The Little MacBook Pro That Could, Batteries That Can't, a Touch That Might
The iPhone 3GS has some great new features, but some users are finding they
have to disable them in order to stretch the handset's battery life. "Why would
anyone get an iPhone if they had to 'turn off everything fancy?'" objected
blogger Pete Mortensen in a discussion on Cult of Mac. "I got it to be a PC, not
a slick feature phone."
The Apple-focused blogosphere is still chugging along, even as the summer sun
starts pounding down. Aside from some reports of overheating iPhones, more and
more users seem to be using external battery packs to give their iPhones a new
boost of juice.
Meanwhile, the 13-inch MacBook Pro seems to be selling surprisingly well, and
tracks left behind by an elusive next-generation iPod touch have been spotted in
Got a Green Battery?
While Apple's (Nasdaq:
AAPL) new MacBooks have been getting good reviews for the long lives of their
built-in batteries, the iPhone still isn't getting battery raves. Take Pete
Mortensen, posting on Cult
of Mac, who writes, "if you're actually interested in using the phone for
its intended use (web browsing, e-mail and
video), battery life is ridiculously inadequate. In spite of assurances at WWDC,
the 3GS only lasts marginally longer than the 3G,
and I often need to charge up mid-afternoon to make sure i have decent battery
for my train ride home."
While some owners are getting battery life they consider excellent, it
difficult to say if they are actually using their iPhones all that much.
"I must admit, I have been considering buying a battery pack," commented Kev
Robinson on the Cult of Mac post. "Since I upgraded from my 3G the battery life
seems worse than ever. I could previously go to uni 10-6 and it would still be
going strong but now that rarely happens. I have to put screen brightness right
down and turn off wifi and 3G. It's the only downside to the iPhone, but it is a
hell of a downside."
But do you really need an extra external battery?
"Seriously, turn off Push. That thing is a killer for battery," commented Bob
"Turn the screen to auto and half brightness. Once you've run it in stock
settings with everything fancy turned off (even try turning off 3G), you'll see
a dramatic increase in battery. Either that or stop using it as a PC," he added.
"Why would anyone get an iPhone if they had to 'turn off everything fancy?'"
chimed in Mortensen. "I got it to be a PC, not a slick feature phone."
Slower With 3.0
Joel Johnson's review of the Mophie Juice Pack Air on Boing
Boing Gadgets sparked similar comments.
"My complaints about the iPhone battery stem not from games (I think I have
two on there), but from email — if you use it like you'd use a Blackberry and
have a busy day, the 3G's battery is toast in seven hours," commented
The whole battery issue brings up a lot of questions, certainly, not the
least of which is what's going on with older iPhone 3G units that owners haven't
upgraded to the 3GS? There've been some rumblings that 3G owners might be losing
juice faster than before. Some, of course, turned on push capabilities to test
finding their iPhones via Mobile Me and Apple's iPhone OS 3.0 software update.
So, might newly noted battery issues be focused all on push?
"iPhone OS 3.0 is backwards compatible with all iPhones but was written for
iPhone 3GS," said Chris Hazelton, research director of mobile and wireless for
"The performance and responsiveness of iPhone 3G using 3.0 OS is slower,
particularly noticeable with the accelerometer. This affects battery performance
as well, in that 3.0 OS is designed to work with the more power efficient 3GS —
so 3G users are seeing reduced battery life after software update," he told
"Compared to other smartphones, iPhone has always trailed in battery
performance due to a large high-resolution touchscreen, 3G/WiFi connectivity,
and [because] users use it more than traditional smartphones. … It is more
comfortable for browsing and gaming — two power-intensive activities," he
As for push, the feature means means the iPhone is constantly pinging email
servers, Hazelton said.
"Turning this off means iPhone only polls the server once every 5 minutes or
more, so it's much more power-efficient to keep off," he explained. "But that's
not acceptable for many enterprise users."
MacBook Sales Ramp Back Up
MacBook sales will be strong during the third quarter of 2009, expects Piper
Jaffray's Apple-focused analyst Gene Munster, according to reports. It seems
Apple has been having trouble keeping its new 13-inch MacBook Pro in stock. The
former 13-inch MacBook not only gained the "pro" moniker and some pro-only
benefits, like an improved screen and backlit keyboard, but also picked up a
"Either because Apple didn't plan well enough, or customers were encouraged
by the price, Apple's Web site shows that it's now a 7-to-10-day delay to order
one of the 13-inch MacBook Pro configurations," noted Erica Ogg on Cnet.com.
Regardless of seemingly new popularity, not everyone is completely happy.
"I argue that, in spite of soaring MacBook sales, it could be better if Apple
offered matte screens," commented MacMatte2009 on the Cnet.com post on the
And reader kelmon, who currently uses a 17-inch MBP with a matte screen but
would prefer a 15-inch MBP, added, "I suspect that I'm going to be sticking with
a 17" model next time but I am consistently amazed that Apple does not at least
offer the Build To Order option of an anti-glare display for the 15" model
despite customer demand for one. By all means offer the 15" MBP with a glossy
display by default but at least provide the option of an anti-glare one for
those that need it."
Next-Gen iPod Touch Spotted in the Wild
Pinch Media has started detecting the "iPod 3,1" version number in its
analytics reporting from App Store applications. The currently shipping iPod
touch is model "iPod 2,1" so this new track left by the device is believed to
make it an upcoming iPod touch.
Pinch Media seems to believe that someone is testing the iPod.
"The first time an application using Pinch Analytics was run by a 'iPod3,1'
device occurred in late April 2009," PinchMedia reported, adding, "Applications
using Pinch Analytics were run by 'iPod 3,1' devices very infrequently until
late May 2009, when the pace picked up slightly. As of this date, a few dozen
distinct 'iPod 3,1' devices have run around two dozen different applications
using Pinch Analytics."
On the MacRumors.com post on the subject, readers jumped at the chance to
speculate on the specs.
"64 Gb, Camera Video, Voice Control iPod, that'd be enough to last me until
my AT&T (NYSE:
T) contract is up, along with Apple and AT&T's too!" commented angemon89.
"I hope it's a little faster than the iPhone 3GS, has a GPS/compass built-in
and has the option of a 3G internet card (so that you can use the internet with
it, but not make phone calls.)," added djgamble.
No matter what, September has been the historical month for Apple to
introduce new iPods, so we'll have to wait until then to get our hands on one.