Resolutionary?

That’s the tagline for Apple’s new iPad, announced earlier today, and while it, of course, refers to the higher resolution display (2048×1536), one tidbit tucked in the spec sheet is perhaps more shocking: a 42.5Whr battery.

Now a 42.5Whr battery in itself is nothing to get excited over, but in this form factor, it’s a huge advancement over the typical ~25WHr. It’s not a marginal increase. It’s a 70% increase. Almost double. Apple has clearly invested heavily into the battery to have fit it into the 9.4mm thick casing. It also shows that there is no magic in physics. The higher resolution display, higher horsepower graphics, and LTE connectivity draw a heck of a lot more power, close to 70% more than iPad 2 + 3G, if the advertised battery life is accurate.

I also wonder if the new iPad will compress margins somewhat. The 2048×1536 display is a difficult manufacturing challenge, with yields almost certainly nowhere close to the 1024×768 used previously. Additionally, the battery should cost quite a bit more.

That battery size still gets me. The 11.6″ MBA has a 35Whr battery, while the 13.3″ version has a 50Whr battery. Just imagine what the next generation laptops could be outfitted with.

ASUS Z71V Laptop Battery Issues

I was one of the early adopters of the ASUS Z71V barebones laptop. I’d been building desktop computers for several years at that point and I thought the level of customization that I could achieve with a barebone laptop would be nice. But being on the bleeding edge does have its disadvantages. The ASUS Z71 series ran into some major battery-related problems. Specifically, the batteries were defective and could not hold a full charge. It happened in varying degrees of severity, but my battery wouldn’t charge past 45% of its full capacity in less than 4 months of use.

I was able to cross-ship my battery with a new one from ASUS. The service was good and shipping was very quick. A check showed that the new battery was working fine and I thought my troubles were over. Unfortunately, the replacement battery started showing symptoms of the problem again late last year and early into 2007. Initially, I was worried that ASUS would leave me in a lurch. After all, it was outside of the 1 year warranty. My other options were to spend $200 on a new battery or have a desk-bound laptop, not terribly useful since I already have a desktop.

So, I was quite relieved when ASUS decided to replace my battery (again). I made it clear that the problem was the result of a manufacturing defect and not normal wear and tear. Even outside the 1 year warranty, something with a widespread defect should be replaced. Once again, shipping was quick and I now have, once more, a laptop that gets 3:30 battery life and not the hour or so it could squeeze out with a shoddy battery.

The whole thing does tarnish the ASUS name somewhat, but then again, almost every laptop manufacturer has had one form or another of a battery problem in the past couple years.