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Print 29 comment(s) - last by Pirks.. on Jul 2 at 4:57 PM

A firmware update gives some clues about new Apple hardware

Apple is extremely secretive about its products.  It has gone to great lengths to prevent news from leaking, even taking the unorthodox approach of killing leaks sites. 

However, it can only keep secrets so long, as its firmware often reveals what loose lips do not.  Apple Insider noted today that the 625K update Mac OS X 10.5.7 for the MacBook Air contains firmware tweaks to the logic board that controls the power functions, thermal management, the sleep LED, and battery.

Apple confirmed that the firmware update was to work with a new series of internal MacBook Air replacement batteries.  Like the previous batteries, the new ones would not be user replaceable, and are only able to be officially replaced by Apple repair depots and other Apple authorized service repair centers.

The company has said it is increasingly using advanced chemistry and adaptive charging to prolong battery life.  The battery design from the MacBook Air has been replicated in the new MacBook Pros.  This in turn has transition the MacBook Pros from having user replaceable batteries, to having much harder to replace internal batteries.  The tradeoff gain has been a substantially improved battery life.

Apple leads the mobile PC industry in battery life, though part of that is thanks to the notebook's EFI (BIOS replacement), which is tweaked for OS X.  Apple has been rumored for some time now to be on the verge of bringing silver-zinc batteries to the market.  Silver-zinc batteries feature a greater capacity than lithium ones and are nonflammable, however, the high price of silver has kept them off the laptop market thus far.



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As nice as some of Apples products are...
By userengel on 6/30/2009 7:46:36 PM , Rating: 4
I find it frustrating to no end that the batteries aren't user replaceable.




By Brandon Hill (blog) on 6/30/2009 7:53:01 PM , Rating: 5
I always hear this complaint, but I've had about 3 or 4 different notebooks over the past 6 years and I've never bought an extended battery or a replacement battery for either. I've always stuck with the original battery.

Maybe I'm just weird :)


By userengel on 6/30/2009 7:59:01 PM , Rating: 4
Well for my laptop, I carry a second battery fully charged on the off chance I need it. Almost never do, but just the fact I have it in case I do is very comforting. Although, I wasn't even just talking about their notebooks, the ipod, the iphone, all of them should really allow the end user to replace the battery as they get old without having to pay an arm and a leg to have it done for you.


By wifiwolf on 6/30/2009 9:12:05 PM , Rating: 2
Don't like not being able to change batteries but never had to either because anyway notebooks lifespan are not that large too. As for silver price, I think any Apple product is paid as gold, so no problem for Apple using this.


RE: As nice as some of Apples products are...
By noirsoft on 6/30/2009 9:29:03 PM , Rating: 3
My XPS M1210 battery failed to hold a charge after a bit more than two years, so I got a replacement. That seems fairly common from what I've heard about battery life. I normally would be upgrading right about now, but with my cash flow not being what it was three years ago, I'm going to hold on to the current lappy a bit longer. Heck, a $50 upgrade will take it from 2 to 4 gigs of RAM, which could keep it in use for another two years. The only thing really holding it back is the lack of DX10 graphics -- a 2.17 Ghz Core2Duo is still pretty decent in a mobile machine


By Jeffk464 on 7/1/2009 3:28:53 PM , Rating: 2
If used everyday like a cell phone I think 2 years is about the expected life of current LIPO batteries.


RE: As nice as some of Apples products are...
By elmikethemike on 6/30/09, Rating: -1
By tastyratz on 6/30/2009 11:14:32 PM , Rating: 5
Whoa tiger - its easy to gain marketshare when your just finally breaking 9%. Thats still a significant minority and not transcending regular pc's like you make it sound. No need to be such a sore loser :-)

Regardless of whether or not your average joe will need a replacement in his average machine lifetime, the restriction of not having that option should said battery fail/need a quick swap/etc. is a way of controlling the market and unsatisfactory to the consumer. Not everyone fits in the "toss it every 2" category... especially in today's economy.

Your very right the likelyhood of the trendy beatnicks keeping their macbook long enough to swap the battery is slim, but that doesn't mean the fact should be largely ignored. This should not be standard practice anywhere, and its not something we want other pc manufacturers to think is considered acceptable.

What if apple decides on a 24 month support schedule to force you into just buying a new machine every 2 years since they stop making your battery?

What if auto manufacturers restricted all new car parts to oem suppliers only, and you could only bring your car into a dealer from now on?

The aftermarket support industry should thrive on something as mundane as a laptop battery. Regardless of whether or not its apple, I find the practice by a major portable electronic supplier as unacceptable universally.


By MrPoletski on 7/1/2009 9:27:49 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
The anti-Apple crowd is a very insecure group and are never happy with their own gear


put the crack pipe away.


RE: As nice as some of Apples products are...
By stubeck on 6/30/2009 8:02:55 PM , Rating: 3
I just replaced the hard drive in my new MBP. I don't know why Apple is so emo about the battery not being user replaceable. Its held in with a few screws and a cable, VERY easy to replace.


