A new patent application filed by Apple - more than one year ago - for a mobile device could help improve the user experience on the next iPad or iPhone by allowing the user to calculate the amount of power needed to stream content.
The system determines whether there's enough power to complete the task and the system would seamlessly adjust the playback settings in order, for example, play a video, in its entirety.
This could imply a number of alterations; for example adjusting picture resolution, video bit-rate, backlight brightness, sound volume and toggling Wi-Fi and 3G for example.
This "intelligent power management method" would maximize battery life to a certain extent and use what Apple's description calls a "priority ranking" which can be amended by the user.
Since this appears to be mostly a software upgrade (given that most of the raw data needed to make the decisions is already available to the OS via hardware), one can expect that it will be available in the next iOS 5, which will be rolled out on the iPhone 5 and the iPad 2.
Apple is also likely to implement the new techniques learnt from the iPad 2 on the iPhone 5 which could mean much thinner batteries combined with more elegant power saving techniques thanks to the new dual core Apple A5 system on chip.