Batterygate: Apple's dysfunctional iPad 3 battery charger

Batterygate: Apple's dysfunctional iPad 3 battery charger

Summary: Further investigation had found that Apple's iPad 3 is only 90% charged when it says its 100% charged up.

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When is 100% charged not 100% charged? When it's an Apple iPad 3.

When is 100% charged not 100%? When it's an Apple iPad 3.

Dr. Raymond Soneira, president of DisplayMate, the world's leading display and display tuning company, found while testing the iPad 3's display, "that the batteries do not actually reach full charge when 100% is shown and need up to an extra hour before the charging is done. After further investigation, Soneira has discovered, "when the battery indicator first says 100% the battery is actually only 90% charged and you get 1.2 hours less running time."

Apple, however, claimed to CNBC's Jon Fortt, that "If you charge it more than [when the battery indicator reads 100%], you could actually harm the longevity of the battery." Nonsense, replied Soneira.

Indeed, Soneira said, "Damaging the longevity of the battery is then exactly what the new iPad's internal battery charging hardware and software are doing since it is their responsibility to properly control and manage the battery recharging process. It's pretty obvious that if the new iPad knows that it is fully charged then it should automatically stop the charging! So according to Apple the new iPad is configured to damage the longevity of its own battery if it isn't manually disconnected from the AC charger when the 100% indicator appears. Anyone that recharges their iPad unattended, especially overnight, will be doing this."

Sure, Soneira continued, "While Apple's remark might apply to recharging dumb battery operated toys; the new iPad is a very sophisticated and expensive computer device that is fully capable of properly controlling and managing its own (rudimentary) battery charging process. Perhaps Apple should instead graciously accept my interpretation and rescind their own remarks, which sound like very poorly thought out damage control. Otherwise they need to immediately fix the iPad battery charging algorithm or they may be held responsible for replacing all iPad batteries. Which one will it be?"

If you do as Apple says you should do and "stop charging the iPad when the battery indicator says 100% you won't get the maximum running time - something that is very important to many people. I repeated the Battery Running Time measurements exactly as above, but stopped the battery charging when the battery indicator reached 100%. For the new iPad at the Middle Brightness Slider setting the Running Time decreased by 1.2 hours to 10.4 hours (10 percent). While at first sight this appears consistent with Apple's own "up to 10 hours running time" my tests were in Airplane Mode with no Wi-Fi and no activity or running Apps of any sort - just a static display. The 11.6 hour running time above for a fully charged battery would most likely deliver a real use running time of over 10 hours as indicated by Apple, but the 10.4 hour time would most likely not."

So, what's wrong here? Soneira explained, "The battery charge indicator on all mobile devices is based on a mathematical model of the charge rates, discharge rates, and recent discharge history of the battery. It uses this information to estimate how much running time is left. It's actually rather difficult to do because most batteries degrade slowly as they discharge and then tend to surprise with a precipitous decline near the end. Note that batteries are based on complex chemistry so there is no practical way to measure the charge level "in hardware." So there is something wrong with the battery charge mathematical model on the iPad. It should not say 100% until it actually stops recharging and goes from the full recharging rate of about 10 watts to a trickle charging rate of about 1 watt. Otherwise the user will not get the maximum running time that the iPad is capable of delivering."

So what should be done next? I agree with ZDNet's Jason D. O'Grady that "the iPad 3 battery indicator should accurately display how much charge it has." It seems pretty simple to me. O'Grady thinks that Apple may do this by means of a software update. I suspect, I hope, he's right.

Related Stories:

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Why the new iPad battery meter is behaving just as it should

Batterygate? Apple's iPad "Fibbing" battery charger

Apple's new iPad display is better than most HDTVs

New iPad's most revolutionary feature is its battery

Topics: Hardware, Apple, iPad, Mobility

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139 comments
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  • Why should this be a controversial statement?

    "It seems pretty simple to me. O'Grady thinks that Apple may do this by means of a software update."

    I don't understand why so many here get so upset by the mere suggestion that Apple should fix this. We will get a ton of people telling you to turn down the brightness, stay up all night so you can unplug your iDevice when it says 100%, turn off 4G and bluetooth, this is all your fault. No. This is not our fault. This is Apple's fault. Fix it Apple. Saying this should not lead one to be attacked by a legion of Apple marketeers.
    toddbottom3
    • Not so much upset but annoyed that someone would suggest users blame or

      Fault practices that conserve battery charge levels such as avoiding unnecessary operations like enabling Bluetooth connectivity when no bluetooth devices are in use. Or turning off 3G or 4G cellular radios when WiFi is available. Or turning down screen brightness levels when a lower, more energy efficient setting is acceptable to the user.

      Personally, I suspect that Apple is aware of this situation (how could they NOT be) and that a software adjustment is in the works. I based that assumption upon past actions over like issues.

      As for the other issues pointed out in this article, IMO, It is much ado about almost nothing. (My apologies to William Shakespeare)
      kenosha77a
  • No Microsoft bashing anywhere in this article?

