Apple Addresses New iPad Battery Charge Issue

The new iPad's battery may show it as fully charged before it is. That's due to a cycling feature built into iOS.

There are reports that the new iPad keeps charging beyond the point where the battery icon indicates it is 100 percent charged€”which is actually a value-added feature that Apple Vice President Michael Tchao said has been built into the product€™s operating system, iOS, for a while.

DisplayMate analyst Ray Soneira reported that the iPad says it is fully charged when it is not. What is happening, according to Tchao is that the new iPad runs on a cycle where it fully charges, then discharges, then fully recharges in order to maintain an optimum charge. €œThat circuitry is designed so you can keep your device plugged in as long as you would like,€ he told the technology blog AllThingsD. €œIt€™s a great feature that€™s always been in iOS.€

Apple promises 10 hours of battery life for the latest version of the iPad, which has yet to be given an official moniker Apple usually bestows upon the updated versions of its products. Yankee Group analyst Carl Howe told AllThingsD that battery charging is a complex process, the specifics of which are best left to engineers. €œWhat€™s really subtle is that consumers think they understand that 100 percent means €˜full,€™€ Howe was reported as saying. €œThat might have been the case with older batteries, but today€™s batteries have microprocessors managing their charging. So 100 percent is whatever that microprocessor says it is €” it€™s not any absolute measurement of ion concentration or anything.€

The battery life indicator, however small an overall component of the tablet, has not been the only feature that has drawn attention to the iPad. The new tablet also operates at higher temperatures€”the back of the new iPad reached temperatures as high as 113 degrees Fahrenheit€”than the iPad 2 when running a processor-intensive game, according to a recent test by Consumer Reports. The iPad 2, subjected to the same tests, ran between 12 and 13 degrees cooler than the new iPad.

The new iPad features a high-resolution Retina Display, an improved camera and processor, and comparable battery life to its predecessors. The new iPad€™s prices top out at $699 for the WiFi-only, 64GB model and $829 for the 64GB model with WiFi and 4G. Apple said it has sold 3 million new iPads since the next-generation tablet€™s March 16 release.

Philip Schiller, the company€™s senior vice president of worldwide marketing, claimed in a company release that the opening sales weekend had produced €œthe strongest iPad launch yet.€

Apple could sell 66 million iPads this year, buoyed by strong interest in its newest version, according to Gene Munster, an analyst with Piper Jaffray. By 2015, Munster suggested, the iPad market will expand to some 176 million units. He also believes that Apple will release a €œsub-$300 iPad€ sometime in 2013.

€œDue to the strong launch, we are raising our [calendar year 2012] iPad estimates from 60 [million] to 66 [million],€ Munster wrote in a March 20 research note. €œWe believe the unprecedented ramp of the iPad over the past year is evidence that the tablet market will be measurably larger than the PC market.€