We already knew from Apple’s iPad product page that the new tablet has a much higher battery capacity over the prior iPad. But is there a special or new 4G LTE chip to help? Based on iFixit’s teardown, it’s a battery-only solution; no advanced LTE chip.


We already knew from Apple’s iPad product page that the new tablet has a much higher battery capacity over the prior iPad. A teardown by iFixit confirmed this on Thursday, and it shouldn’t surprise: to light up more than 3 million pixels and use LTE networks, the iPad needs some serious juice to maintain 9 or more hours of battery life.

The iFixit teardown confirms something else I suspected. There’s no special chip magic helping to boost the battery life for the 4G tablet. Most LTE devices to date have struggled to offer more than 4 to 5 hours of battery life while using LTE networks, save the Motorola Droid Maxx, which does so the same way as Apple’s iPad — with a higher capacity battery.

How do I know there’s no magic pixie dust on the chips in Apple’s LTE tablet to help increase the run-time? Apple is using Qualcomm’s MDM9600 3G and 4G baseband chip, which has been used in Verizon’s LTE MiFi since April of last year, not to mention a number of other LTE devices since then.

Ultimately, iPad owners don’t care how Apple solved the LTE power consumption challenge, but now you know it’s all battery, which explains the increased thickness and weight. Maybe the next iPad will have that magic pixie dust!

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  1. This is a bit of a faulty assessment, Kevin. The iPad 3 gets the SAME battery life as the iPad 2 on WiFi. That means the extra battery is going to power the Retina Display, RAM, and the extra GPU cores in the A5X. The iPad 3 loses an hour when on LTE.

    1. Rob, you’re right that the battery is helping to power the higher resolution display as mentioned in the post. I did overlook any additional power requirements needed by the four graphics cores in the A5X. Thanks!

  2. Michael W. Perry Thursday, March 15, 2012

    It’ll be interesting to see what the battery life is if the screen is turned down a bit, cellular/WiFi is off, and no apps or making heavy use of that graphics.

  3. Are there any sites testing the new ipad battery length in the same manner as the 4g LTE phones with wifi off. It is not clear, Apple states test on cellular lines but does not specifically say 3G or 4G

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