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
Comments Locked


View All Comments

  • Confusador - Friday, March 9, 2012 - link

    "It really is great to see Apple pushing display technology so aggressively and at reasonable price points. I do hope it's only a matter of time before we see a similar trend on the Mac side."

    I have to agree with this sentiment, as I've been hoping for higher resolution monitors for some time. Not that I use a Mac, but still it would be nice to see pressure coming from somewhere - I certainly expect to benefit from the pressures this display will put on Android tablets.
  • antef - Friday, March 9, 2012 - link

    It matters a lot less on a desktop monitor that you're probably sitting a good couple feet away from. During normal usage of my 1920x1200 24" display I don't really feel like it needs extra resolution or sharpness. And yes there's an iPhone 4S in my household so I have that to compare to.
  • ZeDestructor - Friday, March 9, 2012 - link

    I have used 1920x1200 displays (not mine), and I'd quite like a boost. Text in partcular doesn't render properly at small sizes, and as someone who deals a lot with text (IRC, code), finding that one font-size that's small enough to show a lot of code but big enough to render properly is annoying. Especially if you like having smooth edges.
  • WaltFrench - Friday, March 9, 2012 - link

    I don't imagine that many people will buy an iPad for coding, even if it gives more visual bandwidth.

    But I'm a bit surprised that you don't find acceptable fonts for such high-pixel-count screens. Maybe it's a rendering issue???
  • chemist1 - Sunday, March 11, 2012 - link

    "Especially if you like having smooth edges."

    Yes, I think that's precisely what it comes down to. I use my 24" Dell 2408WFP Ultrasharp, 1920x1200, principally for text, and I'm happy with the resolution (94 ppi) -- because, on my Mac, I defeat as much of the text smoothing as possible (for coding, I find unsmoothed Monaco is the sharpest-looking in Terminal). OTOH, even with the higher-res 129 ppi screen on my notebook, anti-aliased fonts look blurry to me. I don't know what pixel density would be necessary to make them look sharp -- I suspect even doubling the res. of the 24" display would not be sufficient. Laser printer output looks sharp enough to me, but I understand that is 600 -1800 dpi.
  • dasgetier - Friday, March 9, 2012 - link

    As an enthusiast hobby photographer and developer, I would definitely love to see 24" or 27" monitors with 4K resolutions at 16:10 aspect ratios.
  • B3an - Friday, March 9, 2012 - link

    I'd love 4K res on a 30" monitor. That would be so perfect for image editing... and playing games of course.

    And as for the iPad 3, totally not interested. Waiting for Windows 8 tablets. Preferably one with a keyboard dock, because then it will also replace my laptop. A dockable Win 8 tablet is pretty much the ultimate portable device and i've no idea why anyone would buy an iPad once these things are out later this year.
  • french toast - Friday, March 9, 2012 - link

    Yes i totally agree with you, wp7 Mango is already as slick and fast as ios 5.1... on far less powerfull hardware.

    W8 will bring the same level of slickness on comparable hardware..just with the added benefit of more freedom and more power....Microsoft is back in the game baby.
  • Michiel - Friday, March 9, 2012 - link

    Dreams are good, dreams are fun, dreams are interesting.

    Keep on dreaming.

    Microsoft is down and out !
  • WaltFrench - Friday, March 9, 2012 - link

    Microsoft has a great opportunity in the Enterprise, because companies are already on board with management tools, development tools, training and the like.

    That's not what moves phones, nor is it what moves consumer products. Win8 doesn't seem to offer desktop users much of anything they don't already have, and the tablet-specific stuff comes with a bunch of new limitations (no Flash in the mobile IE; no legacy apps in Windows on ARM) that will require careful attention to deployment plans over the next couple of years. With PC sales on the wane in the developed world, and zero presence in the consumer space, the very nice and useful Win8 features are not likely to result in a lot of sales at least thru the first half of 2013.

    By which time it wouldn't be surprising to see “the new iPad (4th generation; early 2013” together with even better tools to exploit Apple's expansion into business. And their so-far total domination of the non-subsidized tablet business. And their continuing success with consumer handsets.

    Microsoft is more than capable of first-class software development. Its mistakes in the phone area alone are enough that I'm surprised Ballmer still has his job. They have their work cut out to communicate to individuals what Win8 ARM/X86 tablets and multiple phone brands will do for consumers that THEY want to do.

Log in

Don't have an account? Sign up now