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