Tablet vs. Laptop: Pros and Cons of Replacing a Laptop with a Tablet

I remember when I started using Apple’s first iPad in 2010; I realized that this was the future of computing. It was a small, thin, (relatively) light device that allowed me to perform many of the tasks that I performed. No more mouse or trackpad, and no more keyboard; the keyboard was on the display itself, but only when I needed it. I could use it anywhere, in any position, even lying down in bed. But could a tablet replace a laptop?

When you’re on the road, you need to bring one or several computing devices with you. Your smartphone may not be sufficient for the work you need to accomplish, so you probably also bring a laptop on your journeys. But, with the power and flexibility of today’s tablets, do you really need a laptop? Can you do all or most of the work you need with a tablet? In this article, we look at the pros and cons of replacing a laptop with a tablet.

Read the rest of the article on The Startup Finance Blog.

Hey Apple, Fix This: it’s time to give up thinness for a bigger battery

Apple has a problem with batteries. In fact, the problem is so serious that the company had to make a radical decision in the latest update of macOS: they removed the battery time indicator. This appeared when you clicked the Battery menu extra in your menu bar, and it displayed an estimate of how much battery time was remaining on your laptop. Apple claimed this was removed because it was inaccurate; yet that indicator had been present on OS X for as long as I remember.

What suddenly made it inaccurate? The fact that many users are seeing far less than the 10 hours of battery life that Apple advertises with the new MacBook Pro? It wasn’t just Consumer Reports that saw this problem; lots of users and reviewers have seen it as well.

Read the rest of the article on Macworld.

macOS Update Removes Battery Time Remaining Estimate on Laptops

Okay, this one’s weird. Apple says the battery estimate on laptops is inaccurate. So rather than fix it, they’ve removed it in the macOS 10.12.2 update.

Over at The Loop, Jim Dalrymple has some info he got from Apple. He says:

The reason for removing it is very simple: it wasn’t accurate.

Apple said the percentage is accurate, but because of the dynamic ways we use the computer, the time remaining indicator couldn’t accurately keep up with what users were doing.

Michael Tsai, on his blog, says:

I tend to think that an inaccurate (but constantly updating) estimate is better than none. Otherwise, people will have to make their own estimates, which takes attention and is likely to be even less accurate. I never liked how the estimate claimed to be accurate down to the minute.

And John Gruber opined, on Daring Fireball:

This is like being late for work and fixing it by breaking your watch.

Here’s the problem: it’s never, ever been accurate. I have a 12″ MacBook, which is, right now, 93% charged, and it says that I have 4:43 remaining. This is for a laptop which, at the time it was sold (it’s about 18 months old), claimed “all day battery life.” I’ve kvetched to AppleCare about this, notably because Time Machine was using a lot of battery power, and I eventually gave up. They were unable to resolve the issue, and kept bouncing it around to different senior advisors. (When they followed up at all; I had to set up three different cases, because the first two senior advisors just dropped the case and never got back to me.)

I don’t actually know how long the battery on this Mac lasts. And I never will. But I know that it is longer than the estimated amount of time. Since I wrote 4:43 above, the estimate has changed to 5:03, and I’m not doing anything on the laptop (I’m writing this article on my iMac).

This, in my opinion, is an example of Apple totally screwing something up. They sell these devices estimating their total battery life in hours, yet they can’t even have a way of showing people a more or less correct amount of time remaining? Removing the battery indicator is like telling someone to put some food in the oven until it’s cooked, rather than saying for how long. (Oh, and the battery indicator on my MacBook now reads 5:33. And it’s not doing anything.)

Want an easy way to find out how much time you have left? Open Terminal (in /Applications/Utilities), and type this command, then press return:

pmset -g batt

As you can see, my battery time remaining now estimates at 5:53.

Battery terminal

Or use Bjango’s iStat Menus, which is a great way of keeping tabs on your Mac. It has a battery module; here’s what it looks like:

Istat menus battery

Yep, my MacBook now says 6:03…

Note: Many people are saying that since iOS doesn’t indicate the remaining time, why should a Mac do so? There are very different use cases between the two types of device. In most cases, you don’t use an iOS device continuously (I know, some people do “real” work on an iPad…). As such, the remaining time isn’t much help when you use your phone for a minute here, five minutes there, etc. With a laptop, you are more often working for longer periods of time, so it’s essential to know how much time you can work before you have to charge the device.

