step backwards. Maintaining battery life however obviously trumps added weight.

The math is pretty simple. If Apple is claiming 10 hours of battery life with a 42.5Wh battery, the new iPad with the iPad 2's battery would likely be good for just under 6 hours. Such a drop would be unacceptable and thus the new iPad gets a bigger battery and incurs additional weight from the new battery and display components.

The CPU & More Final Words


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  • medi01 - Saturday, March 10, 2012 - link

    Don't iZombie much, please.

    I keep my phone and tablet at the same distance, I guess I "hold it wrong way" in Hypnosteve's books.

    The point of "retina" was that density was so high, that pixels were indistinguishable for a human eye. (distance matters a lot here) at some magical distance.

    Indeed by playing with distance one could reduce resolution yet claim "it's "retina"". But then one could apply that "retina" buzzword to many pieces of older hardware.

    Off-screen benchmarks show no practical results to the customers and are only deceiving. Nobody uses CPU/GPU on their own, it's used only with particular resolution screen and decoupling them is just a way to deceive.
  • doobydoo - Monday, March 12, 2012 - link

    How far you personally hold your tablet away is irrelevant. 'Retina' term isn't about you. It's about a typical user, with typical vision, holding the tablet at a typical distance, being unable to distinguish pixels.

    Typical users DO hold tablets further away, so it's perfectly logical.

    By 'Playing with the distance' you could indeed claim anything is retina - but that would make your claim incorrect because people don't hold the device at that distance, on average. The consensus amongst scientists and tech experts is that people DO hold tablets at the distance required to make this display retina.

    Off screen benchmarks eliminate both resolution and v-sync as factors (v-sync on screen benchmarks are the only reason the iPad 2 was slower in any GPU benchmarks - it limits FPS). As a result, you are given an accurate comparison of GPU performance. 'Practical Results' that you describe is a very difficult metric to calculate. While you would seemingly advocate a raw FPS metric, that fails to take into account resolution.

    For example, is 100 FPS at 10 x 10 resolution better than 60 FPS at 2000 x 1000? Of course not.

    Whichever way you look at it, the new iPad has a GPU which is up to 4x faster than the fastest Android tablet. It also has the best resolution. Any games designed to run on that high resolution will be tested to make sure they run at a playable FPS so the 'real world' performance will be both higher resolution and just as fast as any Android tablet.

    You seem to be completely bitter and unable to admit Apple has the technological lead right now.
  • seanleeforever - Monday, March 12, 2012 - link

    i didn't realize my 2 year old 1080p 65 inch TV was 'retina' display. Reply
  • Michiel - Friday, March 09, 2012 - link

    Envy eats you alive. Go see a shrink ! Reply
  • medi01 - Saturday, March 10, 2012 - link

    Oh, sorry, I've forgotten it's a status thing.
    People paying 20-50 Euros less for a Samsung Galaxy obviously can not afford these über - revolutionary devices, hence they could only envy.
  • ripshank - Sunday, March 11, 2012 - link

    medi01: So sad. Your remarks only show your insecurity to the world.

    Relax, breathe and just let others enjoy their gadgets of choice rather than resorting to name calling and mockery. Realize these are friggin gadgets, not politics or religion. But from your comments, it's like Apple killed your family, took away your job and stole your wife.

    What is wrong with the world today when people get so worked up over an object?
  • medi01 - Sunday, March 11, 2012 - link

    Ad hominem, eh?

    There is nothing wrong with objecting to lies.

    Reviewers "forgetting iPhone in the pocket" on comparison photos where it would look pale, including nVidia's cherry picked card vs AMD's stock on marketing department's request and "off-screen benchmarks" all over the place are not simply bad, it stinks.
  • stsk - Monday, March 12, 2012 - link

    Seriously. Seek help. Reply
  • doobydoo - Monday, March 12, 2012 - link

    1 - There is something wrong with objecting to lies INCORRECTLY. That's your own failing.

    2 - Ad hominem? I'll never understand why you Americans try to use that phrase all the time, as well as 'Straw man' - it not only makes you sound pretentious, trying to sound more intelligent than you are, it's also hypocritical:

    'Don't iZombie much, please.'

    Just say 'insults' - jeez.

    3 - Off-screen benchmarks are used by impartial review sites, as I explained above, because that is the only way to properly compare GPU performance. On-screen benchmarks have different resolutions and are limited by v-sync.

    4 - Claims of conspiracies on photos is just ridiculous.
  • Greg512 - Monday, March 12, 2012 - link

    "you Americans"

    Way to be a pretentious hypocrite.

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