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New iPad Secrets - Details Missing From Apple's Specs

Andrew Williams by

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Read more about the new iPad

UPDATED: Apple's pretty good about specs. It displays most of them clearly on its website. But it left out a few of the new iPad 3's juiciest bits. Want to know the full story?

The battery

We already knew the new iPad battery is bigger than that of the iPad 2, but the actual capacity isn't seen on the tablet's page. We're not sure why Apple wouldn't want to show if off, though, because the thing is ruddy enormous.

It's a 11,666mAh capacity unit, where the iPad 2 had a 6930mAh model. That's an almost 70 percent increase. Those complaining about the 0.6mm extra thickness of the new iPad should probably pipe down at this point.

It does beg another question, though. If the quad-core GPU and 4G LTE connectivity are such astonishing power drains, how hot is the thing going to get under strain? If the iPad starts setting houses on fire, it could be the PR gaffe of the century.

The A5x processor

From Apple's presentation on the new iPad alone, you might think the A5x is a "quad-core" CPU. However, it's actually a bit more complicated. It's a SoC (system on chip) that combines a dual-core CPU and a quad-core GPU. As a very reductive explanation, the CPU crunches the numbers in Excel while the GPU throws out the pixels in 'yer video games.

Apple also didn't let slip about the processor speed. Its CPU has a 1.5GHz clock speed. That's up from a 1GHz model in the iPad 2. In summary it's a very significant upgrade you might not at first appreciate from clocking the "dual-core" part.

UPDATE: recent benchmarks suggest the new iPad processor is 1GHz, like the iPad 2, rather than 1.5GHz. However, the GPU is still significantly more powerful.


RAM is the memory that greases the operation of any system software. The iPad 2 uses 512MB , but the new iPad has a whopping 1GB.

This huge increase in RAM suggests Apple may have some big plans for iOS - things that require a little more power. It also suggests that iOS will one day run like a dog on the iPad and iPad 2. Oh well, I guess we'll all have to buy a "new" iPad then, eh?


Although the 3G/4G version of the iPad is certified for use worldwide with 3G, the 4G chip is designed for use with North American networks. The rest of the world that uses slightly different standards will be stuffed.

However, as there's no 4G network in the UK to use anyway, who cares?

The new iPad will be available from 16 March.

Go to comments


March 10, 2012, 2:37 am

I take it that the 'whopping 1GB RAM' was said with tongue in cheek? Considering that currently, 31 top end smart phones have been making do with 1GB RAM for quite a while!

The extra 70% battery capacity - considering that UK users will never use this gadget on anything other than highly congested 3G networks, just as the last iPad, does this translate into much better battery life expectations for non-power hungry 4G users? The average battery life of 10 hours would have been calculated with 4G LTE use, not standard 3G networks.

And what about the WiFi only versions...surely these should be lasting vastly longer than before even with 4 times more pixels to push around? It all begs the question, why didn't apple put this 11,666 mAh battery in the iPad 2? That would have been a fantastic sales pitch with stellar longevity. If they are still selling the iPad 2 along side the 'New' iPad, why don't they put this battery in the iPad 2 now?


March 10, 2012, 4:15 am

@ElectricSheep - why on Earth would Apple put this battery in an iPad 2 twelve months ago? 10 hours of use on a single charge was already the golden standard and the battery density was probably not quite there to keep the iPad 2 in it's nice slim form.

Despite the knocks of the Fandroids - iPad 3 is a very solid update with little real competition (unless the 2-a-penny here today, forgotten tomorrow Android tablets count), where you investment is worthless about a month after the purchase... despite the headline specs these gadgets often carry.

And if you're an artist or a musician, there really is only one tablet worth looking at, unless you're completely masochistic.

A few extra grammes of weight and a little over a half mm of extra thickness are a very small price to pay for the new screen and collosal battery.

Strange how Apple are often accused of being facile and trendy, when all of the upgrades in iPad 3 are very practical and sensible!


March 10, 2012, 6:38 pm

Made me smile - calling me a 'Fandroid', I thought that name calling was the domain of another tech website? In spite of my user name, I have no allegiances to brands or OS's and I use any product that'll get the job done, for the best price, with the most features with design coming last on my list. I do confess to erring on the side of more 'open' systems that allow more tinkering, over closed systems.

