The main fear related to digital sheet music is almost always the fear that the device will run out of battery on stage or during rehearsal. In order to get everyone to agree on this subject, we conducted a small experiment: we filmed an iPad using Newzik for a whole day. Watch the video by clicking here!
1. Shooting conditions
As specified in the video, this little “experiment” was carried out under very particular conditions.
On the one hand, the iPad remained connected to Wi-Fi and Bluetooth, with the brightness set to maximum. On the other hand, this iPad Pro dates back to 2015, it’s one of the first ones we bought. It has travelled around the world with us these last years when we worked with orchestras to accompany them in their rehearsals and concerts on Newzik.
Thus, we obviously didn’t expect optimal performance in terms of battery life. However, the experience is much closer to reality this way: not everyone can have a freshly purchased, latest-generation iPad Pro!
2. Conclusions of the video
According to this short video, our iPad would have a battery life of about seven hours and thirty minutes. As said above, this iPad being at the end of its life, we can expect a newer iPad to easily last up to 10 hours without charging.
“It’s 10% for each hour of use” - Jean Miron, Youtube comment.
It is certain that this is enough for the majority of concerts. As mentioned in the video, in seven hours and thirty minutes we would have had time to play Mahler’s Third Symphony five times! However, if we are to be completely honest, this autonomy, although sufficient in most cases, can be problematic mainly in two situations.
First of all in the case of an opera: the pieces can be very long, and if the musician has a slightly dated device, the battery can potentially be an issue.
The second situation, much less problematic, is that of a long rehearsal. Since rehearsals or studio sessions can sometimes last an entire day, the battery can, once again, be a problem.
Apart from these two situations, an autonomy of seven and a half hours is still substantial and largely sufficient for most musicians. However, the two situations mentioned above are not uncommon… So how to solve this problem?
The first thing to do to avoid battery-related problems is of course to make sure your iPad is always fully charged before your rehearsals or performances. For rehearsals lasting a whole day, a good solution is to think about plugging in your iPad during your lunch break. One hour of charging can add up to a good two hours of autonomy!
But as mentioned above, sometimes that won’t be enough. But don’t worry, we’ve got plenty of advice for you.
1. External batteries
A good first solution is using an external battery. This type of device will allow you to charge your iPad without having to plug it into a power outlet. However, there are some criteria to consider when choosing an external battery for use on stage or in rehearsals.
First, check the charging capacity of the external battery. An iPad has a capacity of about 30,000 to 35,000 milli-watt/hour (depending on the model). You will therefore need an external battery with enough capacity to provide a full charge. However, you don’t have to buy a battery that can fully charge your iPad. You can buy one with a smaller capacity but that will allow you to keep your iPad “on life support” for the duration of a concert or a rehearsal to avoid running out of battery without having to charge it at 100%.
Another important point is the presence of the USB Power Delivery system which is only compatible with tablets having a USB-C port (which is the case with the latest generation of iPads). This technology is an “intelligent” charging system that adapts to the needs of your device, thus guaranteeing optimal recharging.
You must also pay attention to the size and weight of the external battery. Indeed, if you need to use it on stage (in the case of an opera, for example), you will have to think about going for a discreet model.
Speaking of being discreet, there is one last question you want to ask yourself when buying an external battery: where do you put it when you are on stage? If you use a traditional music stand with your iPad, then no problem, you can easily place it next to your iPad without anyone seeing it. However, if you use a special iPad stand, you’ll need to think about installing a tray on your stand to hold the battery.
2. The Flight-case designed for orchestras
After several years of working with orchestras around the world, we realized that there didn’t exist a solution for charging and storing iPads that was both efficient and mobile. Indeed, most of the products available on the market are too heavy or too difficult to move. We therefore decided to create our own flight-case specially designed for orchestras in collaboration with Rythmes & Sons (French flight-case specialist).
This unique device can store and charge 40 iPads at the same time and is equipped with two fans to evacuate heat. We have also implemented a key or code locking system to ensure safe storage. This solution is specially adapted to the needs of musicians and stage managers: the flight-case is exactly 1m20 (3’94”) wide, which matches the standard size of most trucks, and is stackable in complete safety. You can also store pedals, styluses, Wi-Fi hotspots… in a space designed for this purpose.
If you are interested in this solution, you can order it through us. We therefore invite you to contact us directly by email at firstname.lastname@example.org !
3. Best practices for optimizing the battery of your iPad
The solutions mentioned above are adapted to situations where the maximum autonomy of an iPad battery can be a problem (operas, long rehearsals…). However, even if these situations do not concern you, it is still important to take care of your equipment to ensure optimal performance. Here are a few tips that will help you optimize the autonomy of your device:
Upgrade to the latest software version: Apple’s system updates often incorporate advanced power-saving technologies.
Adjust Brightness: you can reduce the brightness by opening the Control Center and dragging the brightness slider down. You can also turn on automatic brightness adjustment in Settings > Display & Brightness.
Activate Power Save Mode: this mode can be activated when the battery is almost discharged. It reduces the screen brightness, optimizes the performance of the device and limits system animations, which of course limits battery consumption. Your iPad will alow you to activate it when its battery runs low.
Use Wi-Fi rather than cellular data: if you need to access the internet while working on your music, be aware that Wi-Fi consumes less battery power than cellular data! We therefore recommend that you always use Wi-Fi whenever possible, which will limit battery consumption.
Avoid extreme temperatures: an iPad is designed to withstand a wide range of temperatures (0 - 35°C) with a comfort zone between 16 and 22°C. Temperatures above 35°C can cause irreversible damage to the battery. If your device is exposed to very cold temperatures, battery life will be reduced but will return to normal if the device returns to mild temperatures.
If you need to store your iPad for a long period of time (a few months): it is best to charge it to 50%, turn it off and make sure the battery does not drop to 0%. If you fully charge it or leave it discharged for a long period of time, the battery may lose some of its capacity.
We hope this short article has reassured you about the performance of an iPad in terms of autonomy. If it hasn’t, we hope it’s brought you some solutions to avoid battery problems if you’re on stage for more than seven hours!
To conclude, we can assure you one thing: we’ve been aware of this issue since the early days of Newzik’s development. The application is optimized to consume as little energy as possible. In all the projects we’ve carried out around the world since 2015, the iPad’s autonomy has never been a problem for anyone, and everything has always gone perfectly.