The new iPad battery: Same great lifespan, tons more capacity

Phil Schiller talking about the new iPad battery

At the new iPad event, one of the most remarkable announcements came when Apple claimed the new iPad will maintain the same battery life as the iPad 2, despite having 4G LTE and a Retina display suckling away the power. While batteries aren't exactly the flashiest of features, the fact that Apple has managed to offer so much more and only make the new iPad under a millimeter thicker and a scant 50 grams heavier is a huge achievement.

So, just how big is the battery?  The new iPad clocks in at 42.5 watt-hours, which works out to 11,666 mAh. That is a solid 70% boost to capacity over the iPad 2's 25 watt-hour,  6,944 mAh battery.  The new iPad maintains the established 10-hour lifespan standard, and even if you're active over LTE rather than Wi-Fi, you're still getting a very respectable 9 hours of life. 

To put that in context, an iPad 2 with the new battery, if such a device existed, would probably last close to 20 hours on Wi-Fi

How does this shape up versus other LTE tablets? Well, Samsung claims the LTE-enabled Galaxy Tab 10.1 has 12 hours of continuous usage with a 7000 mAh battery, while AT&T claims just as much with HTC Jetstream and its 7,300 mAh battery. Of course, these are dealing 1280 x 800 screens, which are bound to be way less taxing on lifetime, but it's still a considerable difference.

Of course, we aren't going to know for sure if the new iPad lives up to those figures until we get our mitts on one next week, but this isn't an area where Apple tends to disappoint. I'm curious to see the teardown of the new iPad so we can see how much the battery has physically grown, how the weight is distributed throughout the devices, and most importantly, what if any new innovations Apple may have come up with.

Until then, we'll have to cross our fingers and hope that even with the mind-blowing Retina display, the new iPad manages to live up to battery life expectations.

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Simon Sage

Editor-at-very-large at Mobile Nations, gamer, giant.

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The new iPad battery: Same great lifespan, tons more capacity

21 Comments

Re: "While batteries aren’t exactly the flashiest of features, the fact that Apple has managed to offer so much more and only make the new iPad under a millimeter thicker and a scant 50 grams heavier is a huge achievement."
Agree. Apple has done a lot of work on fundamental battery technology (and yes, they've patented some of their technology and production processes.) And we wouldn't be surprised at all to see "the new iPhone" use the same battery technology, especially if it too has LTE connectivity.

Dude get over the flash garbage. Nobody needs flash anymore, it's done. And nobody cares about flash anymore. Websites and devs have moved on. There are other alternatives to flash that are way better. We're in 2012 not the 1980's.

Along with others - time to move on from Flash. Even Adobe finally came to the realization it's not good for mobile.
I guess I'm more hung up on where a flash argument has anything at all to do with LTE being added? #argumentfail

Plus, I find that more and more sites are moving away from flash. I can tell, because when I visit a site with a bunch of flash animations, my laptop cooling fan always has to fire up. LOL!

Come out of the closet, kid! We all know you want an iPad - you wouldn't be posting constantly on this site if you didn't.

Soon Android devices won't come with Flash support. Adobe has basically given up on Flash in favor of HTML 5.

Adobe has discontinued development of Flash for mobile. It will maintain the current build with security updates, but there will be no Flash 11 or 12 or 13 (if Flash survives that long) for mobile. The touch friendly IE 10 on Windows 8 will also not support Flash. Flash just isn't the best way to get things done. It is a dying technology. Soon Android users will start seeing the message that they need to update to Flash 11 and go to the Market to do so, only to see Flash 10 as the only available option. That sort of Flash "support" is more confusing and frustrating than not supporting it at all.

Surely some of the battery performance times should have gone up? for instance standby time or listening to music with the screen off? that is unless the new chipset is really power hungry even when not being pushed.

I'd assume you'll get better battery life under those conditions. They're just guaranteeing the same under LTE and Retina display conditions. If you aren't utilizing either of those things, i'd say your battery life should be better.
This is part of the reason I'm kind of glad Apple only used quad-core for the graphics engine. It doesn't eat battery like a quad-core would unless it "needs" to.

I've heard the claim that the Retina display is MUCH LESS efficient than its predecessor for various reasons. That would be consistent across various uses, explaining the much more capacious battery for basically equivalent hours watching DVDs w/ LTE off.
We'll see when shops like DisplayMate get their hands on one. My recollection is that the Prexy, who was quoted over the original “retina” pseudo-controversy, told me maybe a year ago that the technology would be almost impossible for battery reasons (but I can't find that email). We'll see if indeed Apple pushed the envelope, and if that display is as incredible as some have said.

Why does everybody assumes that the new screen draws more power than the old one? They have the same area, so the power usage should be about the same.
Besides, where there was one pixel before, now there are four smaller ones, with some spece between them, so in fact there is less illuminated area, and thus less power consumption.
Granted, the GPU has to do more math to draw the screen, but that has nothing to do with the power consumption of the screen itself.

Rumors suggest the large higher res screen needed a second light bar on the other side to make it as bright as before since the holes that the light shines through are smaller. There is spacing around the pixels that light does not shine through, you just can see that easily with the naked eye. More pixels in the same area means more spacing and this less overall area for light to shine through.
The screen light is typically one of the biggest draws of power in these devices so doubling that could conceivably require a 70% bigger battery.

Under a millimiter thicker is not a indication of anything. If the old battery was one millimiter thick, a 0.6 mm would be an increase of 60%, more than enough to account for the power increase.
How much does the current battery weight? How much the new battery weights? Did those 50 grams go to the battery? Did Apple shave some aluminum in order to accomodate a larger battery?
If you guys want to appear technical, you have to do better than that. For all we know Apple just crammed a larger battery in to the iPad, and thus it is obvious that it should keep up with a larger power consumption. Nothing huge about that.

under 1 mm thicker was the entire device. increasing capacity 70% and an LTE radio and adding that small thickness is impressive no matter how you slice it.

How does this translate to an WiFi only model? Having never owned an iPad, Do they use less power on WiFi than on Cellular like iPhones do?

Apple claims 10 hours on Wifi and 9 hours on LTE. So, it does use less power on Wifi.
I have the original iPad and it has fantastic battery life. I charge like once a week.

It doesn't sound that good.
My ipad 2 takes more than 3 hours (sometime 4) to fully charge it. Now how long do I need to wait until new ipad fully charged up

Good point, but that's a separate issue, and I wouldn't just try to extrapolate as you have.
Apple is obviously pushing the envelope here. I suspect they know people will figure it's worth it, in terms of extra weight, recharge time and cost — the iPad2 apparently delivers almost identical results except for the screen & LTE. And they'll still sell the 2 in case some people are happy with a less expensive, lower-rez option.