While one of the most exciting things about new Apple product launches are the new features that the company will have added to a given device, one of the things that is generally under-scrutinized is the improvements upon existing features. One of the key areas that tends to receive an improvement pretty much every time a product is refreshed is battery life. While the user may not really see it, the thinner, lighter and faster a device like the iPad becomes, the more advanced the battery has to be in order to provide the same amount of battery life.
Using the iPad 2 as an example, Apple released a device that was thinner, faster and lighter than the iPad 1 and yet still retained the same battery life as the first generation iPad. Equally, Apple changed the design of the iPhone 4 from the 3G and 3GS to have less curvature in the rear panel, thereby increasing the effective interior volume that could be used to contain the battery. These changes were made so that Apple mobile devices would have a pretty effective usable time period between charges ; you can imagine the reaction from consumers if Apple couldn’t improve upon or at least maintain the battery life in subsequent generations of the iPad or iPhone.
While advanced low-voltage processors and the clever use of solid state storage can help to negate the power consumption of a device with improved performance, you can be sure that the focus of Apple on battery technology R & D will be as intensive as ever. It’s worth bearing in mind that, when you see a mock-up of the iPhone 5 or the iPad HD / iPad 3 that is around 2mm thick at its thinnest point, you can be fairly confident that battery life wasn’t a consideration when rendering it.
If power-hungry features like 4G in the iPhone or a high resolution Retina Display in the iPad are going to be implemented in the future, then you can be bloody sure that you are going to see an iPad that is as thin as a credit-card without some pretty dramatic advances in power cell technology.