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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RE: As nice as some of Apples products are...
By Brandon Hill 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
The anti-Apple crowd is a very insecure group and are never happy with their own gear

put the crack pipe away.

"We can't expect users to use common sense. That would eliminate the need for all sorts of legislation, committees, oversight and lawyers." -- Christopher Jennings

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