When Apple made the decision to continue selling the iPad 2 alongside the new third generation iPad, many wondered if there would be enough incentive for people to choose the older device (beyond the cost savings with a $100 price drop for each model of the second generation tablet). It seems one of the biggest reasons may be because of a change to a newer 32nm A5 processor (using
Samsung’s 32nm high-k + metal gate LP transistors) away from the original 45nm version.
Though the two processors are very similar, the new version seems to draw less power resulting in a noticeable improvement in the iPad 2’s battery life.
The difference in battery life is quite observable –with testing indicating as much as a 15.8% increase over the previous model. This is because of the efficiency in current delivery, the more in depth details of which will likely be confusing for those of you (and I) who are not electrically inclined. Sufficed to say, it’s better (and turns out it is more cost effective too).
Use of this processor is being considered as a test run for Apple, with new devices heading our way that could definitely take advantage of longer battery life (including the much-anticipated iPhone 5).
If you are curious which one you have, those with the updated processor are designated by the model number ‘iPad 2,4′ (which is a model number we have seen in code leaks, particularly during the speculation phase prior to the release of the iPad 3 –now we know what it was actually referencing!). Unfortunately, the only way to see this model number is by turning the device on, which means you have to buy it and take it home before you will know if you won that lottery as many devices in the channel were made before the change.