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OS X Mavericks' new App Nap, Timer Coalescing features target battery efficiency

post #1 of 33
Thread Starter 
Apple plans to advance its leadership in notebook battery efficiency with a series of new features in OS X Mavericks designed to achieve substantial power savings while maintaining or even improving upon the "snappy" responsiveness of the system.

MacBook Pro internals


In addition to the previously considered Compressed Memory feature of the upcoming OS X Mavericks, which aims primarily to make the most efficient use of available memory while enhancing battery life on the side, Apple has profiled two other advanced features of the new release that are aimed directly at extending battery life and two enhancements targeting web browsing and video playback.

App Nap



The first is App Nap, a new OS architecture feature that monitors each running application to determine what priority it should get in terms of processor, network and disk resources.

For example, if an app is running invisibly the background, OS X Mavericks can transfer disk and processor priority to the foreground app, improving the apparent responsiveness of the system.

The system analyses several factors to determine which apps should get full access to the CPU, storage and network resources and which should be throttled back.

Among the heuristics Apple applies to calculate and assign priority are whether a background app's windows are even visible or whether it playing audio the user wants to hear. Developers can also opt out of App Nap while performing an important task.

But Apple's overall design philosophy for App Nap keeps the feature active by default for apps in the new release, requiring fewer necessary changes for existing apps in order to benefit, while delivering the greatest energy savings possible. Developers can also make minor changes to take even fuller advantage of the new feature.

App Nap gets particularly aggressive in throttling back less important tasks when the user is running on battery power. A series of actions seek to keep CPU cores, disks and network devices idle and in low power modes as much as possible.

Timer Coalescing



Integrated with App Nap is a parallel feature named Timer Coalescing that aims to coordinate the resource demands from different apps and background task so that once system resources are awakened to do necessary work, a variety of other pending tasks can be performed at the same time.

This delivers real results in efficiency because without such coordination, the system's components must be constantly woken from idle to handle a flurry of randomly occurring tasks, preventing the system from ever getting enough sleep to take advantage of idle mode power savings.

Timer Coalescing
Source: Apple


With Timer Coalescing, the system's various tasks are either deferred or shifted so that they can be executed at the same intervals, enabling processor cores to go fully idle for longer periods of time in between.

Timer Coalescing
Source: Apple


"Grouping operations allows your CPU to spend more time in a low-power idle state, using energy more efficiently with no compromise in performance," Apple notes in its OS X advanced technologies preview of OS X Mavericks.

Timer Coalescing's coordination of tasks is illustrated in before and after images portraying a 2 second snapshot of activity (below).

Timer CoalescingTimer Coalescing
Source: Apple


"This can dramatically increase the amount of time that the processor spends idling," the company adds in its core technology overview. Apple notes that OS X Mavericks new efficiency features can reduce battery consumption by up to 23 percent, with little or no impact apparent to the user.

Safari Power Saver



Noted in our previous report on enhancements to Safari 7.0, Apple is now suspending web plugins until the user decides to view them.

"Many websites display animations using power-hungry plug-ins that can drain precious battery life," Apple notes in a feature aimed directly at Adobe Flash animations and ads.

"The new Safari Power Saver feature recognizes the difference between what you came to see and the stuff you probably didn?t. If the content is front and center it plays as usual. But if it?s off in the margins, Safari Power Saver pauses it. You?ll see a static preview, and it won?t run until you click to play it."

Timer Coalescing
Source: Apple


This feature works similar to the existing "Click to Flash" plugin, displaying a placeholder users can click to load as they choose (above). Apple says that with the new feature, "browsing websites with plug-in content will use up to 35 percent less CPU power."

Combined with other advances in Safari 7, Apple claims a performance advantage over both Mozilla Firefox and Google Chrome, while using significantly less power than either alternative (below).


Safari 7



Enhanced hardware acceleration for H.264 media playback



Also new on the battery efficiency front in OS X Mavericks is enhanced support for offloading media playback to the GPU to take full advantage of hardware acceleration.

