It’s been revealed that the new iPad’s battery is a whopping 42Wh, which translates to 11,666mAh in capacity. This is 70% larger than the 25Wh (6944mAh) cell from the iPad 2. To put things in perspective, the new Asus Transformer Prime has a 25Wh cell and can achieve around 10 hours of battery life.
So why the change? Obviously the higher-brightness Retina Display, LTE chipset and faster processor are going to need more power, but what’s so interesting is how Apple managed to fit such a huge battery into a chassis less than a millimetre thicker than the previous model. Apple has clearly increased the efficiency of the lithium-ion cell technology it uses in its phones, which opens the doors for the next iPhone to have far more equivalent battery life per square inch (especially if it doesn’t go LTE).
But, turning it around, while it’s great that Apple managed to eke out 10 hours of battery from the new device, if the new iPad had kept the same 25Wh cell (and presumably gotten thinner instead of thicker) its battery life would be around six hours, the equivalent of many of the Android-based iPad competitors in the market.
This is an issue for the company, for they’ve set a precedent with their last two devices that cannot be redacted. Ten hours is the minimum battery life users are going to accept from an iPad, so Apple had to achieve that number at any cost. The cost, as we’ve learned, is a heavier, thicker tablet with drastically improved internals and the same battery life as before.