    OMG. SVJN's account must have been hacked and someone posted in his name.
    ff2
    • No,If he's not bashing MS,

      Then he's bashing Apple, just like Toddbottom3, maybe they're the same person, except that Todd loves MS and hates Apple. But then he suppossedly keeps buying Apple products....Hmmmm
      T-Wrench
  • Seeing a pattern here

    First we got "You're holding it wrong." Now we get "You're charging it wrong." Makes one wonder how Apple will blame its users next.
    rapson
    • Yes. Pattern.

      Here's the pattern. Apple releases new product. Product is different from previous product in some ways, not different enough in others.

      Craft stories without context making edge case,uncommon, irrelevant, even normal situations with Apple products into unprecedented panic inducing dramas. Lather. Rinse. Repeat. Obsessively check AdSense numbers.

      I see there are at least 6 whiny twats whom are perfectly happy reading faux news in defiance of the facts as long as it tries to make Apple look bad. Pathetic.
      His_Shadow
    • And the latest viruses...

      on Macs were all in our heads (until the press forced it to the public eye).

      They get away with it because we let them. I don't see any decrease in sales despite this behavior, do you? Why claim liability when the users happily take it upon themselves?

      What about the exploit in IOS that surfaced? Ban the hacker that reports it, bury the fact they were warned months ahead of time.
      thoiness
      • What virus are you talking about

        What virus? I suspect it still in your head.
        todaline@...
      • How about...

        Mac Defender? There are a few others in the wild, but not as popular. While technically considered "Malware," let me show you a PC damaged with "Malware," and you can try to convince me that is less harmful. In many cases, Malware has been more deeply ingrained than any traditional virus ever attempted to be.

        I suppose wordsmithing is cause for plausible deniability? If you don't ask the question correctly, the problem doesn't exist?

        That's genius, and people like you support that kind of thinking (which is quite frankly, amazing). "You're holding it wrong," "we didn't design it to use that adjustment, we just put it there," "you shouldn't have clicked that link."

        The loyal subjects hold them infallible. I applaud Apple for creating that environment. In that respect, I am actually not criticizing them, as I envy that. If I could create a set of customers who took responsibility for everything, and allowed me to get away with making them my whipping boys, I'd be a rich man who basically turned out whatever he deemed fit for production with zero backlash and 100% adoption.

        If I could inspire that level of dedication to my products, I could take over the world (as they are slowly doing).
        thoiness
      • Not a virus

        Not a virus. And unlike PCs you have to give permissions to install.
        todaline@...
      • If it does damage to your computer...

        ..in the form of an infection that's viral, in my book, it's a virus.

        It's like saying HIV isn't a virus because you have to stick your thingy somewhere to get it.

        And to your last comment, have you used anything past Windows XP?
        thoiness
      • No, it's NOT a virus

        Nor is your analogy even close to apt. It is NOTHING like saying HIV isn't a virus. It isn't a virus because it isn't a virus, it's a trojan. HIV is a virus, so saying it isn't is just dumb, no matter where you stick your sex organs.
        It is not a trivial distinction, because there is NO way to prevent trojan horses, because they are explicitly run and allowed by the user. Blaming an operating system for trojans is like blaming an alarm system for the burglar the home owner invited in.

        (FYI, THAT is how you craft a apropos analogy.)
        .DeusExMachina.
      • I think you're diluding yourself...

        Too many Apple Jedi mind tricks cloud your judgement.

        I think every systems security expert would disagree with you. A trojan is most DEFINITELY listed under the viral category. And yes, you can prevent a trojan, regardless of whether it requires the user to interact or not. That's why we run real time virus scanners. They catch and identify trojans before the user even has an opportunity to click and infect a PC (at least the ones worth having do).

        And my analogy was spot on for what we are discussing here. Blaming the operating system for its lack of protection is always appropriate, and will soon become even more so.

        After all, Windows has had a certain level of protection against such things since Windows defender, and as of Windows 8, protection will be built into the core. The fact that you hold Apple blameless for all their faults mean that you have just proved my point on company loyalty equating to permanent infallibility for Apple.

        Is there any affiliation with Lucas and Apple? hmmm....

        "These are not the viruses you are looking for... [wave hand]"
        "Viruses in the Apple world do not exist... [wave hand]"
        "You're holding it wrong... [wave hand]"
        thoiness
      • Viruses?

        Trojans aren't viruses, the trojan problem on Mac OSX has not progressed beyond a handful and Apple built measures into the OS to deal with it.

        So, actually, it is all in your head.
        His_Shadow
      • OK there, mushmellon...

        Then this "Trojan" which was not a "virus" infected Macs which Apple denied (and you deny too).

        Us PC users have these virus scanners that protect us from these things (yeah, I said VIRUS scanner).

        So while you play Clinton's Whitehouse semantics with words, Apple gets off scott free.

