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The accelerometer is so the laptop can tell it's falling and park the... oh wait...
The engineers at iFixit have turned their tools on Apple's flash new M2-powered MacBook Air to find a startling lack of cooling. Before cracking the beast open, the teardown team took a moment to wonder at the amount of ports crammed into a machine that is even slimmer than its predecessor, noting the return of MagSafe, two …
What's crap about this one?
At my pre-corona employer I had an Air M1 to play with, and it was an absolutely amazing machine.
That kind of speed (including emulated Windows 3D games) in a fan-less laptop with instant (not just the near-instant seen on the best Windows laptops) wake-up, was fscking amazing.
When I left, was tempted to buy one for myself. I 100% would have if I trusted Apple to maintain the Rosetta Intel emulation layer for any length of time. Apple's track record didn't leave me with confidence in that regard, so I opted for a Ryzen 4700U powered HP Envy 13 convertible.
Hmm. You haven’t actually used one have you? I have several laptops (Lenovo, Dell and Apple), and the MacBook Air is the pick of the crop. Even with umpteen programs (IDEs, Office, Zoom etc) all running at the same time, it never seems to struggle or skip a beat. It runs cool if not stone cold - and I never have to remember to bring a power supply with me when I go to the office because it will happily go 10 hours with battery life to spare without being plugged in. I wish I could say the same of my other laptops. Oh, and it’s slim enough and light enough that I can carry it on my bike for the 20 mile ride to the office without feeling like I’m carrying a lead brick.
Yes, for video and render workloads there are quicker machines (that’s why the MacBook Pro exists after all), but for the work that most people need to do the Air is exactly the right machine for the job. And whilst Intel may have faster chips in absolute terms, it has nothing even approaching this level of performance in this form factor.
I have an old 2011 Macbook air, it's useless for OSX but I shoved Linux Mint on it and it runs likes a dream, all the hardware was found and worked perfectly. A testament to both the solid engineering of Apple kit ( 11 years old and still working fine! ) and also the Linux community to making an O/S that works perfectly off the bat. I remember fighting with Linux only 7-8 years ago to get stuff working, no longer the case.
Macbook laptops are class items, I still have an old Macbook "whitey" up in the spare room that still works fine after 15 years, boots up and runs its old OSX version.
If my current Lenovo Legion 7 is still working fine in 15 years time I'll be both very surprised and very pleased.
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If they are crap, then why do an awful lot of people like them beyond their aesthetics?
I absolutely swear by mine for DAW applications on the road, no x86 derivative has even the remotest price/performance/battery life and build quality for the same money.
And I absolutely swear by one for the missus too, because I "know" I never have to deal with Windows Update shiat, ever.
For the right applications they are cracking machines, and laptop-pricing is unlike other Apple products is generally competitive.
Sure there are some annoyances like the direction of the app store, repairability etc. but that's mostly true of Windoze and other laptops in the same hardware territory.
I get it. You think they are crap. Well, why not just ignore the things then?
And no one has called it "pot" for decades... I know this because I just asked my son if people still called it "pot". The answer? Only old people... like me. Oh...
I'm sitting here typing this on an M2 Air. I didn't pay for it but I would actually buy one of these. It's been working all day, no cable attached and no sign of any heat related problems. Battery life is amazing, I would say a bit like an electric car with a 700 mile range, the difference between it and alternatives.
The accelerometer is so the laptop can tell it's falling and park the
That is exactly what it was originally added for, though I'm not sure why they've left it when that purpose is no longer valid. Perhaps it is using the same logic board as an iPad Pro, and the cost savings from removing the accelerometer the iPad requires is not worth maintaining a separate SKU?
That was a simpler type of accelerometer that only provided basic readouts, these M2 macs (and the new Studio Display) are the first to contain this newer accelerometer that provides readouts on multiple axis at the same time in high precision. Due to it's inclusion on the new studio display Apple might be planning to use it as part of their video stabilisation system.
A MacBook does not have an IPX68 certified rating in the misrepresented water resistance claims the device is advertised/sold with.
That being said, they are missing a servicing trick like with posh/expensive watches getting the water seal changed for regular fees.
So if you put your watched up arm in a bath, pool, river, sink etc to retrieve a dropped iPhone - well within the IPX rating- Tag Heuer (other watch manufacturers are available) would not tell you to fuck- off/£500 to repair, whereas Apple would if they started to malfunction due to water ingress.
