It costs just $1.36 to charge an iPad for a year

June 22, 2012 by JONATHAN FAHEY
In this, Friday, April 20, 2012, file photo, A visitor tries out a new iPad tablet computer at an Apple store in Klang, outside Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. The annual charging cost of an iPad is just $1.36, according to the Electric Power Research Institute. The group, known as EPRI, saw Apple Inc.'s big iPad sales numbers and decided to study the tablet computer's power use to determine what effect the devices might have on the nation's electricity consumption (AP Photo/Lai Seng Sin, File)

(AP) — That coffee you're drinking while gazing at your iPad? It cost more than all the electricity needed to run those games, emails, videos and news stories for a year.

The annual cost to charge an iPad is just $1.36, according to the Electric Power Research Institute, a non-profit research and development group funded by electric utilities.

By comparison, a 60-watt compact fluorescent bulb costs $1.61, a desktop PC adds up to $28.21 and a refrigerator runs you $65.72 in the U.S.

The group, known as EPRI, studied the of Apple Inc.'s iPad to determine the effect that the newly-popular devices might have on the nation's electricity use.

The answer: not much.

If the number of iPads triples from the current 67 million, they would need the electricity from one small power plant operating at full strength.

But if people are using iPads instead of televisions to play video games, or ditching their desktop computers for iPads, the shift to tablets could mean lower overall power consumption. A desktop computer uses 20 times more power than an iPad.

Baskar Vairmohan, the EPRI researcher who conducted the iPad test, said the group is now studying usage to understand whether the explosion of tablets is adding to power consumption, or reducing it.

Residential power demand is on track to fall for the third straight year, according to the government. A weak economy is keeping people in smaller houses and shacked up with others. At the same time, efficiency programs are pushing more efficient light bulbs, air conditioners and other devices into homes. Refrigerators use a quarter of the power they used a generation ago, according to EPRI.

For the iPad test, Vairmohan measured the amount of power used to charge up an iPad with a drained battery. He assumed that users would charge up every other day. Over a year, the latest version of the iPad consumed 11.86 kilowatt-hours of electricity. (Older versions consume somewhat less power.)

The juice would cost $1.36 at the U.S. average residential price of 11.49 cents per kilowatt-hour.

But there's an even cheaper way to go than the . EPRI calculated the cost of needed to fuel an iPhone 4 for year: just 38 cents.

Explore further: Research firm: New iPad more expensive to make


Related Stories

Apple iPad supply catching up to demand

August 31, 2010

Apple on Monday promised that US orders for its iPad tablet computers would ship within 24 hours, in a sign that supply of the hot-selling devices was catching up to demand.

Recommended for you

Forget oil, Russia goes crazy for cryptocurrency

August 16, 2017

Standing in a warehouse in a Moscow suburb, Dmitry Marinichev tries to speak over the deafening hum of hundreds of computers stacked on shelves hard at work mining for crypto money.

Researchers clarify mystery about proposed battery material

August 15, 2017

Battery researchers agree that one of the most promising possibilities for future battery technology is the lithium-air (or lithium-oxygen) battery, which could provide three times as much power for a given weight as today's ...

Signs of distracted driving—pounding heart, sweaty nose

August 15, 2017

Distracted driving—texting or absent-mindedness—claims thousands of lives a year. Researchers from the University of Houston and the Texas A&M Transportation Institute have produced an extensive dataset examining how ...


Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

1.4 / 5 (9) Jun 22, 2012
obvious lies. if youre fridge costs you 62 a year, how is the average annual electric bill 60-100 bucks a month on the low end.

i call bullshit. it might cost the power company this much, it doesn't cost the consumer this much. and if you charge your laptop at a coffee shop----it costs you the cost of buying the coffee and sitting down. you can't tease the cost out of that. it's not free unless you don't buy anything to give you cause for sitting down. too many free riders and the coffee shop kicks them out. THE REAL WORLD IS TOO COMPLEX FOR BULLSHIT STUDIES THAT ALMOST ALWAYS PUMP OUT SOME NUMBERS THAT ARE NONSENSE IN THE REAL WORLD.

2.1 / 5 (7) Jun 22, 2012
Heating and cooling...

None of this is a secret, you can determine the actual electrical consumption of anything and do some simple math to figure it out over the course of any timescale you like.
2.6 / 5 (5) Jun 22, 2012
One think I'm not clear on: Does a dock or transformer use power when the Ipad is not plugged in?
Lex Talonis
2.1 / 5 (7) Jun 22, 2012
Yeah while I speculate about the bullshitness of the power consumption quoted....

The I Pood can't do a shit worth of data crunching that my muscle bound desktop computer can....

The I Pood - that is more of a convenience networking device, NOT a workshop of functions in it's own right.

So who gives a fuck?
5 / 5 (2) Jun 23, 2012
There are of course some data missing from this report. The best example is the light-bulb... 60w*24h/d*365d/y = 518kwh/y. Average price for 1kwh in USA is usd 0.129 (http://www.bls.go...rgy.htm) This result in USD 66.87 / year. Modern 60w light-bulbs use about 13w which still is usd 14.49. In other words the examples assume "normal use", but normal use is not defined for each product listed. The refrigerator value is the only correct value. The new ipod is listed to work for 10h with wifi or 9h with cell network for navigating Internet using a 42.5kwh battery. The unit thus use 4.25kwh in use -> usd 4.80/year so the test assumes 8h use/day.

An air-conditioner is the most expensive device in most cases consuming from 500w/h for a small unit to 1.5kwh for a large unit. Air-conditioning with one SMALL unit alone cost usd 1.03 each 8 hours!!! 3x that for a large unit still assuming a usage of only 8h/day.
5 / 5 (2) Jun 23, 2012
Sorry there - the Ipad battery is listed as 42.5 watt hours, not kwh... The calculation is right, but the device uses only 4.25w/h ! That seems to be about right. My own Asus laptop from 2010 uses from 6-16w with average about 9.7 w in use according to powertop which give me a little more than 6 hours of use time. I essentially have it on 24/365 which give a bill of about usd 19 / year.
2.3 / 5 (12) Jun 23, 2012
Why is an apple ad being peddled on a science site.
My android tablet runs for 16 hrs of use on one charge.
beats the hell out of apple
5 / 5 (1) Jun 23, 2012
@rwinner I believe they do, since the there would always be a connected circuit in the transformer

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.