By someguy123 on 6/30/2009 8:21:09 PM , Rating: 4
money


By Jeffk464 on 7/1/2009 11:37:20 AM , Rating: 2
Look at the top of the line mac laptops, they have a very unique lithium polymer battery. The way they are set up looks awesome to me and is well worth not having it user replaceable.


RE: As nice as some of Apples products are...
By Shig on 6/30/2009 8:30:16 PM , Rating: 3
I agree that it is frustrating, but if you can get 25% or better battery life, I'm on board. Some of their new battery life times are quite impressive.


RE: As nice as some of Apples products are...
By quiksilvr on 7/1/2009 3:05:16 AM , Rating: 3
That's not the point. There are many times when I am sitting on a table with my laptop and my power strip. So to stop the heat of the laptop to degrade the battery, I just take out the battery and plug my laptop to the wall.

Fortunately (sarcasm) Apple has thought of this too and made their AC adapters smaller. This means that if you plug it in to the wall without the battery, you LOSE PERFORMANCE. How money grubbing do you have to be?


By Jeffk464 on 7/1/2009 11:39:01 AM , Rating: 2
Yup, my acer M-series basically can't go anywhere without the power cord.


RE: As nice as some of Apples products are...
By Flunk on 6/30/2009 10:11:34 PM , Rating: 3
They're perfectly replaceable, assuming you know how to use a screwdriver. Apple just likes to assume its customers are a load of retarded chimpanzees.


By akosixiv on 6/30/2009 10:50:05 PM , Rating: 5
youre forgetting one thing...that would be,

retarded RICH chimpanzees.


By Jeffk464 on 7/1/2009 11:41:50 AM , Rating: 2
I just assumed if my battery goes bad, I will have to buy individual cells and break out the solder gun. No way am I going to spend $150 for a stupid batter pack.


RE: As nice as some of Apples products are...
By Pirks on 7/1/09, Rating: 0
RE: As nice as some of Apples products are...
By sykes12 on 7/1/2009 2:47:16 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
I find it frustrating to no end that users like you never heard of external batteries.

I find it frustrating to no end that users like you think carrying external batteries is always convenient.


By foolsgambit11 on 7/1/2009 3:14:48 AM , Rating: 2
I'm beginning to find the user-replaceable battery arguments frustrating. Some prefer to have a battery they can replace themselves, and for some it isn't an issue. I personally like to have the option, though I must admit I've only used it on a couple of occasions in my entire life, and might be amenable to sacrificing the feature for better battery life. But I must admit, I don't want an Apple logo on my computer (for the same reason I don't want Eddie Bauer on my coat - I know they make good products, but I want people to think I'm too cool for that). And I don't want to buy an already expensive laptop and then pay more to install Windows on it, when an $800 Windows laptop does everything I need it to.


RE: As nice as some of Apples products are...
By Pirks on 7/1/2009 2:11:51 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
I find it frustrating to no end that users like you think carrying external batteries is always convenient.
There is no difference between carrying external batteries and internal ones. You just cook things up like any other Apple basher.


RE: As nice as some of Apples products are...
By weskurtz0081 on 7/1/2009 2:21:59 PM , Rating: 2
You might want to reread those exchanges. One the guy is bashing someone that thinks the non-replaceable Apple batteries is unacceptable.


RE: As nice as some of Apples products are...
By Pirks on 7/1/2009 7:43:21 PM , Rating: 2
He's bashing Apple without any reason. Same as bashing any other manufacturer with replaceable battery because this poor soul thinks it's totally terrible to carry internal batteries with the notebook. That's stupid, is it not?


RE: As nice as some of Apples products are...
By weskurtz0081 on 7/2/2009 9:45:35 AM , Rating: 2
You replied to the wrong post. The first guy wasn't bashing Apple, he was bashing people that don't put any weight into external batteries. Then, the second guy (the guy you replied to) responded saying something which was PRO internal batteries.

So, the guy you responded to was not bashing Apple.


RE: As nice as some of Apples products are...
By Pirks on 7/2/2009 10:49:11 AM , Rating: 1
Yeah, this "PRO internal batteries" point of view suggests that notebooks should only have internal user-replaceable batteries, and no external ones, which is obviously wrong.


RE: As nice as some of Apples products are...
By weskurtz0081 on 7/2/2009 3:18:28 PM , Rating: 2
I just think we should have the option. We should have the option to carry external batteries, and we should also have the option of swapping out an internal battery. That is the best way to handle it.


By Pirks on 7/2/2009 4:57:06 PM , Rating: 2
Why are you ignoring the option of trading user-replaceable internal battery for a longer lasting non user-replaceable internal battery?


By Jeffk464 on 7/1/2009 11:31:26 AM , Rating: 2
Apple claims that their advanced charging system along with better lithium polymer batteries will give the batteries about a 5 year life span. Thats plenty good for me, I never keep a computer more than a couple years. This new tech along with led back lit displays, intels new ultra low voltage core 2 processors, and SSD hard drives should give grate life with small battery packs. Acers new timeline laptops claim 8 hour batter life on a standard 6 cell lipo, with the mac battery tech the battery life would be ridiculous. The next year should produce some great laptops and with windows 7 we will also have a great OS. Hopefully other manufacturers will copy Macs lead as I am a windows user set in my ways.


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