I think it goes the other way; the manufacturers' obsession with thinness (for mostly aesthetic reasons) goes a long way to explain why they're focusing on reducing power draw.
It's great that they are reducing power draw, but by making everything thinner (usually translating into decreased power storage), those gains in efficiency are largely cancelled out when it comes to battery life in real-world usage.
When creating these things, the designers, engineers, and marketing people obviously have some kind of target battery life in mind, and it seems as though the target is always "about the same battery life as the last generation," whereas there's no end to the number of compromises and engineering efforts that go toward cutting 1 mm off one dimension.
And of course, the tech bloggers all go nuts about how thin the newest generation is compared to the last, and people buy computers based on their recommendations.
Aren't these things thin enough already, at least for professionals? Why not go for some truly earth-shattering battery life on one of these laptops? Do people really care more about that 1 mm than they do about potentially hours of additional battery life?
Throws hands up in air
I've only used my battery pack four or five times in the year and a half I've had my 6s. Most of the time I'm not far away from a plug - either at home, in my car, at work, etc.
But when I travel, a slightly bigger battery wouldn't be enough. I would want twice the battery life - something I can get by using a battery pack - but I probably wouldn't get from a slightly larger iPhone.
If you have to optimize, why optimize for the edge cases instead of the most popular case and give options for those times people need it.
Since getting my Pixel XL I have a noticed I rely on external battery packs less as I often have access to a power socket for at least an hour or two when I travel.
I can count on running off the battery all day as long as I can get it plugged in while I fetch a sandwich for lunch.
If I plug mine into a 2 amp usb A charger it says that it is not charging, but does that mean it is drawing zero watts, or only that it is only drawing 10 watts? It would be nice to charge it overnight if only a phone charger happens to be around, or even just slow down the discharge rate while using the laptop.
Forcing user to learn all kinds of magic rules for how to "treat their battery" seems very old-fashioned and strange.
What you have to consider with fast charging is that it degrades the batteries faster and produces more heat.
I can understand if someone says they want even lighter.
One of the things that has changed my life for the better is switching entirely to devices that can use any USB power brick or USB charger in a pinch. This includes my cameras, tablets, phones, audio gear, and so on. The only remaining outlier is laptops.
As for battery packs, I have multiple devices, but I carry one battery pack that can charge all of them as needed. My phone is much lighter in my pocket for not having to have a larger battery (that I don't usually need), my ipad is easier to handle, etc.
For instance the new MacBook Pro 13" is my first MacBook Pro, simply because it's the first that is thin/light enough for me to carry around. Before that I had a MacBook Air from 2011. The MacBook Pro is vastly more powerful, but to write code it doesn't help much. It's not like SublimeText was slow on the MacBook Air. It's however night and days when it comes to browsing the web...
Frankly, I'm more annoyed by the bulk and weight of the power adapter than I am about 1mm or 1# off the laptop.
I welcome powerful laptops that are as light as possible.
Where are people working that they need a full day of untethered charge? I've never been to a client that didn't provide me with a power outlet.
4 or 5 hours of real world use for a developer workstation is just fine train commuting or sitting in a coffee shop in the morning.
More battery would be nice, but thinness and espcially weight matter a great deal to me. I literally sometimes don't even have my charger with me, because that small amount of added weight annoys me a great deal. Although I'm probably a bit extreme in that regard.
My main qualm is your note that tech bloggers love the thinness and that people will buy it based on their recommendation.
A) do most people really read tech blogs to figure out what computer to buy? Or do most people ask the best buy guy or their friend? (I would guess the latter, but I am not super sure so I'm gonna leave it as a question...)
B) many tech bloggers to express their disappointment in manufacturer's obsession with thinness. (Examples: MKBHD, Android Police, maybe even Anandtech)
(On a separate note, I have read way too many tech blogs...)
If you want bigger laptops, go out and buy the biggest one you can find. If all these people that say they want it do that, you can be sure the market will be flooded with laptops with a big battery.
Apple doesn't even have the thinnest laptop anymore, that achievement is now in HP's hands with the 10.4mm thick Spectre (and before that it was HP's Envy)
Interesting to note that there are reports that there was a failed battery design that would have given these latest models even more battery. However, I think your suggestion is more reasonable. If there's less space being used for components, fill it with more battery. Then they could possibly have offered the 32GB of ram they couldn't offer due to battery concerns.
