During the new iPad’s unveiling yesterday, Phil Schiller noted many of the device’s upgrades— the new Retina display, quad-core graphics engine, and LTE networking— consume a lot of battery life. Schiller then announced the new iPad would have the same 10-hour battery life over Wi-Fi (or 9 hours over 4G) as the iPad 2. A few things not included in the presentation: The new battery is a 42.5-watt-hour rechargeable lithium-polymer battery with 70 percent more capacity compared to the iPad 2’s 25-watt-hour battery (pictured right). Judging from the image of the iPad 2’s battery, the new iPad battery likely will cover almost the entire surface area of the device.

One of our readers noted that there isn’t a 1:1 relationship with capacity and size, however battery tech moves slow enough that a 70% increase in capacity will be a significant addition very close to 1:1.

With battery life remaining the same, the much larger battery is likely going toward powering the Retina display, LTE-capabilities, and the quad-core graphics in Apple’s new A5X chip. The A5X is also rumored to have double the RAM, which would require additional power.

The improved battery is likely the reason behind the new iPad’s 9.4 mm thick frame (compared to the 8.8mm iPad 2). In contrast, the iPad 2 was 34 percent thinner than the 13.4mm-iPad 1. According to IHS iSuppli report from March of last year, Apple was able to make its biggest reduction in thickness by redesigning the iPad 2’s battery. The thick new battery is obviously a compromise for the Retina display and LTE support.

One unanswered question is whether the new iPad’s 70 percent larger battery will take longer to charge. Will it take 70 percent longer from the same USB ports/Wall charger?

It will certainly be interesting to get a look at the new battery once we crack open the new iPad.

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