iPad Lifespan?

Discussion in 'iPad' started by barkomatic, Sep 6, 2010.

  1. barkomatic macrumors 68040

    Aug 8, 2008
    This is not another thread asking when the next revision will be, so calm down. :)

    My question is, if you powered off your iPad, set it in a drawer and then went back 50 years later would it come back on assuming you recharged it? I've bought a few iBooks and it occurred to me that eventually they could be lost forever one day if the device stopped working. I realize the idea is that iBooks and other things are backed up and then transferred to newer devices. However, when you're talking about huge spans of time, it could be that those would be lost or that old books don't make it on newer gadgets.

    The iPad seems pretty solid for the most part except for perhaps the battery-- but then again I'm no engineer. So, what do you think? It would be cool to think someone might be able to turn on my iPad one day 200 years from now and read my books, watch my shows.
  2. ovrlrd macrumors 65816


    Aug 29, 2009
    Batteries work based on the fact that there is some electrons still moving. While anything is certainly possible, the fact that the battery was left sitting there unused, the cells would probably drain over time and the battery would completely die after 50 years.

    However, you can probably turn the iPad on without the battery anyway, as long as it's properly plugged in it could probably turn on still.
  3. sapporobaby macrumors 68000


    Sep 27, 2007
    3 earth minutes from your location....
    Interesting and cool. Your books and stuff in theory and currently in practice are stored on Apple's servers so if Apple is around in a few hundred years, your stuff might be there.
  4. barkomatic thread starter macrumors 68040

    Aug 8, 2008
    I think it's kind of an historic change that has started to happen recently. For thousands of years, people have written stuff down on clay tablets, parchment or paper. A lot of those records were destroyed over the years of course, but we've learned a lot from what survived--including things civilization *used* to know how to do but forgot until that knowledge was found again in a book.

    Now, ebooks in various forms have really taken off and for the first time I can honestly see them possibly replacing paper books altogether someday. Its all very convenient and cool but has questionable long term consequences. It would be nice to know if someone could pick up a 500 year old iPad or Kindle and access the contents.
  5. Mrjoeyp macrumors newbie

    Sep 7, 2010
    If I remember correctly on some of he documentation I got with my iPad you can send your ipad to have the battery replaced if it does die (as it would over time).

    I assume you would most likely have ton pay for the service, and the service itself might not even exist for said product in 50 years, but then again, is it really a big deal to have people in 50 years reading your ebooks? The books themselves would still exist, and people will read what they like to read, not what you do?

    I dunno, i think it seems like a strange thing to worry about :rolleyes:
  6. abta1 macrumors 6502

    Jul 5, 2010
    Paris, France
    If Apple are still around and you iTunes account is still active, you should have no problem to download those ebooks again.
  7. spammerhamster macrumors 6502

    Feb 5, 2010
    That's actually the idea behind DCP (Digital Comics Preservation), also called The Comic Pirates by marvel & co.

    Digitization allows books and other stuff to stay in existence. Even when the paper version crumbled. Make no mistake, those things you've written down or have printed on paper won't survive 50 years.
    Modern paper isn't made to last decades. The chemicals in them degrade them.

    Digitizing can exist forever in theory, as long as the technology to read them exist.
  8. barkomatic thread starter macrumors 68040

    Aug 8, 2008
    Well, maybe not *my* ebooks. But perhaps a book on neurosurgery once civilzation rebuilds itself 100 years after a zombie apocalpyse. So there.

    All kidding aside, I know that most everything is being backed up at secure locations in a variety of ways by various agencies. However, the way things go -- sometimes its only the casual, everyday common man tools that end up surviving wars, natural disasters--or just a long span of time.

    Besides, I think it kinda cool when the old folks bring out the Victrola and wax on about the olden days. What am I gonna do when I'm in the home when my iPad battery is dead?
  9. iCole macrumors regular

    Jun 10, 2010
    Don't forget that eBooks/PDF's/digital stuff in general are/is easy to copy. If you lost your book on your iPad, you could still have it on your computer or some sort of other digital archive. It's easier to archive digitally by storing it everywhere, than count on a book to last in your basement. Then again, maybe there won't be no internet anymore in a few decades.

    Oh and that iPad. If they found it, they would prolly be able to connect it to a power source of any kind and still be able to read it.
  10. barkomatic thread starter macrumors 68040

    Aug 8, 2008
    I'm thinking though that as the battery ages, it won't simply stop working. Won't it leak and/or expand? That would essentially ruin the electronics.
  11. darngooddesign macrumors G3

    Jul 4, 2007
    Atlanta, GA
    I don't know about 50 years, but I have some 20 year old Powerbooks that work just fine even with dead batteries in them.
  12. saberahul macrumors 68040

    Nov 6, 2008
    Given the heat in ny these days, I'm sure leaving it outside would allow the battery to leak and what not. 50 years down the line... Well assuming 2012 doesn't happen, I doubt the battery will be able to last all that well in that long of a time period.
  13. Shinigami301 Suspended


    Jun 5, 2010
    cogito, ergo zoom.
    You're naive. If you think the typical CD-RW will still be readable in 50 years (much less 5) you're not taking average preservation steps.