As for battery life, I need enough battery to be able to go to meetings without having to take the charger with me. It's not usual for me to work 8 hours without having a charger near to me. Also, as far as I know, the new Macs with USB-C, can be charged from an external battery pack.
Thus i find myself thinking about some way to do a combo of frames/cases and batteries so that one can add a frame to a laptop and insert batteries into the frame to extend overall runtime.
The idea of the frames being that if one replace the laptop one only need to replace the frame but continue to use the batteries.
I think the battle over thinness and weight was well worth it but the next battle is getting workflow to work in a full touch screen interface similar to the surface pro do and not he half ass move Apple made with that touch bar. Applications and imagination are holding that up. I do not expect keyboards to ever go away completely but pointing devices are another thing entirely
Professional whats? Executives, salespeople, real estate agents, pediatricians, beer distributors - all of these people are professionals, and all of them can and do benefit from smaller and lighter computing power.
Clearly your idea of a professional is someone who is chained to a desk writing code or processing complex 3D graphics. No question those are professional uses as well, but the idea of a 'professional computer user' covers a lot more ground these days than your insular definition.
I'm not sure why people who need high performance are so sniffy and condescending about those who don't. A requirement for massive computer resources doesn't make the work more valuable or respectable. Your moral worth is not linked to the number of processors you require to get your work done.
> Or the infinite other ultrabooks available now?
They don't run MacOS.
People with more strenuous computing needs are miffed because the MBP used to fit our use case, and now it doesn't. There isn't a single Apple product focused on the high performance market any more, and some of us are bitter.
The current laptop lineup is great, and perfect for a wide range of professions, myself included. But there is nothing for the person who wants more power, even if with more weight and cost. The desktop lineup is okay, but 3-year-old models keep being sold at launch prices, and are not practically upgradeable.
Nobody cares if HP comes out with boring laptops one year - because there's always Lenovo, Dell, etc to choose from, and for desktops you can always build your own. But if you want to stay with your software and workflows on MacOS, Apple is the only maker of Macs.
My "suggestion" for Apple would be to give up on the Mac Pro desktop line, take one high-end Dell workstation every year, and test and qualify it to run MacOS. People already build Hackintoshes, so it cannot be too complex compared to designing and building their own hardware.
This would mean that people who want to pay $10-50k, can have a MacOS computer with 44 cores, a terabyte of memory, 4 graphics cards, 8 SSDs in RAID, and so on. Add a generous "Apple tax" to make it worthwhile for Apple, and people who want the power always have one "really maxed out" option. And everyone who complains about laptops not being powerful enough can be told to get a desktop instead.
I submit that it's because the people in one camp feel that Apple screwed them in order to cater to people in the second camp. The people in the first camp are sick of hearing how the MBP is adequate for the people in the second camp, and are projecting a little bit.
I do mind that they don't offer at least one good alternative that is "programmer pro": harddisk can be changed, RAM can be added, battery can be replaced and may be bigger. I really don't mind 5mm or even 1cm extra thickness if that gives me all this for a reasonable price. And the 2012 Macbook Pro (without retina) was offered up til last year, but that was no real option with four year old hardware and still for the same price.
Do you know of that instant update feature in Excel? It automatically updates cells when you alter one, up to a certain performance point. My MacBook (non anything) stops doing so much faster than when I use a desktop. When I do process a line of heavier formulae I do have to also wait a fair amount longer than when I use a larger machine.
And the pretty penny argument does not really hold up when you are talking about it as a company expense, due to the very favorable tax perspective.
Sorry but that has to be one of the most ridiculous benchmarks I've seen in a long time.
I think that the only thing that could "trick" them into making a gaming machine is VR, as it requires similar hardware.
They don't "need" to... We just really want them to.
They made their brand exactly by caring about the people they are throwing away now. It's not obvious if their brand will sustain itself without those people.
Screen size. I'd personally love a 15" fanless MacBook.
The macbook pro is a computer for professional computer users.
A professional philosophy professor has no need of a macbook pro, a professional video-editor does.
