Even with the new generation of iPad available, Apple is still selling iPad 2s. What you might not know is that Apple’s new iPad 2s have gotten a refresh. Because Apple is selling these iPads at a lower price they need to reduce their own costs to make a profit. One method by which they have been able to lower costs is “die shrinking,” or reducing the size of the transistors on their chips. Samsung’s new manufacturing process allows the iPad’s A5 processor to be manufactured at a size of 32nm over the previous 45nm.
Since the chips are die-shrunk they offer the same amount of horsepower as their larger predecessors, no better or worse. A launch iPad 2 will fare no worse at Infinity Blade than the iPad 2,4. The difference to the customer is battery life. According to AnandTech the new iPad offers an extra 2 hours of use over the previous iPad in nearly every task they throw at it. 11.7 hours of web browsing, 7.9 hours of Infinity Blade 2, and a whopping 15.7 minutes of 720p video playback. If you need a tablet that can play video for your every waking moment, the 3rd generation iPad isn’t going to cut it—you’re going to need the iPad 2,4.
So how come Apple hasn’t announced their longer-lasting iPad 2,4? We can look to a leaked memo from Microsoft for a clue. Microsoft employed die shrinking to cut costs and solve heating issues on the XBox 360 (remember the RROD?). The reason Microsoft did not announce their Falcon or Jasper updates to the original XBox 360′s CPU was because: “Announcement of new motherboards may cause consumers to delay purchases of existing units and some regions with slower inventory turnover may not see the newer units for some time.” If you buy a new iPad 2, it might not be a 2,4 and Apple wouldn’t want to discourage you from taking old iPad 2s off their shelves.
If you don’t feel the need for the 3rd generation iPad, and you want a tablet that can keep up with an intercontinental flight, buy an iPad 2 at a high-traffic Apple Store or wait a little while for the 32nm iPad 2s to replace more of the current stock. (Currently only the WiFi models are using 32nm processors.) If you need to know for sure if you’ve got your hands on an iPad 2,4, AnandTech recommends using Geekbench. It will tell you your model’s configuration.
And now I’m left wondering how long an old-school Gameboy manufactured at a 32nm process would run for.
Download Geekbench 2 – $0.99 [iTunes Link]
Do you prefer longer battery life over faster and stronger electronics? Let us know in the comments section below.