How to Kill Your Laptop Battery: Leave an iTunes Store Page Open in iTunes

If you use a laptop, and your battery dies quickly, check and see if you accidentally left iTunes open on an iTunes Store page, even in the background. Look how much CPU it uses to simply display a front page, and rotate graphics in the carrousel at the top of the page (the display is from iStat Menus):

Store cpu1

Lest you think that a lot of the CPU that iTunes is using is to play that Allman Brothers song, here’s what happens if I switch out of the iTunes Store.

Store cpu2

Together, iTunes and coreaudiod, which processes audio played by iTunes or other apps, use about 7% of CPU.

So don’t leave iTunes open on an iTunes Store page in the background if you’re using a laptop.

Microsoft Wants to Help You Switch from a Mac to a Surface Book

Back in the day, around ten years ago, there was a big deal about “switchers” moving from PCs to Macs. Apple was promoting this, teaching people how they could switch to a Mac, how to copy their files, and how to understand what was different on Mac OS X.

Well, as Bob Dylan says, things have changed.

Now, Microsoft is telling MacBook users how to switch to their Surface Book.

Screen Shot 2015 10 27 at 2 19 55 PM

It’s true that this is an attractive device, and everything I’ve heard about Windows 10 is very positive. (I don’t have a PC, and haven’t had one in several years; I have no need to run Windows, but I’d be curious to try out Windows 10.) Microsoft has got game, and it’s good to see competition that will make Apple work harder to improve its hardware and software. And it’s interesting to see Microsoft hit back at Apple with an ad campaign that Apple used more than ten years ago.

Six Colors: The MacBook doesn’t need you to love it, but someone will

A long time ago I learned an important lesson about being a product reviewer: Always consider the audience for a product. They’re who you’re writing for. I have a recent-model MacBook Air, so am unlikely to be interested in buying a new MacBook—but the facts of my personal relationship with technology should not really matter when I’m thinking about the bigger picture.

I think about that a lot at times like this, because I suspect a lot of the reaction to the MacBook among people who follow technology and Apple on the Internet comes from a similar place. People are often offended when a product exists that they wouldn’t buy, one that isn’t even targeted at them.

We are so used to Apple making shiny new stuff that we want to buy, that when a device appears whose design decisions are completely at odds with what we value, it’s off-putting. And that’s one reason why the MacBook (and the Apple Watch Edition, for that matter) drive some people batty.

Jason Snell nails it. Not every Apple product is for everyone.

I had the original MacBook Air, back in 2008, with the SSD. (I didn’t buy it; it was a gift from a client.) It was an overpriced computer – even more so with the SSD – but, wow, it was sleek and that SSD made up for any lack of speed the processor offered.

I loved that computer. I used it for about three years, then handed it down; it was still working until about a year ago.

I currently have a 13″ retina MacBook Pro as my second computer. It’s two years old, and it’s time for an upgrade. So the new Mac Book is for me. I don’t care if it’s not blazingly fast; it’ll still be faster than I need for a laptop. I’ve got a retina iMac for the stuff that hits the processor.

I get how some people are still holding on to old habits of using USB sticks to transfer data. Sneakernet’s still a thing, apparently? Not only has Apple tried to make the wireless transfer of files easier via AirDrop (when it works), but these days it’s easier than ever to share files via Dropbox and Google Drive and the like. Most people don’t need to use USB flash drives regularly. Apple shouldn’t build new tech to support people who are reluctant to give up old habits.

I actually often use sneakernet to transfer data to and from the MacBook Pro; or at least I did until recently. I had a two-year old AirPort Extreme, and only got about 3-4 MB/sec. I upgraded to the latest model, and I now get about 15 MB/sec; this is good, but I think we need faster wireless. If I’m copying a movie from my iMac to my laptop, it shouldn’t take ten minutes over wi-fi.

via Six Colors: The MacBook doesn’t need you to love it, but someone will.