Being a 'professional; in your white-collar classification, doesn't imply that you're a professional computer user.
It's not an insular definition, it's a specific definition.
I don't see why. A philosophy professor might prefer a larger screen and a faster CPU for their web browsing and document editing. And, while a professional video-editor would understandably gripe about it, I have no doubt they could get their work done—if they had to—on a 12" MacBook. Video editors used to get fine work done on Pentiums that offered a small fraction of the performance.
It's not an insular definition, it's a specific definition.
Set by whom? Where?
This is about the semantics of the word 'professional' and avoiding confusing a 'professional' in the white-collar-job sense, and a 'professional computer user'.
Set by whom? Where?
Well, apple don't define their terms formally in a Dictionary, they're subject to interpretation. I would say they've historically marketed the Macbook pro as a computer for 'professional computer users', not 'professional' in the white-collar vs blue-collar sense of the word.
Everyone wants batteries that last longer. How often did you look at your last generation mbp and wish it was thinner?
I love the fact that I don't have to carry a charger for the Macbook, even after 2 years of usage it still runs long enough to last a workday.
Okay so its not the new Macbook we're talking about here. I think I may have the same one, I bought it in 2014 and I love it. It still takes everything I throw at it, and it connects to everything. Full SSD which I was wary of at first but once you get used to no moving parts - which don't break - it's hard to imagine going back to clunky spinning platters.
I'd be hard pressed to go for the new MBPs though. My 2014 is so light it barely registers as it is. I'd prefer to keep the same degree of connectivity and utility. The new one I'm afraid seems a bit much of show pony.
I'm concerned with the direction Apple's software is taking as well. Others here mention the abandonment of the high end, with regards to photography, video, music etc. but even the middle-ground is a mess. iTunes keeps getting clunkier and clunkier to the point where I'm seriously considering not getting an iPhone because that's the last reason I need to use it at this stage.
I think the Photos app leaves a lot to be desired as well. A lot of people moaned about iPhoto - but to me it seemed way better.
Then there was Yosemite, which is actually the only dark period in my MBP's life. Things would just mysteriously stop working, and regular reboots were fairly common. What particularly stands out is that fiasco around mDnsResponder / Discoveryd - which ironically most acutely affected users with a mostly Apple ecosystem.
Each of these three instances, as well as other notables such as Apple maps, are cases where Apple just couldn't "leave well enough alone"; took something that worked okay and foisted a big steaming pile of dog poo on us instead.
In fairness though the emphasis seems to be on "think different" these days rather than "it just works" but it may as well be "software is hard, lets go shopping".
Sorry, I seem to have gone way off on a tangent here. Though I feel the general sentiment is still OT. Thanks!
Look, it plays Angry Birds and that thing with the cars - what more could anyone want?
And there's a text and presentation editor, and a spreadsheet, because those are super important.
I'd guess there's no one to represent any of the pro user communities in Cupertino any more at the top levels. There's certainly no passion for making beautiful, creative tools any more.
I still like the hardware - the iPad Pro is a favourite in this house, and I'm enjoying a new MacBook - but how I wish someone could give MacOS software like iTunes and Photos a kick up the ass to make it awesome instead of eccentric and annoying.
And how I wish Apple would open up to all the creative communities and start listening to what pro users want, instead of telling us that we don't really need what we used to have and we should - y'know - just get over ourselves.
Edit: Evidently the downvotes have proven that thinner devices do not lead to increased risk of bend damage.
At least give people a choice. The 17" used to be fantastic as well, and I still miss it. It was big and bulky enough that causal users didn't want it and so Apple didn't have to try to appease them with it as much.
It'd be great if they licensed MacOS again if they're going to give up on the higher end as we've seen with the Mac Pro 0-upgrades-in-4-years zero-commitment-to-the-platform approach they've taken, as we've seen with killing Xserve, with the dual-core-only Mac minis after the 2012 model, with iMacs using all laptop parts...
