Retina vs. Battery Life

Katherine Boehret, reviewing the new Nexus 7:

Another drawback: In my test, the new Nexus 7’s battery life was underwhelming. Compared with the same battery test of the iPad Mini and first Nexus 7, it fell short at just six hours; the others clocked in at 10 hours and 27 minutes and 10 hours and 44 minutes, respectively. Google claims the battery life can last over nine hours, but the company tests it in Airplane mode (Internet connection off), with screen brightness set to 44% while playing video. I keep Wi-Fi on in the background and screen brightness at 75% while playing video.

This is the main reason I’ve been so skeptical about the iPad Mini going retina this year. I don’t think Apple would accept a severe drop in battery life like Google has. Nor do I think they’d make the Mini thicker and heavier to pack a bigger battery inside, like they did with the iPad 3 — its size and weight are too central to the iPad Mini’s purpose. But then what? Another year at 1024 × 768? That feels off too — the current Mini already sticks out as Apple’s only non-retina iOS device.

We demand magic — a retina iPad Mini with no decrease in battery life, but no increase in thickness, weight, or price. And they need to produce at least 20 million of them by Christmas. Something has to give.

Friday, 2 August 2013