I sell whitebooks (third pary notebooks). With the release of Sonoma the platform took a little bit of a power hit. Despite lowering power with including SATA, DDR2 (on die termination is a big plus for laptops), and a few other tweeks the inclusion of PCI-Express negated all of those benefits. one line of mobile PCI-express takes up the same power as a 4x AGP implementation. So every 1 line to that graphics card will decrease your battery life by a few minuits. That is why ATI and NVIDIA have their portable PCI-express chips drop down to one or two lanes when on battery and go back up to 4 or (sometimes) 8 when pluged in. It saves ten to fifteen minutes droping the performance. Granted the LCD still sucks up more power then any other component, that is why most people are praying for OLED screen soon (no more backlight).
Oh, and the stuff ATI and Nvidia tell system intigrators and the public are often different. They have to tell us some of the tricks they use to make the PR true.
I get that on my 12"iBook with a Radeon 9200 Mobility and single battery today if I lower the brightness a little. Every piece of news I have seen too indicates that future laptop processors will use less power. Windows laptop makers are talking of 6-7 hour battery life as well for future laptops. I don't think it is unreasonable.
The components that suck up power in a Sonoma based DTR: Monitor, GPU, optical drive, CPU, hard drive, wifi, northbridge (wifi and northbridge are sometimes about the same when not searching).
Monitor improvements are done through light sensors and soon sensors detecting where you are actualy looking and dimming that part of the screen. In five to ten years expect OLED screens that drop screen power usage by 70%+.
GPU: GPus are keept in place through clock throteling and manipulation of active PCI-express lanes. Soon we will start seeing good gate clocking/throteling implementations in mobile GPUs.
Optical Drive: you have a motor, often multiple lasers, and they are now spinning at over 12x DVD speed.
CPU: Currently improvements are done through manipulation of gates (changing gate construction material, ability to turn off portions of the chip, etc) and the KISS method to design (keep it simple stupid). With Yonah we will have dual core processors that, when on battery power, will switch between the two cores to keep heat down (gates leak more the hotter they get).
Hard drive: Currently hard drive consumption is keept down by keeping then spinning slower then in desktops. In the future hybrid drives will come out that use large "smart caches" of about 64 to 256 megs in size to store most of the information used in normal work. This will result in a 90%+ drop in hard drive power and access usage with transfers in the 100s of megs a seccond for everyday usage. Also this will allow "instant on" in many circumstances. The OS will save the basic OS components and active application components in the smart cache before going into hibrinate. You can then turn on your computer and as the drive spins up it will quickly load all of the basic OS components and everything else. By then the drive has spun up and has started sending the rest of the information and this cuts down access time and speed. Furthermore since most people dont do multimedia things often it would be simple to transfer documents and other commonly used files that wont fit in memory to the smart cache and you now have read/wite speeds over 100 megs a seccond.
This is actualy something Microsoft is trying to push with a few other companies for Longhorn. just think what a 30%+ speed increase in hard drive access could do? This also cuts down on how often that hard drive needs to spin up and read so it drematicly cuts down power there too.
Then again this is from my experience as a system intigrator and PC repair specialist.
Sure, I have no issue with larger widescreen models. I just don't feel it's that practical for a 12" screen. Either you lose screen real estate or the the resoltion is so high that text is too fine to read. The DPI of the current iBook is 106DPI I believe and without being able to change system font sizes like Windows, any more would be a problem.
true, the worst thing you can do for power is to increase screen size. And having a 12" wide screen is insain using Apple LCDs (there are some ultra density ones that when teamed up with a OS that suports proper font scaling looks great). Infact I want Apple to make HD screens for their powebook line. I want as wondeful a picture on a HD one as on a 15 or 17 inch powerbook.
I think the problem with battery life is the batteries, not other components. Batteries today are bulky, heavy and don't last nearly enough. Of course, that's not just an Apple problem, but it is an area where R&D $$$ could be invested.
Well there is a physical limit to how the density of battery fluids. Apple could use the space in their batterys more smartly (they do wast a pretty good amount of space), but most of the problem is physical. You can fit in more l-ion electrochemicals without making the battery physicly bigger or compressing the chemicles (which makes it heavier anyways, is more costly, and is more dangerus).
Fuel cells are the best bet. Those are 10 years off before they become common in laptops though.
where is the future of any laptop the neat thing about apple they are year or so ahead of other companies, no one other than apple is willing to make a mark, and take a chance, e.g. no floppy, usb, titanium the list goes on. so you need to think 2 years ahead on the typical cows of wintel to see the apple future which will put a major spark in the industry. that's why intel likes the synergy. they want to move faster ahead to flex it's muscles compared to rivals.
Apple is both ahead and behind. Apple controls the platform so they can do a 180 turn m uch faster then someone with a larger install base and competition with the platform components. It also helps that Apple targets people that tend to have more money then the bottom of the line Dell market. They can put premium features in a premium package easily.
USB was actualy a IBM compatable technology, FireWire was the Apple technology. It was a few years latter that Apple fully embrased USB. Also I would like to point out that the thinkpad actualy tends to be where new laptop technologies are tried out first (touch pad improvements, sudden motion sensor, new Centrino technologies, light sensors, etc).
Apple however does like to be bleeding edge whenever it comes to media. Everything else they tend to be slightly ahead of the IBM compatable generic market.