They message they send is clear: we make computers to do Facebook and some Excel on, not for making movies (FinalCut Pro X dropping tons of pro features), not for photographers (Aperture is discontinued), not for DJs (no more FireWire and 100% USB-C), not for programmers or hacker types (check how old their versions of unix tools are, dtrace locked out with rootless AKA SIP, non-upgradable/repairable hardware, Mac App Store limitations). All the reasons macs sold so well with pros before are basically nonexistent in 2017, and I predict that they'll slowly fade out of the pro scenes. At some point, consumers will notice ("why doesn't every major DJ have the glowing Apple logo on stage anymore???") and they will stop being cool.
I'm pretty convinced that all it would take to usurp Apple is a really solid design like an old IBM or a sturdy Dell with a touchpad that doesn't register your palm half the time, and a chassis that doesn't droop a few mm on one side when you pick it near the corner. Sadly, even today, there are not many options for laptops that don't feel like complete crap compared to any MacBook.
Regarding overall portability, I think the 13 inch MacBook air is a good compromise. The new 13 inch MacBook pro is about the same weight, but obviously a lot more powerful, and is smaller in dimensions. It's a breeze to work on planes with this machine.
I'd rather see the next iteration of MacBook Pros with better heat dissipation and longer battery life than with 1 mm improvement in thickness.
Sure the ratio changes, but I'm not sure how that is relevant.
Make of that what you will, but we exist.
Never. Not once. I almost found it comical how thick the old MacBook Pro was to my Retina MacBook Pro. Then after using a new one for a while and going back to my once-thin rMBP 13", it feels as thick as the old generation.
You and the OP highlight a problem here: Apple's offerings in the "pro" segment is too limited to satisfy all different users' needs.
Apple needs to diversify.
That said, there is one very real issue that I haven't seen mentioned anywhere: because of how thin they are, many of the minor issues that could previously be fixed in the Apple Store now require sending it out.
I had an intermittently working key on my keyboard and took it in for something I assumed would take half an hour to fix. They told me they needed to mail it in and it would be 4 - 6 days, probably 4. It's now going on day 13.
Fortunately my last one was old enough that it had zero resale value, but for anyone thinking of upgrading I'd highly recommend keeping a backup.
Control strip is buggy, especially when using external monitors. The software is not able to adequately deal with external monitors being connected and disconnected throughout the day.
It also had a kernel panic displayed on the control strip (which is a separate OS) the moment I turned it on for the first time. It was kinda hilarious, the panic text was written sideways on the control strip, and since it's so thin there was a line break every 4-5 characters.
Compared to my MBA, i can 100% reliability input 3 fingers vs 2. on the new MBP, that reliability rate is about 80%
3 weeks after that repair, my 'o' key stopped responding unless I hit it in the bottom left corner. Took it in and they fixed it in-store. Said that many people are having keyboard issues.
There are couple of software glitches and I'd choose non-TB option if there was any for 15 inch, otherwise it's great laptop.
It's a shame because I really like the feel of typing on it, but if it keeps breaking that's a huge issue.
I otherwise love the computer, but when I sleep it overnight it inevitably shuts down and has to restart in the morning. I'm sending in the crash report daily just in case they actually use them and maybe it'll get fixed.
Not a huge deal since computers boot so fast and I always save things, but it's still annoying.
EDIT: on the topic of the article, my battery life is great, the whole computer is great EXCEPT for having to keep activity monitor open to keep an eye on which GPU I'm using. the discrete GPU will burn through a whole charge in 3.5 hrs. Some apps will call for it without actually needing it, like reading a pdf in Adobe Acrobat. If I kill off any apps calling the dGPU, battery life is fine, albeit not exciting. I keep the full MS Office suite running, Google Earth Pro, a dozen or so tabs open. Frustrating but hoping it will be fixed on a software update.
A good litmus test between "professional" and "premium consumer device" is 1: do you have a direct line to a domestic tech who can address your issues (i.e., generally not having to waste your time with a level 1 service tech, but directly reaching someone who is at least semi-competent and capable of authorizing work orders and/or warranty claims in the ERP) or an option to buy an SLA, 2: does the company offer a mil-spec and/or pre-authorized GSA listed items, 3: does their financing dept offer 3 (or 5, depending on how your organization decides to do their depreciation) year equipment lease schedule ?
My colleague with a new Surface Book has been shaking his fist at me, wishing he hadn't listened to the FUD and left the Applesphere. Apparently he gets frustratingly bad battery life on his SB. (To be fair, though, the SB's display ejection hardware is just plain cool...)
