Thinking of powering your business with iPads? At least from an electricity standpoint, you may be getting a good deal, a new study suggests.
The annual cost to charge an iPad is just $1.36, according to the nonprofit Electric Power Research Institute, a research and development group funded by electric utilities.
Apples to Apples
For the sake of comparison: A 60-watt compact fluorescent bulb will set you back $1.61, a desktop PC will cost you $28.21, a laptop PC is $8.31—and you’ll fork over $65.72 to power the office refrigerator. (Refrigerators actually use only a quarter of the power they did a generation ago, according to EPRI.)
The group set out to learn what effect the super-popular devices—Apple says it has sold 67 million of them—could have on the nation’s electricity use. (The answer seems to be: Not a whole lot.)
Even if the number of iPads triples, powering nearly 200 million of them would take only one small power plant operating at full strength. But if there were widespread swapping of desktop computers for iPads, that effect on power consumption could be significant. It would be much lower, because a desktop computer eats up 20 times more power than an iPad.
According to Mark McGranaghan, vice president of Power Delivery and Utilization at EPRI, “These results raise important questions about how the shifting reliance from desktop to laptop to mobile devices will change energy use and electricity requirements for the information age. At less than a penny per charge these findings bring new meaning to the adage, ‘A penny for your thoughts.’”
The Big Picture
Baskar Vairmohan, the EPRI researcher who conducted the iPad test, told the Associated Press the group is now studying usage to understand whether the explosion of tablets is adding to power consumption, or reducing it.
For the iPad test, Vairmohan measured the amount of power used to charge up an iPad with a drained battery. He decided to assume users would charge it up every other day to make his calculations: that over a year an iPad would consume 11.86 kilowatt-hours of electricity. Older versions eat up slightly less power, he said.
Even cheaper than an iPad: The Apple iPhone 3G. According to EPRI’s analysis, it costs just 25 cents a year to charge.
Does the iPad's power efficiency make you reconsider using it for your business?
Photo credit: iStockphoto/Thinkstock