Macworld says your new iPad’s battery is fine, charges full despite study

Mar 27, 2012
Tech

While a recent study suggests that Apple’s new iPad doesn’t really have a full battery when it says it does, one analysis of the facts suggests that the battery in the latest generation of the juggernaut tablet is nothing to worry about. That analysis comes from online site Macworld, the Apple-centric counterpart to PC World. […]

While a recent study suggests that Apple’s new iPad doesn’t really have a full battery when it says it does, one analysis of the facts suggests that the battery in the latest generation of the juggernaut tablet is nothing to worry about.

That analysis comes from online site Macworld, the Apple-centric counterpart to PC World. Macworld has looked into the battery charging issue and suggests that the new iPad’s battery is full when the battery indicator says so, and that battery health won’t be harmed from alleged “overcharging.”

Both those allegations against the new device came from a study by Dr. Raymond Soneira of DisplayMate Technologies. Soneira alleges that Apple designed the iPad to read 100 percent battery when the device will actually charge up more. That suggests, Soneira claims, that when the iPad says it’s at 100 percent battery charge, it’s really closer to 90 percent. That can knock about 1.2 hours off the iPad’s advertised 10-hour battery life, he said.

Macworld, on the other hand, says that when the iPad hits 100 percent charge, it means it. Yes, the iPad can charge up more, but the device is actually designed to take in less and less power as it nears the real 100 percent mark, in order to keep the battery from overcharging. Apple’s advertised battery life, according to a researcher from The Yankee Group, is from when the battery hits its 100-percent mark, not from the theoretical additional charge that the battery can continue to take in.

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Soneira also alleged that the iPad’s battery can be damaged from overcharging as well, but again, Macworld cites the fact that the battery is designed to avoid overcharging to dismiss the claim. Apparently, it’s the iPad battery’s “charging circuit,” a safeguard against overfilling the battery, that protects it from damage. The device is designed so that it’s not harmed if a user leaves it plugged in too long.

Now, it’s true that lithium-ion batteries can get less life if they’re allowed to overcharge frequently, but Apple doesn’t warn against that possibility in any of the manuals it packages with its iPad when users get it out of the box, suggesting the company doesn’t consider it a concern. The company does suggest that you charge in full cycles – filling your iPad all the way up with charge, and then letting it run all the way down – to maximize battery health. In fact, you should do that with all your electronics, as it keeps the batteries fuller for longer over the life of the device. Apple suggests that, even if you don’t use your iPad all that frequently, you run a charge cycle once a month to keep the device’s battery in good shape.

So it appears that maybe all the ado made about the iPad’s battery and its charging capabilities might have been a little premature. Now we just need to find out if there’s anything that Apple needs to do to take care of that reported overheating issue that renders iPads useless until they chill out a bit.

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Phil Hornshaw

Phil Hornshaw is a freelance writer, editor and author living in Los Angeles, dividing his time between playing video games, playing video games on his cell phone, and writing about playing video games. He’s also the co-author of So You Created a Wormhole: The Time Traveler’s Guide to Time Travel, which attempts to mix time travel pop culture with some semblance of science, as well as tips on the appropriate means of riding dinosaurs. Check out his profile.

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