Arghh.... Apple....

I'll start off by saying that I've always been a fan of Apple, they make great hardware and software, and I've always had a pretty good time with all their stuff. Until recently. Well, it seems Apple have some pretty major issues with their hardware design. Most Apple fans seem to think you must have Apple Care for the inevitable battery or logic board failure (not they even cover batteries, anyway). Well, the only reason these issues occur is because of improper cooling due to Apple's incessant need to make all their computers super thin and super light. What this means is that they can barely keep up with Intel's 105C max temperature. That is an absolute maximum for the CPU die, and the computer will shutdown at that temp. In reality, the temperature should almost never get above about 90C under full load, something Apple could do if they only increases the thickness of their laptops by a couple millimeters, and added a second fan to help cooling. Otherwise, you're basically stuck having to carry around a cooling pad to help out the cooling, which negates all reason to have a thin and light computer.

If you only ever use your computer inside an air conditioned building, you probably wont have much a problem, but then battery life and thinness aren't qualities you probably care about, either. Well, Apple relies on the whole chassis of the laptop to act as a heat sink, in both directions. So, the laptop will either be cooled or heated via the ambient environment. Fine if you do only work in an A/C building, but not fine if you like go outside and get some fresh air, whilst also working. (Why have a ultraportable laptop if you'll be stuck inside all day, anyway?)

So, in summary, all of Apple's hardware issues can be solved with them just making a proper cooling system that doesn't rely on the environment. Obviously, if you're workload isn't very intensive (i.e. You can do everything within a web browser), then none of this may even matter at all.

Now, I do appreciate what Apple is doing, because computers should only be getting smaller, we're just not anywhere close to the point of being able to do that successfully right now. Even with the new MacBook 12" Retina, it tends to throttle horribly under load, so it can't be used to do much more then web browsing. And ARM CPUs aren't anywhere near powerful enough right now. Eventually all of this will get worked out, and we'll have super light and thing laptops that don't throttle and don't get ridiculously hot, but that day is not today, nor will it be in the next 2 years. Maybe in 5 years.

(Side note: I own a mid-2012 MacBook Air. It's battery is less then half capacity and only lasts about an hour, maybe 2. Batteries should last longer then this, the one in iPad 3rd gen is still around 90% capacity, and it's the same age. Basically, the high heat of the CPU, and Apple's carelessness towards proper cooling is sending their hardware to an early grave.)


Popular Posts