In the new release, OS X's "video playback engine takes greater advantage of the efficient graphics hardware in your Mac and reduces the frequency of disk access," Apple states.

The improvements apply to both audio and video playback. Apple says users can "go ahead and watch iTunes HD TV shows and movies full screen even when you?re unplugged" and states "your CPU will use up to 35 percent less energy while you?re watching video."

Apple's focus on MPEG H.264 standards-based media playback and its optimizations for hardware acceleration on both OS X and iOS stand in stark contrast to efforts by Google and Mozilla to push ideological objectives that relied upon less sophisticated and efficient software codecs.

Google's efforts to subvert H.264 playback on the web with its own WebM have not only failed to gain traction, but have done so at the expense of optimizing Android or ChromeOS to play real world media, leaving its users with devices that run hotter and deliver either inferior playback performance or require massive batteries.
post #2 of 33

Why to post all these obvious things?  That too 1 week old things?

post #3 of 33
I'm looking forward to seeing what these features are going to be like on the new 'all day' MacBook Airs...
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Pot is legal in North Korea.
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post #4 of 33
Quote:
Originally Posted by GTR View Post

I'm looking forward to seeing what these features are going to be like on the new 'all day' MacBook Airs...

I'm curious as well. It would also be interesting to see how much battery life it can eek out of older hardware.
post #5 of 33
Running the preview now on an early 2008 MBP, 15-inch, 6GB RAM.

It's a thing of beauty. Some minor bugs (it's still early, obviously), but it seems to perform better than ML (and ML did beautifully on my hardware.)
post #6 of 33

This is really clever stuff and should rightfully be generating more excitement in the tech press.

 

Apple should simply have claimed to have invented a better battery.  This would be easier for the morons that call themselves tech journalists and financial analysts to comprehend.  Giving the details how Apple achieves superior battery life appeals to us geeks, but it confuses the idiots whose pea brains shut down before they get to the result of longer battery life.

 

Just tell them you've invented a lithium-titanium battery with 50% longer life and they'll go ape-s***!

post #7 of 33

Intel just announced that they are delaying their 14 nm Tic or process upgrade by one year.  We are watching Moore's Law die a slow and steady death and Apple seems to be the only company who has all the pieces in place to take advantage.  They have their own low power processor, an advanced OS that they are making more and more energy efficient, and if the current trend continues not having a FAB could be a huge advantage. Intel is waiting for some new technology that opens the door to more improvements that may have different manufacturing requirements.  If there is a process wall at 14 or 10 nm it will make things really difficult for Samsung's foundry as well. Samsung's diversification will certainly help them weather this.  

post #8 of 33
Quote:
Originally Posted by GTR View Post

I'm looking forward to seeing what these features are going to be like on the new 'all day' MacBook Airs...

100%, makes me seriously consider upgrading my 11" 2010 air, i have the rMBP 15, but with Mavericks & more haswell updates coming, i'm wondering what the batt life will be like on the rMBP 13......

Damn you apple for making me want to buy all your stuff...

post #9 of 33

There's no question Mavericks is making OSX the most advanced operating system in the world even better. Quite the contrast as Windows 8 goes into the tank while OSX Mavericks is being praised.

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“What would I do? I’d shut Apple down and give the money back to the shareholders”

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post #10 of 33

As a Snow Leopard lover and Lion/Mountain Lion avoider, it's going to be really hard to resist Mavericks.

post #11 of 33
Quote:
Originally Posted by macFanDave View Post

This is really clever stuff and should rightfully be generating more excitement in the tech press.

 

Apple should simply have claimed to have invented a better battery.  This would be easier for the morons that call themselves tech journalists and financial analysts to comprehend.  Giving the details how Apple achieves superior battery life appeals to us geeks, but it confuses the idiots whose pea brains shut down before they get to the result of longer battery life.

 

Just tell them you've invented a lithium-titanium battery with 50% longer life and they'll go ape-s***!

