Apple explains iPad battery indicator

March 28, 2012

There was another small dust-up this week over the new iPad and its battery, following a rash of complaints that the device charges too slowly. On Monday, DisplayMate analyst Raymond Soneira published an in-depth technical review of the new device, reporting that the battery indicator was showing more charge than it should.

According to Soneira, the battery indicator shows 100 percent charged before it reaches full charge, then continues charging and finishes its power cycle. With the battery at “100 percent,” he said, the iPad gets around 10.4 hours of battery life; with it charged past that point, he got 11.6 hours. In all of Apple’s ads, the company promises 10 hours of battery life.

“[When] the battery indicator first says 100 percent the battery is actually only 90 percent charged and you get 1.2 hours less running time,” he wrote.

Apple responded to Soneira’s report in a conversation with All Things Digital, saying that the same is true of all iOS devices, and that the company has decided to show battery life that way to keep an optimum charge.

According to Apple vice president for iPad product marketing Michael Tchao, “That circuitry is designed so you can keep your device plugged in as long as you would like.” He added, “It’s a great feature that’s always been in iOS.”

In a follow-up e-mail to press, Soneira said that he believes the 1.2 hour difference will matter to some users.

Related stories:

New iPad: Some users report WiFi connectivity problems

Apple faces Australian legal challenge over 4G label

iPhone 5 rumors will be a snoozefest this year

Hayley Tsukayama covers consumer technology for The Washington Post.
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