Do you remember the Mac’s of yesteryear? They were heavy, bulky, thick, and getting anything north of four hours of battery life was a miracle, right? Those days are gone but new days are on the horizon.
Today’s Mac notebooks– which make up about 80-percent of all the Mac’s sold– are thinner, lighter, more powerful, come with better screens, and, yes, better battery life. Today’s entry-level Mac is the $999 MacBook Air and Apple claims 12 hours between charges. Guess who tops that?
All Day Battery
Whatever Apple is doing to manage power usage on current devices seems somewhat anemic relative to competitors. Yes, iPhone X’s battery life is excellent, and I can squeeze two to three days from it by switching to Low Power Mode, but that doesn’t exist on Mac or iPad.
The rule of thumb for iPad is 10-percent of battery life per hour of on-screen usage. Yes, battery life varies depending upon usage, but Apple says iPads– all of them– get about nine to 10-hours of usage before a charge.
What about the MacBook? Apple says 10 to 12 hours of usage, again, depending upon apps and usage. MacBook Pro? The larger battery drives a larger Retina display so we’re still stuck at about 10 hours of use.
Sorry, Apple. You’re behind the times. Two new phrases have hit the personal computer industry and Apple has no dog in either fight. ‘Always On’ means a notebook with up to 20 hours of usage. ‘Always Connected’ means a notebook with a cellphone network data connection options– you know, like iPhone and iPad. Always On and Always Connected are two new features to PC notebooks that Apple does not have.
It’s easy to see why Apple does not put cellphone-like 4G connectivity into the Mac. First, that would raise the price. Second, that means the Mac could connect to the internet without using iPhone as a HotSpot. Apple might not sell as many Macs or iPhones.
How is it possible to get such battery life from a PC notebook? Instead of using Intel Inside– chips notorious for gobbling up battery life on notebooks– smarter PC manufacturers have begun installing cellphone chips into notebooks instead. Uh huh. That’s right. Think of an ARM-based CPU in a small notebook with a big battery (today’s notebooks are little more than a big screen, a keyboard, a battery, and a small circuit board that holds memory, storage, CPU, etc.).
Could Apple put one of its own Apple-designed, ARM-based A-series CPUs into a Mac? Sure. The A11 Bionic chip in iPhone 8, iPhone 8 Plus, and iPhone X benchmarks as well as any entry-level Mac. If PC makers can do it, so can Apple.
What is the advantage of a notebook that is Always On and Always Connected? Always On means battery life that goes through all of your waking day. Such devices may not always hit 20 hours, but most of us don’t need to be on a notebook that long anyway. What about Always Connected PCs? The time is ripe for all our devices to be online. Always. Apple has iPads with 4G LTE data connections. Even Watch has LTE with call and talk capability built in.
The future of notebooks is here now and it’s Always On and Always Connected.
But Apple doesn’t have such a notebook yet.