Good point(s)! :) It was impressive in the Keynote where Apple demoed a "resource intensive" website window and when another window covered it, the CPU requirements went way down. Very, very cool! :)

post #12 of 33
Quote:
Originally Posted by macFanDave View Post

This is really clever stuff and should rightfully be generating more excitement in the tech press.

 

Indeed.  Bud Tribble's presentation on the new power management technology in Mavericks was one of the most interesting sessions at WWDC this year.  It's inspiring to see how deeply they thought about this (from hardware to software).

 
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post #13 of 33

My friend installed mavericks on his new Air, and it was giving him battery life estimates of 15 hrs. Utterly insane. The people that bitch about Apple's lack of innovation miss the innovations in front of their eyes, hundreds of which are required to make such a thin laptop with by far the best battery life in the industry. That's innovation with direct benefit to every single user. 

post #14 of 33
Originally Posted by macFanDave View Post

This is really clever stuff and should rightfully be generating more excitement in the tech press.

 

I see your point.  But maybe slow and steady low-profile improvements work to Apple's advantage.

Constant improvements all add up, as we've seen with countless Apple hardware and software

products over the years.  Better to let the Intels and Microsofts of the world underestimate what

Apple is doing.  By the time they "get it," it will be too late for them to catch up.

 

For example, the MacBook Air was originally slow and expensive.  Now it's reasonably fast and 

reasonably priced, the 11.6" MacBook Air being Apple's cheapest Mac.  Intel has dumped $300 million

into the Ultrabook Initiative to help PC OEMs clone the MacBook Air profitably.  No joy.

 

And the little old "Rip. Mix. Burn." iTunes gradually evolved into a media and app juggernaut that

drives Apple's hardware sales.  How many wannabes have attempted to copy iTunes?  

Tons.  Most of them far too late.  Because Apple gradually evolved iTunes while everyone else

was focused on cutting corners.

 

The media love a crisis.  Especially online media, who have fallen into the click-bait trap just like

everyone else.  We won't hear much about OS X and its technology until Windows hits the wall

in the post-PC era.  And even then, we'll only hear things like "Meanwhile, Apple has managed to

keep the Mac relevant in the post-PC era by intelligently improving OS X."  

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post #15 of 33
Anybody know if current apps need to be updated to take advantage of App Nap? Lightroom and Photoshop are brutal on my battery life.
post #16 of 33
Quote:
Originally Posted by Robert Mark View Post

Anybody know if current apps need to be updated to take advantage of App Nap? Lightroom and Photoshop are brutal on my battery life.

I think, if I remember correctly from the keynote, that it is a part of the OS and you get the basic parts for free. App developers can do other, more advanced, things to improve the AppNap feature; but in the end you get something for the cost of the upgrade.

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-- Mike Eggleston
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post #17 of 33
Quote:
Originally Posted by SockRolid View Post

For example, the MacBook Air was originally slow and expensive.  Now it's reasonably fast and 

reasonably priced, the 11.6" MacBook Air being Apple's cheapest Mac.  Intel has dumped $300 million

into the Ultrabook Initiative to help PC OEMs clone the MacBook Air profitably.  No joy.

 

Actually the Mac Mini is "Apple's cheapest Mac" at $599

post #18 of 33

Does anyone on here know if these new features are limited to SSD-based Macs or available to all Macs qualified to run Maveriks?

I just bought my MBP 13" in January (HDD, non-retina) and "Power Nap" was excluded from my OS because Apple claims those types of features were limited to only SSD-Based Macs.  Was a bummer to read that from Apple's own site and I fear the same will be true with these features.

post #19 of 33
2013 Air running Mavericks GM? Battery life?
Citing unnamed sources with limited but direct knowledge of the rumoured device - Comedy Insider (Feb 2014)
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Citing unnamed sources with limited but direct knowledge of the rumoured device - Comedy Insider (Feb 2014)
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post #20 of 33
Quote:
Originally Posted by antkm1 View Post

Does anyone on here know if these new features are limited to SSD-based Macs or available to all Macs qualified to run Maveriks?
I just bought my MBP 13" in January (HDD, non-retina) and "Power Nap" was excluded from my OS because Apple claims those types of features were limited to only SSD-Based Macs.  Was a bummer to read that from Apple's own site and I fear the same will be true with these features.