        Essentially, you continually make my point 100% valid, and there was no need for your run about on wordsmithing, other than to further prove my point that despite the history of repeated denial and Apple's end-user finger pointing, fans loyal to Apple take liability 100% upon themselves (or in layman's terms: "Take it up the rear").

        Do you know what finally made Apple ADMIT their own issues on the trojan? The press... That's what always has to happen to get them to take action (or any semblence of responsibility).

        Once again, a brilliant model. Once again, I'm perplexed how people like you came to exist. Apple created a religion. Those within it, it all makes perfect sense (that Apple holds them responsible for the issues that arise from their software and hardware), while to those outside of it, it looks like a partial lobatomy was the free additional prize that came in the Apple (Cracker Jack) box.

        I mean, one Apple fan blog on ZDN was discussing in another thread about how the O.P.'s iPad 3 was showing graphic artifacts on higher brightness settings. Want to guess what the religious zealots' responses were?

        "You aren't supposed to turn your brightness up, it will burn out your retinas."

        No. Stop. You guys are killing me. It's like a sequel to "Dumb and Dumber," except it's not a joke. You people really believe this crap.
        thoiness
      • Clues

        @ thioness
        God, where to begin?

        "Too many Apple Jedi mind tricks cloud your judgement."

        Too much Apple hatred and having no familiarity on the subjects you bloviate on clouding yours. Case in point:
        "I think every systems security expert would disagree with you."

        Name one. ANY expert in the field would be able to tell you the difference between a virus, a trojan, a worm, etc.. That you can't is telling.

        "A trojan is most DEFINITELY listed under the viral category. And yes, you can prevent a trojan, regardless of whether it requires the user to interact or not."

        Bull. A virus, BY DEFINITION, requires no user interaction.

        "And That's why we run real time virus scanners. They catch and identify trojans before the user even has an opportunity to click and infect a PC (at least the ones worth having do)."

        Um, no, you run them to catch viruses, which trojans are not, and trojans that the unsuspecting user allowed to be installed. This is a perfect ecample of the logical fallacy called "assuming the consequent."

        "And my analogy was spot on for what we are discussing here." Yeah, no it wasn't, fo r the reasons stated.

        "After all, Windows has had a certain level of protection against such things since Windows defender, and as of Windows 8, protection will be built into the core."

        So?

        "The fact that you hold Apple blameless for all their faults mean that you have just proved my point on company loyalty equating to permanent infallibility for Apple."

        I don't hold Apple blameless for their faults. Apple has a crappy virtual memory manager that fails to release vm after it is no longer needed, a memory leak in Safari that is years old, and is compounded by the first issue. They fail to follow their own HUI guidelines, having dialogue boxes with buttons labeled "OKAY" and "Cancel" (UI hint: real dialogue boxes should NEVER have buttons labeled "Okay" and "Cancel") and close buttons next to resize buttons. I could go on and on. What I don't do is blame Apple for things that aren't their responsibility or that are not even issues. LIke, for instance, the antenna on the iPhone 4, or the battery "issue" discussed here.

        "'Viruses in the Apple world do not exist... [wave hand]'"

        Um, they don't. Name one. Not that that is that big a deal anymore, since there aren't many that affect Windows anymore, either.

        "You're holding it wrong... [wave hand]"

        No, I am not.

        "Then this "Trojan" which was not a "virus" infected Macs which Apple denied (and you deny too)."

        Oh really?!? Please link to where Apple denies it.
        Waiting.

        "Us PC users have these virus scanners that protect us from these things (yeah, I said VIRUS scanner)."

        And so do Mac users. The difference being that 99% of what they do on the Mac is stop Mac users from passing on (to them harmless) Windows malware to their Windows-using associates. Are you claiming there is no MacOS AV software? Really?!?

        "So while you play Clinton's Whitehouse semantics with words, Apple gets off scott free."

        And now you add history to the list of things you have no clue about. The semantics in the Whitewater trial were ordered by the court, at Kenneth Starr's request. Clinton was bound by the court to answer exactly as he did.

        "while to those outside of it, it looks like a partial lobatomy was the free additional prize that came in the Apple (Cracker Jack) box."

        I'll pit my knowledge of ANY subject against yours, any day of the week.
        .DeusExMachina.
      • let me post

        let me post
        thoiness
      • @deusexmachina I was banned...

        And that's awesome. Just know I had a page long retort that I'm not allowed to share here.

        I'll leave you with: Do yourself a favor and Google Apple's denial. It will answer this banter and give you the proof you seek.

        Sayonara ZDN... It's been a good few year run.

        -th
        thoiness2
    • I can't respond.

      This comment system is r3t@rd3d
      thoiness
  • It's okay to me.

    My Prius charges it's battery pack about the same way. When the state of charge shows 100% (green) it means almost charged, when it shows 20% (red) almost depleted the gas engine kicks in to recharge and power the car. Charging a battery up to 100% or depleting it to 0% will decrease it's life.
    jortiz@...