We're programmers, BTW, writing server-side software mainly using Go, running several ancillary services locally on our dev machines using Docker to ease the development process. I'm thoroughly pleased with my 2016 MBP's battery life considering these workloads.
With that said, SB can easily do 10-12 hours once you turn off the always-on camera:
Do you people chain yourselves to your desk the entire day? My office has a the "open-office" trend, which pretty much prompts me to leave and to go various parts of the office during the day, or maybe even the library, and only come back in for meetings.
To me this sounds as you don't really have proper working offices. Maybe that is the problem you need to solve, instead of trying to maximize the battery life of your laptop?
I can't change my office layout without switching jobs.
Also I'm wondering why you use Mac or Surface to programm server side stuff? Wouldn't a Linux on a cheaper/more powerful laptop be better for such work?
I think OP would get much better battery time if he used a proper Linux machine.
These activities, especially when repeated throughout the day, can be quite computationally-expensive, taking a significant toll on the machine's resources. These aren't light workloads, they are fairly heavy.
It's the same with iOS vs. Android. Early Android proponents did nothing but talk up the specs and the "customizability". The reality is, iPhones have always had such great hardware/software integration that they made using touch screens feel like you were interacting with the UI physically. You press a button, the phone almost immediately responded. A lot of this was the use of capacitive touch screen, but there was a lot more to it. It took years for Android to get close to this point, and I honestly think Apple still does it better.
Why do I need 4GB of RAM on my phone, when 1GB runs every app I want it to and gives me a lag free experience in the rest of the OS?
This must be a troll
I know I'm not a typical user, but I get much better battery life (with lower productivity) out of my windows laptop. Which was not the case when I switched to Macs years back.
I thought I was getting much worse battery life on my new MBP compared to my old one, but then I paid attention to screen brightness - when I level match the screens to the same level of brightness, I get the same battery life as my older one.
I'm used to just jamming the screen to 100% brightness, so I've had to get used to keep it around 70% or so.
For max long term comfort, your display should be no brighter than the ambient light levels. Otherwise--if the display is way brighter--your pupils will have to contract when you look at the screen, and dilate when you look away. Your pupils are controlled by muscles and like any muscles, they can get tired.
I have a 2012 MacBook Air and I rarely have the brightness over 50% indoors. And the new MacBook Pros have way brighter screens.
Sitting in my living room right now, my iPhone is at about 15% brightness.
It works as long as I disable flux.
However I generally find my most productive workflow is all local. Which is why I was doubly disappointed by the lack of upgrades to 7th gen i7 and 32GB of RAM. The battery life loss under load was just the straw that broke the camel's back.
While Apple seems to improve idle power efficiency, not much is or can be done about high CPU workloads, but decreasing battery capacity doesn't help at all.
My 2012 MPBr shows ~94Wh capacity from System Report. I know they've changed battery sizes several times since then - down to ~75Wh, then more again.
I considered many other options but couldn't find a company with similar build quality and reputation for high quality in the mobile workstation space.
My only concern was the battery, it seems to perform at a high level.
Choose wisely. A MacBook Pro (Mid 2014) still has roughly the same performance as a 2016 model but is much, much cheaper. I recommend you pick a used 2014 or 2015 model in good condition. Saves you a lot of money (> $1000).
A lot of people feel it ... isn't the same.
I had one, and returned it, partially for battery life. I'm doing a lot of development (intellij/phpstorm/virtualbox/etc). The battery life wasn't bad - at heavy use, I could get perhaps 6 hours of 'real' usage, but... It was $3700, which was a bit much for my blood given the battery shortcomings (and a few other reasons). But mostly price/performance relative to my workload. For $1200/less I got an approximately similar 2015 model with more battery, and a slightly heavier weight.
if price went down based on thickness, maybe it would be more welcomed...
Powering a main screen versus a screen 1/15th of the size hardly qualifies as "effectively... a second screen"
> improved overall performance
Is it possible newer components are more optimized to draw less power for the same or more performance?
Most commentary around 5th vs 6th generation is that it's pretty much identical.