Yes, App Nap & Compressed Memory actually help HDD systems even more because avoiding disk use with a mechanical drive is even more important.
post #21 of 33
Quote:
Originally Posted by Slurpy View Post

My friend installed mavericks on his new Air, and it was giving him battery life estimates of 15 hrs. Utterly insane. The people that bitch about Apple's lack of innovation miss the innovations in front of their eyes, hundreds of which are required to make such a thin laptop with by far the best battery life in the industry. That's innovation with direct benefit to every single user. 

Hear hear.
Citing unnamed sources with limited but direct knowledge of the rumoured device - Comedy Insider (Feb 2014)
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Citing unnamed sources with limited but direct knowledge of the rumoured device - Comedy Insider (Feb 2014)
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post #22 of 33
Quote:
Originally Posted by macFanDave View Post

This is really clever stuff and should rightfully be generating more excitement in the tech press.

 

Apple should simply have claimed to have invented a better battery.  This would be easier for the morons that call themselves tech journalists and financial analysts to comprehend.  Giving the details how Apple achieves superior battery life appeals to us geeks, but it confuses the idiots whose pea brains shut down before they get to the result of longer battery life.

 

Just tell them you've invented a lithium-titanium battery with 50% longer life and they'll go ape-s***!

Couldn't agree more.  What people really care about is speed, weight/size, battery life, and screen resolution.  Adjustments to any of the four require tradeoffs to the others.  Apple decided to use almost all the hardware improvements this year to increase battery life.  They are going to get an apparent speed boost and additional battery life from software.  IMO, this was totally the right move.  The competition is abismal when it comes to battery life.  Apple could have just sat back and said, we're the best, no need to improve.  Instead they kicked the competition in the nuts; and they kicked them hard.  The competition is now 5 years behind in the balance between battery life/ speed/weight/resolution (and the gap continues to grow).

post #23 of 33

My guess is apple focused on battery life because they don't have a suitable retina display for the macbook air (without killing battery life and margins) and they don't wan't to change the size of the MBA b/c of the cost associated with tooling the machines that produce the aluminum unibody.  If you don't want to upgrade the display or change the size, the obvious solution is improve battery life.

post #24 of 33

I'm wondering what features will get skipped for the Core 2 Duo models... Anyone know?

post #25 of 33
Quote:
Originally Posted by Quadra 610 View Post

Running the preview now on an early 2008 MBP, 15-inch, 6GB RAM.

It's a thing of beauty. Some minor bugs (it's still early, obviously), but it seems to perform better than ML (and ML did beautifully on my hardware.)

I have this exact model, also with the 6GB RAM upgrade.  Can you tell me if the Maps app works?

How about the multiple displays with their own dock?

 

Just curious- it's how to get any feedback for this old model. She is still plenty fast!  I've added a Corsair GT SSD, a Seagate 500GB hybrid drive in the opti-bay, and USB and eSata via the expresscard.  

How about you? 

post #26 of 33
Quote:
Originally Posted by GadgetCanadaV2 View Post

There's no question Mavericks is making OSX the most advanced operating system in the world even better. Quite the contrast as Windows 8 goes into the tank while OSX Mavericks is being praised.

You are most correct here, I've been going through the WWDC videos and can confirm your description, Mavericks will be the most advanced OS in the world when it ships. Many features will go directly to making for a better user experience. I'm also left with the impression that Mavericks will in effect upgrade old hardware by performing better and focusing resources on the app the user is involved with at the time. Simply put Mavericks could allow many to put off hardware upgrades.

