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MacBook Air firmware updated to support replacement batteries

post #1 of 19
Thread Starter 
Apple this past weekend released a firmware update for its MacBook Air line of ultra-thin notebooks that bundles support for a new series of replacement batteries.

The 623K update requires Mac OS X 10.5.7Â*and makes modifications to the notebook's micro-controller on the logic board that controls the power functions, thermal management, the sleep LED, and battery.

Apple said the update will deliver compatibility for a new series of internal MacBook Air replacement batteries that are making their way to its repair depots and other Apple authorized service repair centers. The company, however, did not say how the new wave of batteries differs from their predecessors.

Introduced in January of last year, the MacBook Air was the first modern-day Apple notebook to include internal batteries that are not easily serviceable by users. Since then, similar batteries have found their way into the company's 13- to 17-inch MacBook Pro offerings.

The Mac maker says that advanced chemistry and adaptive charging allows the batteries to maintain charging capabilities longer and determines the optimal way to charge the batteryÂs cells.
post #2 of 19
Is it really so hard to design it so the battery can be replaced by people at home?
post #3 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by chronster View Post

Is it really so hard to design it so the battery can be replaced by people at home?

You can if you have a screwdriver handy.
post #4 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by chronster View Post

Is it really so hard to design it so the battery can be replaced by people at home?

Its likely some sort of health and safety rubbish! It should only take someone in an apple store a minute or two to swap one - but i guess having to actually go to the store sucks.
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post #5 of 19
I've owned 5 notebooks over the last 16 years and have bought exactly 0 replacement batteries. I kinda wish I had delayed my MBP purchase by 6 months tbh.
post #6 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by chronster View Post

Is it really so hard to design it so the battery can be replaced by people at home?

few years ago there was a few stories in the media about people buying the cheapest brand x battery on ebay for their cell phone or laptop and having it explode and some mobile phone makers got sued.

Apple probably wants to avoid this and it's an easy way to increase the profit per laptop sold. win win
post #7 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by chronster View Post

Is it really so hard to design it so the battery can be replaced by people at home?

No but then think of all the the unemployed geniuses it would create.
post #8 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by al_bundy View Post

Apple probably wants to avoid this and it's an easy way to increase the profit per laptop sold. win win

Apple will replace the battery in a MacBook Air for $129, this is the battery and labor. Considering that $129 is the starting cost of batteries from most manufacturer's (OEMs not 3rd-party), it really isn't a bad price. The only problem is that you have to bring it to Apple and if you don't live near an Apple Store or a service provider then it could be a real time consuming task.
post #9 of 19
I guess the number of times someone actually has to replace their battery is so few and far between it's acceptable. Besides that, going to the store to buy a proper battery probably takes just as long as going to an apple store and having them deal with it.
post #10 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by chronster View Post

Is it really so hard to design it so the battery can be replaced by people at home?

So every yokel in a trailerpark can throw the old one out in the trash?
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post #11 of 19
You have to make a trip anyway. If you replaced the battery yourself you'd have to take it somewhere for proper recycling/disposal. (Right?) You might as well make a trip to an Apple service provider. And while you're there you see all the pretty new products! Obviously Apple doesn't mind you having a reason to come into the store.

The technical benefit of internal batteries has been obvious: longer battery life because of larger battery size because of the absence of layers of casing.
post #12 of 19
Some people don't know how to use a screwdriver, apparently.
post #13 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by cranfordio View Post

Apple will replace the battery in a MacBook Air for $129, this is the battery and labor. Considering that $129 is the starting cost of batteries from most manufacturer's (OEMs not 3rd-party), it really isn't a bad price. The only problem is that you have to bring it to Apple and if you don't live near an Apple Store or a service provider then it could be a real time consuming task.


apple's price is most likely A LOT LESS. everyone makes money off the accessories.

i have a 5 year old Dell Inspiron and the battery is dying. $179 or so from Dell and around $100 from Staples. I bet it's the same battery and Dell probably pays $30 for them
post #14 of 19
I have CoolBook on my Air. Voltage at 0.9V at all speeds. The fan is almost always quiet now.

It's working so well that I think I'd rather wait for other people to go ahead and download this update. See how the fan behaves and if there is any impact on performance or battery life.
post #15 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by chronster View Post

I guess the number of times someone actually has to replace their battery is so few and far between it's acceptable. Besides that, going to the store to buy a proper battery probably takes just as long as going to an apple store and having them deal with it.

With the new 5 year lifespan before reaching 80% efficiency there will likely be few original owners requiring the change. In fact, I've had Apple replace batteries that were 3 years old at no charge to me, so they could send you a box, you ship it off on Monday, they replace it on Tuesday and you receive it on Wednesday. It's a one time inconvenience that most likely will never come up.

Now let's get rid of the optical drives of their other machines.
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post #16 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by chronster View Post

Is it really so hard to design it so the battery can be replaced by people at home?

Didn't you watch the fun informational video about how much better non-replaceable batteries. Given the insane battery life of the latest notebooks, I'd say there's no way anyone can call B.S. on Apple on this one. With 7hr battery life on a full-featured 15" notebook, plus an estimated 5yr lifespan (we'll see how true that one is) and both things only attributable to the fact that the battery can be optimized without worrying about being removable, I think non-replaceable actually makes for the better product for *most* people, hands down.

Quote:
Originally Posted by solipsism View Post

Now let's get rid of the optical drives of their other machines.

Hell yeah, at this point, it's already possible to boot off USB, right? So all they need to do is release SnowLeopard on little flash drives, and imagine how thin and light they can start making notebooks. It's about time software makers started switching to release stuff on flash. It's better than disks in so many ways, it's mind-boggling that they're still releasing disks.
post #17 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

Introduced in January of last year, the MacBook Air was the first modern-day Apple notebook to include internal batteries that are not easily serviceable by users.

Just out of curiosity, did Apple ever release internal battery notebooks in the old days?
post #18 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by chronster View Post

Is it really so hard to design it so the battery can be replaced by people at home?

Yes. And no.

1 - You could replace the battery yourself, given a replacement and a screwdriver.

2 - Using the old type of replaceable battery would require slightly increasing the thickness of the MBA (look at how they're packaged), and result in decreased battery life per charge. Notice how much of the older approach is used up in battery case, battery bay hardware, etc etc etc.

3 - The current MBA battery uses space much more eficiently, and there is now room for more "battery", and less battery package.
post #19 of 19
I have had to replace the battery on an iBook G4 (under recall warranty) - on a MacBook Pro 13" - and on a Dell.

On my work ThinkPad that I had a few years ago I had two batteries which was great for long airplane trips or a day spent in a data center without a 110 outlet anywhere nearby - and those both got to where they would only hold about 20% of the original charge after only about 3 years. On my current ThinkPad I have two extended batteries which are approaching 2 years old and they each hold about 2 hours of charge each - they were somewhere between 2.5 and 3 hours when they were new.

Just pointing out that there is a lot of variation in notebooks, batteries, problems, work-habits, access to power outlets, etc.
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