It”s shiny, new and comes out in Australia and 24 other countries today.

But if you’re planning on being one of the comparative few who’ll get one today, you might be asking yourself “will I need to charge the battery first?”

Generally, the answer depends on who you talk to.

Most devices are shipped with half-charged batteries. However, some will recommend you charge the battery before use (often the case with notebooks) whereas for the iPad, Apple seems to be a bit more laid back. On the company’s web page dealing specifically with iPad batteries, there’s no mention that you must charge the battery first before you use it.

Apple normally ships its iPads with a charged battery so its ready to use out of the box and unlike older NiMH technology, Lithium-ion-based batteries don’t tend to drop the charge anywhere near as quickly.

According to Apple, the battery is designed to be able to deliver 80% of its original battery runtime after 1000 charge/recharge cycles. To get that, the company recommends that you should go through at least one charge cycle each month.

However, if you’re hoping to charge the battery, use the supplied USB AC mains charger – it will work considerably faster than plugging it into a computer/notebook’s USB port. The iPad only charges via a computer’s USB port when the iPad itself is in sleep mode.

Keep the battery relatively cool too – it’s designed to operate between 0 and 35-degrees C (95-degrees F) but Apple says 22-degrees C is ideal.

You can find more information on iPad battery care at the Apple website.

So in the end, if you’ve got a new iPad 2 straight out of the box, the battery should be good to go. At this stage, it’s probably more important that you don’t let it get too hot.

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