There is much that hasn't been released publicly but to summarize not much hasn't been touched.
post #27 of 33
Quote:
Originally Posted by Robert Mark View Post

Anybody know if current apps need to be updated to take advantage of App Nap? Lightroom and Photoshop are brutal on my battery life.

Please read the article again. If that doesn't clear things up get a developers account and view the related videos. In a nut shell though App Nap is about background apps. If Photoshop or Lightroom are in the foreground you will not save a lot of battery life. That of course assumes that it is the foreground components of these apps eating up your batteries.
post #28 of 33
Quote:
Originally Posted by ash471 View Post

My guess is apple focused on battery life because they don't have a suitable retina display for the macbook air (without killing battery life and margins) and they don't wan't to change the size of the MBA b/c of the cost associated with tooling the machines that produce the aluminum unibody.  If you don't want to upgrade the display or change the size, the obvious solution is improve battery life.

If it was obvious everybody else would have done the same thing. Beyond that good improvements come in increments. You need better battery life before you focus on new screens that demand more power. Each increment builds on the previous.

It is sort of like when Apple introduced GCD and lib dispatch. You have to install the foundation before the app writers can take advantage of it. Even then it may take more than one rev to leverage the feature. This is why OpenGL 4 support is so important, it takes awhile for developers to take advantage of such suPport.
post #29 of 33
Quote:
Originally Posted by Nevember View Post

I have this exact model, also with the 6GB RAM upgrade.  Can you tell me if the Maps app works?



How about the multiple displays with their own dock?



 



Just curious- it's how to get any feedback for this old model. She is still plenty fast!  I've added a Corsair GT SSD, a Seagate 500GB hybrid drive in the opti-bay, and USB and eSata via the expresscard.  



How about you? 



Maps app appears to work just fine.

Multiple displays . . . I only have a main display (24 inch) in addition to the MBP's display. Works as promised.

I have to say, the early '08 MBP is solid as a rock. A great machine. And as you said, still quite fast. She performed beautifully with ML, and seems to run even better under Mavericks.
post #30 of 33
This is cute.

If you download an app from the Mac App Store, but you haven't used it yet, it will show twinkling stars around it in Launchpad (to signify that it's new and you have yet to run it.)
post #31 of 33
Quote:
Originally Posted by Zozman View Post

100%, makes me seriously consider upgrading my 11" 2010 air, i have the rMBP 15, but with Mavericks & more haswell updates coming, i'm wondering what the batt life will be like on the rMBP 13......

Damn you apple for making me want to buy all your stuff...

This is the exact reason I just upgraded my MacBook Air. I have had an 11" MacBook Air and it is my favorite Mac I've ever owned, besides the battery life. I was going to get a rMBP but with the new enhanced batteries on the 11", I went ahead and ordered a new one.

post #32 of 33
Quote:
Originally Posted by auxio View Post

Indeed.  Bud Tribble's presentation on the new power management technology in Mavericks was one of the most interesting sessions at WWDC this year.  It's inspiring to see how deeply they thought about this (from hardware to software).

I just went and had a look at that video upon your suggestion. Pretty good.
Citing unnamed sources with limited but direct knowledge of the rumoured device - Comedy Insider (Feb 2014)
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Citing unnamed sources with limited but direct knowledge of the rumoured device - Comedy Insider (Feb 2014)
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post #33 of 33

I really like the idea of coalescing timers. With the extremely low power states Haswell has, it will be interesting to see the effects on battery life, more so on newer models than old ones.

 

On the other hand Contacts, Notes and Calendar in Mavericks have all had the iOS 7 GUI treatment :( Calendar is ok but Maverick Notes looks like Mountain Lion Notes would look if it were on it's death bed (i.e. sickly). And Maverick Contacts just looks unfinished.

 

I tried browsing to my ML partition to see if the old Contacts and Notes apps could be dragged across to Mavericks and used instead but there is a big "no entry" sign on the icon. For some reason they have disabled the older apps entirely. Since there is ABI compatibility between versions of OS X (since 10.4 I think?) I don't know why it is blocking these.

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