Apple Continues To Make The iPad 2 Better
Michael Harper for RedOrbit.com
Two interesting things happened to the iPad 2 when the new model was released early this year. First, its price was dropped to an affordable, entry level $399. Then Apple began quietly building them differently, giving them a new model number – i.e. iPad 2,4.
Eagle-eyed tech fans and journalists noticed this change and began to look for subtle differences between the two seemingly identical devices. What they found was much more significant than subtle. Whereas the iPad 2,1, 2,2, and 2,3 models use a 45 nanometer SoC (or System on a Chip) processor, the newer 2,4 models utilize a 32 nanometer SoC. The 32 nanometer SoC, as it turns out, is more energy efficient, resulting in better battery life for the new iPad 2s.
Specifically, about 2 hours better.
According to AnandTech there´s no way of knowing what model you are buying, noting the boxes and devices are identical. The only way to tell is by opening the box and plugging it in. Anand Lai Shimpi said the 2,4 unit he ended up with also shipped from China, ruling out any possibility that these newly built iPads are being assembled in the new Brazilian Foxconn factories.
Furthermore, Lai Shimpi also says the new 4,2 models only come in 16 GB varieties.
The iPad 2,1 is the model number assigned to your basic, Wi-Fi only model. The iPad 2,2 is given to the Wi-Fi + GSM model, while the iPad 2,3 has been given to the Wi-Fi + CDMA models.
iPad 2,1 and its 3G family all use the 45nm Apple A5 SoC, while the iPad 2,4 uses the 32nm version. Though performance is left unchanged, the final result is a smaller-sized SoC which uses less energy.
MacObserver.com ran some tests on these new 2,4 models to see just how much benefit customers will see from this small yet significant change.
According to their tests, the iPad 2,4 gave 11.7 hours of battery life when browsing via Wi-Fi. The older, 45nm version, on the other hand, lasted for 10.1 hours, an increase of 15.8% by the newer model.
The “new” iPad 2 continued to give better battery life when processor-intensive games put the new 32nm SoC to the test.
MacObserver played the popular high-def graphics game Infinity Blade 2 and got 7.9 hours of battery life. On the older iPad 2, the same amount of gameplay resulted in a batter life of 6.12 hours; That´s an increase of 29% over the 45nm iPads.
During a less stressful game, Riptide GP, the 32nm iPad gave 8.82 hours of battery life compared to the 45nm iPad´s 6.77 hours.
The greatest improvement in battery life came when the MacObserver team ran video playback tests using 720p H.264 content. The previous 45nm iPad lasted for 13.3 hours before losing its power. The 32nm iPads, on the other hand, displayed the video for 15.7 hours before giving up the ghost.
So, will you be able to find this new iPad in stores anytime soon?
It´s not likely, as AnandTech suggests these new iPad 2s are only available when existing stock has been depleted.
Such a change proves that Apple is never satisfied with their products, even when they are more than a year old and being sold at a discounted price. If Apple can implement these changes to the A5 SoC to get an extra 2 hours of battery life on the iPad 2, perhaps they´ll be able to achieve better results with the new iPhone?