MacBook Pro battery life? 12-13" MacBook?

in Future Apple Hardware edited January 2014
Not that Apple's previously stated laptop specs like "up to five hours" are all that incredibly accurate or applicable to the wide range of variable factors involved in battery life, but they've at least provided me a reasonable ballpark figure for what to expect under conditions of light to moderate power demands. I often get better than 4 1/2 hours of battery life out of my current 12" PowerBook.

With the MacBook, so far Apple seems to be avoiding saying anything one way or the other about expected battery performance. Are the figures simply not in yet? Are the figures bad, and they want to play them down?

While I'm very tempted to order a MacBook Pro, the question of battery life is one thing that gives me pause. The other thing is wondering about is if I want to go up in physical size very much from my 12" PowerBook.

I've owned laptops in both size ranges -- 15" TiBooks and 12" Aluminum PowerBooks. You might not think a 1 lb. and little bit less width and length would make all that much difference, but I've found that the 12" size really does feel a lot more portable. Then again, I do occasionally find myself missing the extra screen real estate of a 15"-er, and, although it's not completely intrinsic to the 12" size range itself, the 12" PowerBook has been treated as the red-headed stepchild of the PowerBook family when it comes to features like illuminated keyboards, gig ethernet, the recent increase in pixel density the 15" and 17" models got (the 12" needed that the most and it was left out!), digital audio, etc.

I have to wonder if there ever will be a 12-13" MacBook, or, considering the way the 12" PowerBook has been treated, if that size range might be abandoned completely in the pro line, left for the iBook and its consumer-grade successors. I think we can all feel certain that a 17" MacBook is on the way in the not-too-distant future -- but that's not something I'm even considering for myself.

If there is a smaller MacBook than the 15" MacBook, will it have a 12"-ish standard aspect display, or perhaps a 13"-ish widescreen? Will it go up in pixel density, or stay in the old 1024x768 range? Will it be more feature-matched with its larger siblings, or still stripped down, perhaps lacking things like the built-in iSight camera?

Despite all of this wondering, I'm tempted to get one of the new MacBooks anyway. I figure I can always eBay it and get most of my money back if, six months from now, the 12-13" MacBook of my dreams appears. Maybe in the meantime I'd discover that I can be happy with the larger (but at least slimmer) 15" size after all. News of decent MacBook battery life could easily tip the balance for me, that's for sure.


  • Reply 1 of 10
    shetlineshetline Posts: 4,695member
    Hmmm... guess things are pretty quiet on the battery life/12-13" front. (Not that I'd gratuitously bump my own thread or anything like that.)
  • Reply 2 of 10
    addaboxaddabox Posts: 12,660member
    At first I didn't really think anything of it, but as each day passes with absolutely nothing being said about battery life I'm starting to get worried. It getting flat out bizarre, and I'm surprised there isn't more of a growing chorus of "Hey, WTF's up with battery life in the new MacBooks?"online.

    After all, battery life is a pretty big deal of laptops, so it's not as if it's some minor point that Apple just overlooked. It's like Apple decided not to tell us what size hard drive these things ship with and nobody seems very worried about it.

    (Crosses fingers) Maybe they're sandbagging so the new models can get a little post Macworld bump of good news? (crosses fingers harder till they snap off)
  • Reply 3 of 10
    Count me in as waiting for a 13" size... Just wish Apple would stop treating the smallest powerbook like a second-class citizen.
  • Reply 4 of 10
    webmailwebmail Posts: 639member
    geeze. I already posted the battery life.

    Seriously guys, did you look at any other notebooks "Cough Cough Azus" that has similar configuration and specs? (Lots of forthcoming pcs, are reviewed online)

    The new Mac Book Pro gets approx 6 hours (real hours, not powerbook g4 hours)

    On a powerbook that was 95% full, I pulled the cord and it said 5:38minutes
  • Reply 5 of 10
    shetlineshetline Posts: 4,695member

    Originally posted by webmail

    geeze. I already posted the battery life.

    I'm just as annoyed as the next guy when some newbie comes along and asked an obvious question the answer to which is plastered over three dozen threads already... but, puhlease. This is hardly the same situation. Battery life has not been talked about much, and any scarce related comments could easily be lost amid the dozens of very active threads discussing practically everything else new out of MWSF other than MacBook battery life.

    Besides, I just used the search feature for these forums, and find absolutely no match for author "webmail", keyword "battery". Sure you are thinking about something you posted elsewhere on another message board?


    On a powerbook that was 95% full, I pulled the cord and it said 5:38minutes

    Those estimated times can be very misleading. I hope to soon see results from a reviewer using a MacBook and really running the battery down until the MacBook cries uncle. Maybe I'm just being too skeptical, but it seems to me if Apple was getting hour battery life out of these things, they'd be crowing about it louder.
  • Reply 6 of 10
    brussellbrussell Posts: 9,812member

    Originally posted by webmail

    The new Mac Book Pro gets approx 6 hours (real hours, not powerbook g4 hours)

    On a powerbook that was 95% full, I pulled the cord and it said 5:38minutes

  • Reply 7 of 10
    kickahakickaha Posts: 8,760member
    I expect we'll see somewhere around 80% of the PB G4 life in the MBP.


    Remember that vague handwaving 'performance-per-watt' chart? G4: 0.27, CoreDuo: 1.05. 1.05/0.27 = 3.89. So just under 4 times the performance for the same electricity needs.

    Now go look at the performance chart, where they claim 4-5x faster than the PB G4. (Granted, that claim is a bit dodgy, as the old PB benchmarks were compiled with gcc, and the new ones with Intel's uber-optimized compiler, or so I hear...)

    Let's split the difference and call it 4.5x as fast.

    3.89/4.5 = 0.86

    So for the same battery, you'd expect to get 86% of the lifetime as you would from the PB G4. I rounded down to 80% because of the new incredibly bright backlight - those things normally suck quite a bit of power.
  • Reply 8 of 10
    addaboxaddabox Posts: 12,660member
    That rat-bastard lying O'Grady thought to check the specs of similarly equipped Core Duo machines in PC land.

    The Acer Travelmate 8200, configured pretty much like the MBP (processor, ram, HD, screen, etc.) claims 6 hours when processor use is set to automatic.

    link He also links to specs for a bunch of other Core Duo machines.

    Can anyone think of a reason OS X and apps (which appears to be the only real difference) would make a difference for battery life? And, how seriously can we take Acer's claimed 6 hours? (hope it's more like real life than some of Apple's numbers).
  • Reply 9 of 10
    Dell says 3.4 hours for its Inspiron 9400. the batter is 53 watt hours compared to the Macs 60 watt hours.

    Can somebody do the maths My brains on strike.
  • Reply 10 of 10
    elixirelixir Posts: 782member
    ummmm the battery life better be around 6 hours.

    i've waited too long for a new laptop

    i much rather have a 13 inch but i cant wait any longer
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