Mock all you like, I personally stopped buying Apple kit about 5 years ago as it was overpriced in my mind, but I still have my old Apple laptops 2007 and 2011 macbooksand they both still work perfectly. I no longer use them day to day as I've switched to Lenovo but much as people mock Apple, their kit is pretty hardy stuff and it does keep going long after Apple have abandoned support for it.
Everything they do is about maximising profit but, in this case, I can understand the thinking. The Air is predicated on maximum battery life, not data crunching and it's much, much easier to throttle chips than run a cooling system. This also makes it more reliable,because there a fewer moving parts, oh, and the fan doesn't need to be powered. And, with lots of cores and unified memory, the user is unlikely to notice cores being slowed down or switched off. Guaranteed that people who buy them will trumpet the battery life, lack of noise, heat over whether it has the best frame rate in a particular game.
I won't be buying one of these myself because I think some of the other compromises would affect some of my work more, and I'm usually desk bound anyway, but I've seen far worse hardware compromises in mobile devices.
and – strangely enough for an Apple product – a headphone jack.
Haven't Apple computers always come with a headphone jack? Why is it strange?
Come on El' Reg, I know you like to flog a joke, but it's been 5 years!
The donkey's dead, the flies have all long since departed all that's left is the dull thump of a punchline on a long bleached skeleton.
At least you stopped with 'fruit themed maker of computers' I suppose.
*Looks quizzically at two Apple computers on desk, neither of which has a headphone jack.*
I can see a use for a headphone jack if this is being used to do video editing, as bluetooth often adds enough latency to put the audio out of sync and although a pro at their desk is likely to have a standalone audio interface, one would hope that it would be possible to use a computer at this price and performance level without external hardware being essential.
Oh, I thought they pretty much all did. The 2 I own do (one M1 mini, the other an ancient air), the previous 2 I owned did (both iMacs), and the ones I checked on the website all do.
Which ones do you have? Is it that macbook they did with like 1 USB-C port or something??
I still think the joke's tired though. (Especially, as by the sounds of this they've taken it on board) ;)
I was thinking of the time Amstrad brought out a new model of it "PC compatible", just at the time everybody began putting fans on them. Amstrad hit the same performance but did not need a fan. Did people go, "Wow, now that's what I call /good/ design"? No, it failed in the market place because everybody ridiculed it for not having one. So they revamped it; "If they want a fan, give 'em a bloody fan" said Mr. Sugar. But it was too late, his brand image had gone and he pulled out of the computer market altogether.
Fingers crossed for Apple this time round.
You’re talking about the PC1512 there - and the whole fan fiasco was a smear by the manufacturers of competing, but much more expensive, IBM clones. Amstrad responded by releasing the PC1640 which had genuine improvements, not least EGA compatibility and an extra slot, as well as that unnecessary fan (in the monitor, not the system unit). It sold like hot cakes. Amstrads brand was certainly not dented - and they continued to sell well for another ten years or thereabouts.
By that time though, the entire computing business was over-commoditised - every computer was super cheap and in effect an Amstrad. So Amstrad pulled out of the market, their niche now being occupied by everyone else. Of course, super cheapness meant no profit to innovate with - so killing the Archimedes, Amiga, the ST Falcon and very nearly the Mac. These were not good times to be interested in computers. But that’s another story.
I had a few experiences with the Amstrads, both 1512 and 1640. They were dreadful pieces of rubbish, a moderately decent technical spec let right down by rubbish engineering. The cases rattled and buzzed constantly, as soon as you fixed one irritating background noise, another one popped up.
The accelerometer is there. So when you drop it and it stops working. When you take it into the apple store to be fixed. They can tell if your lying and have damaged their hardware. There should really also be a flex sensor in the lid. For when you trap something more than an atom thick in the lid and the screen breaks
My M1 has a space between the keyboard and screen of, as you say, about an atom. IMHO, it's a design failure - I can't use a privacy screen, nor can I get a camera cover. The latter Apple might argue away with "our software is secure...", but the privacy screen is a must-have if working anywhere in public.
The issue is much of this crap is NOT field tested in Asia, even it is made there.
The result is the "water detectors" turn red even if it has never been near real water, and the units. are ALWAYS throttling in a factory env.
where >40Deg back ground is the norm.
It is a complete pain in the ass to not have any sort of cooling, unless ur an Eskimo.