Back in early April, we got a close-up look at the silicon behind Apple’s latest generation of A5 chips, then just arriving in the new AppleTV refresh. Decapping the processor revealed some very interesting details, like how this supposedly single-core variant of the A5 was a dual-core component with one side disabled, or how Apple’s chip was now being produced on a 32-nanometer Samsung process. It turned out these new chips were also the same ones being used in the WiFi-only iPad 2 as it’s being currently manufactured, except with both cores switched-on. Compared to the 45nm chip originally used for the iPad 2, this processor change could mean some nice power savings, but we hadn’t heard of any trials to put that claim to the test. Hot on the tail of those GS3 benchmarks we just checked out, AnandTech comes through again with some new data, showing that the latest iPad 2 definitely outperforms its predecessors when it comes to battery life.
Just how much of an improvement you’ll see depends on what kind of tasks you’re performing with your iPad. With casual web browsing, the new iPad 2 show a 15.8% longer battery life compared to the tablet with the old A5. When you step-up processor demands a little bit, playing a game for instance, the savings become even more noticeable, with the new iPad 2 lasting nearly 30% longer than its predecessor. Video playback shows savings comparable to web browsing, at around 20%.
We can understand Apple not wanting to alienate customers that paid good money for the original iPad 2, but considering these pretty significant battery life gains, it’s interesting that Apple’s not doing more to call attention to the improvements it’s made.