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


View All Comments

  • joelypolly - Saturday, March 10, 2012 - link

    Regarding the filesystem, I believe that Apple already showed us a bit with ML's Save To iCloud functionality. In reality people don't really care how it is stored as long as it is easy to access. Reply
  • ltcommanderdata - Friday, March 09, 2012 - link

    Any idea about what the memory clocks are? Memory bandwidth seems to be an important limiting factor in driving the Retina Display.

    Does iOS 5.1 include new GPU drivers? If there were performance improvements, Apple might not be stretching so much in claiming 2x performance difference between the A5 and Tegra 3.

    Hopefully, lack of mention about CPU clocks just means the difference is small rather than nonexistent. Every new Apple SoC has always improved CPU performance, but when the improvements were small, namely the 33% clock increase in the 2nd gen iPod Touch, it wasn't mentioned until discovered by developers. A small CPU clock speed bump to 1.2GHz for the A5X would be nice.
  • ZeDestructor - Friday, March 09, 2012 - link

    I suspect its similar to how the Samsing Exynos 3110 (Hummingbird/S5PC110) is configured with the baseclock driving everything else. In this case, 250MHz. Admittedly in a dual-channel configuration here. Reply
  • ltcommanderdata - Friday, March 09, 2012 - link

    Well Anand reported 400MHz LPDDR for the iPhone 4 and 800MHz LPDDR2 for the iPhone 4S. A bump to 1066MHz LPDDR2 seems reasonable. Reply
  • solipsism - Friday, March 09, 2012 - link

    I assume it's the same as detailed in their iPhone 4S article. If I recall correctly that is 3.8Gb/s. Reply
  • AMDJunkie - Friday, March 09, 2012 - link

    Under "A Much Larger Battery," the comparison chart has says that the 11-inch MacBook Pro has a 63.5 MWh battery. That is the 13-inch MacBook Pro that has that capacity; I think the author may have mixed it up with the 11-inch MacBook Air. Reply
  • JarredWalton - Friday, March 09, 2012 - link

    Fixed (also goes for the comment below -- same error). Thanks! Reply
  • gorash - Friday, March 09, 2012 - link

    It says 11" MacBook Pro on the chart, I think that's a mistake. Reply
  • gorash - Friday, March 09, 2012 - link

    Yes, Apple is pushing high-res, but then again, the Galaxy Nexus already has 720p, and Transformer Infinity has 1200p. It's hard to say that it'll be a while before we start seeing high-res Android tablets. It seems that Samsung will easily make a 1200p tablet, hopefully on an OLED screen. Reply
  • ZeDestructor - Friday, March 09, 2012 - link

    There's a rumour at gsmarena (http://blog.gsmarena.com/samsung-galaxy-tab-11-6-w... that Samsung is planning to give us a 2560x1600 11.6" tablet. If they do that around the 500$ mark, it will be quite the succes. I for one just want 12 of those panels to build myself a 3x5120x3200 desktop monitor. I'll also need 4 GPUs...... Reply

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