When the iPad 3′s battery meter indicates a full charge, it’s usually only charged at 90%, cheating users of over an hour’s worth of usage.
Ever since the launch of the iPhone 4S in the fall of 2011, battery life has taken center stage in Apple discussion. While many pinned hopes to iOS 5.1 that it would deliver a more optimized software solution for managing battery longevity, others fretted over whether or not the iPad 3′s impressive, new Retina display and 4G LTE connectivity would lead to similar battery issues with Apple’s newest-generation tablet.
Today, an article in the Mail is claiming that the iPad 3′s battery underperforms by as much as 10%. They explain that the reason is because “the formula used to calculate when the device is ‘full’ is slightly off – a safety mechanism used by Apple to prevent people overcharging their gadgets.” Because overcharging rechargeable batteries can significantly reduce their capacity, the battery charger stops charging the battery before its reaches a true 100% charge — and the battery indicator indicates a full charge once the charger turns on this failsafe.
Believe it or not, this feature has been used on all of the other most popular Apple devices, including the latest iPhones, iPods, and iPads. Typically, however, the battery charger failsafe on these other devices have stopped charging the battery once it reaches around 97% capacity. With the New iPad, the charger is cutting off at 90%. This, together with the fact that the New iPad’s battery cell is 1.7 times larger than the battery pack on the iPad 2, leads to a significant loss of use time for users, losing up to 1.2 hours of use.
In addition, the larger battery pack on the iPad 3 takes a significantly longer time to charge while in use. According to the Mail article, “users who attempt to charge new iPad while using it could be in for a surprise – it can take up to 20 hours,” thanks to the power consumption of the screen, which is 2.5 times higher than that of the iPad 2.
Fortunately, some of these battery issues might be fixable with software updates down the road. iOS 5.1 was met with mixed reviews on how well it improved the battery life of the iPhone 4S. It is likely that iOS 6 — or even an iOS 5.1.1 or iOS 5.2 patch — could usher in even further software tweaks to improve the longevity of the iPad 3.