I wasn't implying that Apple should have put this battery in the iPad2 12 months ago - more that if they put it in the iPad2 now, with it's current lower resolution, that the battery would last even longer and be a big selling point. Why stick to the arbitrary 10hrs as industry leading, why not 20 hrs? The longer the better. And if you have the technology developed and ready to go then why not deploy it in as many products as possible, offering the customer even more choice? Personally, I'd rather have a tablet with a 24 hour battery life than one with a 'Retina' screen and last 10.

I bought a 32GB HP TouchPad for £130 in the fire sale with the OEM bluetooth keyboard. This tablet is now ancient in terms of technology and yet, it marches on without missing a beat. I run dual Boot; WebOS and Android 4.0 via CM9 from Cyanogenmod and i'm delighted with its abilities and flexibility...it's perfect for what I want to do. The only tablet I would consider to replace it would be the Transformer Prime. Then again, you may consider me a masochists :)

Oh, and I am an artist of sorts, but I still view tablets as media viewing play items with the ability to do menial tasks of convenience, that will always be limited by form factor. Although I can see iPads and other tablets replacing a lot of people's home PC's....you can't beat a good old desktop for real work ;)


March 10, 2012, 11:21 pm

From the headline I was hoping for a secret Thunderbolt connection. Oh well.....


March 12, 2012, 4:49 am

Why do we care about battery size? At the end it gives same 10 hr back up as ipad 2. And most importantly, non-US customers carry extra weight for nothing.


March 12, 2012, 2:30 pm

>> you can't beat a good old desktop for real work ;)

A Desktop certainly has it's place, eg. If you want to develop for iOS you still need one for starters. Although given time, maybe this will change too.

>> it marches on without missing a beat.

Interesting, did you expect it to stop working after so long. My mother-in-laws original iPad is still marching on without issues too, amazing eh?.


March 13, 2012, 4:34 am

@kiethe6e try editing 10000 60MB Photos on anything other than a desktop with 2 24 inch monitors! In context to mentioning the TouchPad, WebOS isnt exactly well supported anymore and it's only thanks to the hacking community that Android works so well. Not really comparable with the iPad.


March 13, 2012, 1:21 pm

@ElectricSheep - no name-calling was directed at yourself - just the 'in-crowd' who seem to knock every iOS device launch, regardless of the merits of the new device.

Given the iPad's strong history in the battery department - seemed like an odd thing to call Apple out on.


March 13, 2012, 1:59 pm

@ElectricSheep: try editing 10000 60MB Photos on anything other than a desktop

What part of "Desktop certainly has it's place" didn't you understand?. btw. I use a twin monitor setup for developing software, so I understand the benefits here.

You do realize iOS devices have a rather large hacking community. And I might be wrong, but it might be a little larger than a WebOS device :), you could even install Android too if that's your thing.


March 13, 2012, 3:24 pm

@KultiVator - Republicans & Democrats, blue or red, religion or atheism, Apple or 'best of the rest'! It's amazing how polarized opinions can be. I suspect a fair bit is tied in with ego and self identity within a social group, as much as the actual technical aspects. Apple launches do take the habit of hyperbole to a new and ridiculous level each time, which is funny.

The reason the battery life came in to this discussion was because of my initial inquiry, that still remains. Average 10hrs battery life is quoted with the very power hungry LTE feature included. Could the WiFi models and the UK 3G users expect any significant battery improvement as LTE isn't used here, or not?

@keith I understood. With respect to heavy work loads; Tablets are great for everyday computing, but are very limited by form factor and performance...they have their place. iOS devices need a solid hacking community. In my experience, an un-jailbroken iOS device is next to useless, which is frustrating after spending that much. I have never personally seen an iOS device running Android...and I can't even think why you'd be mad enough to try, other than for fun. It would be an awful user experience. Unlike ICS on a HP TouchPad, which is remarkable.

I can tell that you're a big iOS fan ;) - so i'll end on a positive note. Jailbroken Apple products are wonderful.

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