Sunday, May 3, 2020

iPad - Next Major Upgrade Should Include Longer Battery Life

The 5th generation iPad Mini is my laptop.  I’m semi-productive on it and I am very satisfied with what I can do with it.  And with the lockdown and working from home, I have begun to explore more of what I can do with it including shooting and editing video with it.  It means I am spending more time with it and not only consuming media, I am doing more CPU intensive tasks with it.  So I think it’s time that Apple rethink what an all-day device means if Apple expects us to use our iPads for more than just play.  Ten hours of battery life is so 2010 (when the original iPad was introduced.

Ten hours might have been adequate in 2010.  Maybe even through most of the decades but as more users use productivity apps, that might even be fine.  From what I gathered, many users use their iPads to write and even do some light video work.  But for the next decade, iPads with 12 to 15 hours of battery life is needed.  And at some point, I think Apple will release iPads with longer battery life starting at the top with the iPad Pro line. 

If you take a look at what’s in the productivity category of the App Store, you still see a lot of writing apps as well as apps your typical mobile warrior will need - organization, meetings, messaging, and collaboration.  And you also see apps that were missing from only a couple of years ago:  CAD (computer-aided design, design, modeling, and photo/video editing apps.  Now, The only things I know about the A-series chips inside our iOS devices is that they are getting more powerful each each and they are more efficient with each generation.  But I also know that they are note quite notebook class chips yet.  And if we are expected to use our iPads as notebook replacements, that means the iPad chips need to work harder which would be a drain on the battery.

This takes me back to something some iPhone users had been asking Apple to do:  give us more battery life and stop making the iPhones thinner and thinner.  And Apple did exactly that with the iPhone XR and the iPhone 11s.  It would make sense for Apple to starting upgrading the battery life for the next generation of iPads so pro users can use their iPads for high-CPU intensive tasks and not worry about the battery life.

And there is another use for the iPad that Apple recently introduced in iPadOS and Mac OS Catalina.  It’s a feature I’ve been using more because I am currently working from home.   For me, it’s hit-and-miss with my iPad mini and MacBook.  It works at intervals and something happens and I get no response from the iPad side.  It could be the MacBook or not, I don’t know for sure. But if it works smoothly, I would be using it more often and that would also be a drain on the battery of the iPad.  

Recently, Apple upgraded the iPad Pro.  It’s the iPad Pro for anyone who did not get last year’s iPad Pro.  It’s a welcoming upgrade but it did not come with a huge jump in performance - on the CPU or battery side.  I don’t know what Apple has plan next for the iPad Pro but I anticipate there to be a multi-year transition to make the iPadOS a cousin to the Mac OS, not just a mere little sibling with only a subset of laptop features.  IPadOS will have more of its own features that allow users to become power users.  I fully expect Apple to upgrade the CPU each year for the foreseeable future.  And this would also be a good time for Apple to make sure the iPad, not just the iPad Pro, have longer battery life to support the future power users.

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