> reduced the size of the internal battery by 30%
I'll talk about that. Keep the battery the same damn size and give us more battery life.
> effectively added a second screen
Plenty of people have been talking about the touch bar.
> improved overall performance
If it didn't do that the world would have a new source of non-coal energy, Mac fans screaming at the top of their lungs!
What Apple lacks is the moment is coherency. The iPhone comes with a headset and charging cable that won't work with a Mac. When I plugged my earphones+remote into an iMac and the remote worked, that was magical. This is just silly.
The Mac Pro was resurrected and promptly abandoned. iMacs are MIA. Apple stuff doesn't work with other Apple stuff. More "it just works" please.
Even this article:
> It’s also in line with people reporting that under high load the new MBP lasts a shorter amount of time than the earlier models.
Is there a program that watches excessive CPU usage and battery drain over time, warns me and points me directly to the possible culprit and advices me to take action. For example to close a specific tab in Safari. I would even let the program automatically close Safari tabs for certain websites.
The goal would be to optimise battery usage in the most user friendly way.
The Macbook pro 2014 used Haswell processors which are notably more power hungry on idle than Broadwell and its successor Skylake, as Intel really focused on power draw with Broadwell.
There are only two useful figures here: power drawn from the battery (probably mW) and time the battery would last at idle. The current is meaningless unless you know that the voltage (current voltage, not nominal voltage) of the batteries on the systems being compared are the same. Given that battery voltage changes during a discharge cycle, this is far from a given even the batteries are completely identical.
If Apple really wanted to halve battery current, they could just change the cell configuration to double the voltage. Bingo!, except the laptop won't actually run any longer on a charge.
I would prefer not to think about my usage patterns and just sit back knowing my new laptop (2016 mbp) is always better than my old (2015 mbp) one in all cases.
People used to buy cars every two to three years as well, but now it's common to retain them for a lot longer unless you're leasing.
It's also unlikely you're OS locked on a 3-year old machine. My 2012 MacBook Pro still runs current versions of macOS.
I'm pretty sure that the new CPUs are more efficient – in terms of power/workload – than the previous generation.
That would mean the new MBP is <= 25% worse for a given workload. Maybe somebody knows the numbers for the CPUs, but previous generations improved efficiency by 10-30%.
Secondly, we should always compare watts instead of amps unless we know the batteries have the exact same voltages.
For example, for a battery life of 18h it must draw 4.2W on average (76Wh/18h). I don't think that's possible because only the 2016 MacBook uses that little power -- 4.1W (41Wh/10h).
619mA * 11.1V = 6.87W
430mA * 11.1V = 4.77W
So it's the difference of about 2 watts between the 2015 MBP and the 2016 MBP, or roughly 30% less consumption.
> I’m impressed that the new MBP will happily sit at a 500 mA power draw for long stretches of time.
It's virtually useless to tell people the amount of current something is using without also mentioning the voltage. I don't know why the author is discussing this in terms of current instead of watts.
5W isn't overly impressive for a laptop. My 2012 Dell (admittedly without retina display, but with 5 year old components) idles in Linux at ~7W with the brightness at 50%. If you close the lid to turn off the display, this will drop to 5W.
So, 5 years, a HDPI display, and Apple is down to 5W.
Anyone with a Dell XPS 13 or XPS 15 who can comment on power consumption? I'm not overly impressed by this number from Apple, it seems par for the course for Intel hardware over the past few years.
The biggest problem for laptop battery life is Windows. My Dell came with Windows 7 and I wouldn't get 3 hours on the 6 cell battery (65Wh). I installed Linux on it and now I can get 6-7 hours comfortably.
Maybe Windows 10 has improved this somewhat, but Windows 7 is terribad for laptop battery life.
I actually am thinking about upgrading my old MBA, and have considered the non-touchbar MBP. At this point, though, I'm not sure if I should be waiting for Kaby Lake. Does anyone have stats on how much that should improve performance or battery life? It's likely the next revision of MBP, maybe later this year (?), will support the newer processors, right?
On the negative side, if I'm playing Civ 5 whilst plugged in the battery is still discharging - albeit very slowly. I'm not sure what would happen if it actually got to zero. I assume it would switch off, despite being plugged in?