    The digital age will lose more than it preserves.
  14. NebulaClash macrumors 68000


    Feb 4, 2010
    That's the beauty of the Apple approach where things are computer-centric. It makes no difference what happens to your iPad -- go in the back yard and blow it up if you want to. Your ebooks are still sitting on your computer ready to be synced to whatever new device you plug into your computer.

    There's no reason to lose any data any more. Books crumble, but data stays intact as long as you move it from disk to disk now and then. Keep it in multiple locations. There's no need to lose data.
  15. mklnk macrumors regular

    Apr 14, 2010
    I heard we were skipping from 2011 straight to 2014.
  16. malnar macrumors 6502a


    Aug 20, 2008
    In general I agree, but I have lots and lots of CDRs that are far older than 5 years old and they work just fine. The discs that don't work fine for people are the ones that weren't taken care of - the ones people didn't store in cases, the ones people kept in their hot cars for years, etc. CDRs treated like what they should be - special data and/or music - will last for a very long time.

    But I agree because people are stupid and lazy and so will absentmindedly do everything they can to undermine the good aspects of the incredibly cheap storage of CDR and DVDR.
  17. Carlanga macrumors 604


    Nov 5, 2009
    by that time, the ebooks you bought will most likely be free in the future book format....
  18. skate71290 macrumors 6502a

    Jan 14, 2009
  19. ChristianVirtual macrumors 601


    May 10, 2010
    The question is more about available software to read those files. That scares me more for all my digital images in JPG or even worst in RAW files (some people store in TIFF or OpenRAW)
    As long the vendors keep supporting in 50 years the ancient files from today we should be fine. But on my 512bit-1024core laptop I preordered to be delivered in 2060 I'm not sure if they still be willing to do so.
    At home I still have some 3.5" floppy disk but no physical drive. Those are from my old ATARI ST, I guess I would not be able to read the content easily.
  20. dacreativeguy macrumors 68020

    Jan 27, 2007
    Exactly. You could easily protect the media for long durations of time, but if the hardware to read the media no longer exists then the data is effectively lost. The only way to preserve digital data is to periodically move it to newer storage technology.

    What worries me about iTunes and iBooks is that Apple will inevitably someday abandon those formats in favor of new, incompatible formats. Since you are technically 'renting' your books and songs, you wouldn't have the ability to transfer the data yourself. They would certainly support the old formats for some length of time, but they would likely be locked on older generation technology and not be transferrable to newer products. Think of the transition of PPC > Intel Macs and then Leopard > Snow Leopard for historical examples. It will happen eventually.
  21. sushi Moderator emeritus


    Jul 19, 2002
    Interesting question about the iPad's lifespan. Fifty years from now, the batteries will definitely be dead. However, unless the batteries leak or worse, then the iPad should power up when connected to an external power source.

    As for CDs, originally we were told they would last 100 years. Then it was 30 years. In reality, cheap CDs last a few years. Expensive ones, might last a little longer. But nothing near 30 years.

    That's debatable.

    FWIW, some of us have documents close to being that old. :)
  22. wackymacky macrumors 68000


    Sep 20, 2007
    38°39′20″N 27°13′10″W
    What about the memory itself?

    Wihout any read/writes it should last a while, though I'm not sure about 50 years of keeping all the data just so.

    Why don't you do it? Shrink-wrap your iPad along with some silica gel sachets and lock it away for 50 years. Get it out when you're in your eighties and call your grandkind around to have a play.
  23. steviem macrumors 68020


    May 26, 2006
    New York, Baby!
    It stores local copies so there won't be a need for Apple servers.
  24. Psychmike macrumors regular

    Aug 3, 2008
    Excellent point. A friend of mine worked at a federal film archive. He told me that they looked into digitizing their collection but had the same concerns. Some of those films are over 125 years old but are still accessible. As you suggest, media that we were using only 20 years ago can be difficult to access due to both changes in hardware and software.

    Digital offers many, many advantages but that information is more 'distant' to us than older media and therefore may not degrade as gracefully or continuously. If intermediate hardware of software changes, that information may be lost forever.

    It's important to remember that we don't live 'at the end of history'. There's a tendency to see contemporary time as unique or permanent but the world has changed a LOT in 20 years and is likely to change even more in the next 20!
  25. nixiemaiden macrumors 6502a

    Jun 21, 2010
    Are you talking about the music cds? Or cds that you buy to burn backups on? I have a lot of cds from the late 80s that still work fine.

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