Battery life is one of the most talked about subject in the 2012 iPad launch. On Marh 7, 2011 Tim Cook said –
The newer 2012 iPad comes with 42.5 Watt Hour rechargeable Lithium battery, compared to iPad 2’s 25-watt-hour rechargeable lithium battery. That is a whopping 70% increase in battery life.
Depending upon how you look at this you either admire or denounce the new battery in the new iPad. You admire because Apple is able to give you a much larger capacity battery while not charging you more for it. But what you may not like is the fact that the extra 70% bigger battery does NOT give you any more battery life than the iPad 2. Think of it at another perspective – you could get 70% more battery life in iPad 2, if Apple would have used this battery in the iPad 2 – a whopping 17 hours up from 10 hours that present iPad 2 has. !!!
This also brings another point, the iPad 3 consumes more power and heats more than an iPad 2 would. In other words, we get LESS BATTERY LIFE per watt hour of the battery. Apple has identical specification for both the iPad 2 and the new 2012 iPad.
Upto 10 hours of surfing the web on Wi-fi, watching videos, or listening to music
That gives the following result
Battery life per Watt hour of the battery for 2012 iPad = 10 hours / 42.5 Watt Hour = 14.11 minutes
Battery life per Watt hour of the battery for 2012 iPad = 10 hours / 25 Watt Hour = 24 minutes
The iPad 2 lasts 24 minutes for every 1 Watt-Hour battery life. By comparison the new iPad 3 lasts only 14.11 minutes. Is the new Retina display worth it ?
Details of the Batteries
The energy density of the batteries in the 2012 iPad 2 is the same as that of the iPad 2, 0.0014 watt-hour / mm^3. Apple physically increased the size of each cell by about 70%, which explains why the new 2012 iPad in thicker.
The new higher capacity battery is also against the apple’s claim of being environmentally friendly with a “Recyclable aluminum and glass enclosure.”
While the materials may be recyclable, but the assembled unit is not. According to Steve Skurnac, president of SIMS Recycling Solutions—one of the largest electronics recyclers in the world, the “Sealed units make it difficult to remove the batteries. From a recycler’s point of view, the hazardous components like battery need to be assembled in a way that it can be easily separated or removed.”
The Higher capacity also means that the newer iPad will take longer to recharge. From environment point of view, it is generating larger carbon footprint. With 100 million units being sold, ever single watt-hour counts.
There are two reasons why the newer iPad demands more power
1. The A5X processor now has two more GPU ( Graphics Processing Unit) cores. This roughly doubles the power consumed by the GPU core in the iPad.
2. The new retina display has four times the pixel density which makes the transmittance of the light difficult. The backlight power need to increased to be able to keep the same luminosity of the 2012 iPad as the iPad 2. The bulk of the power consumption increase comes from increase in the backlight power consumption.
We hope that Apple lovers do not get offended – we just want to tell Apple that we do not want change, just for the sake of it. We would have loved, if Apple had just upgraded the higher battery in iPad 2 and the Camera and would have given us the 17 hour battery life – at a price of $400. We see no reason why Apple could not do it, if Amazon can sell Kindle Fire for $199.
Besides the Battery the A5X processor has been another big disappointment in 2012 iPad. Read in the next post.