Lithium Polymer: 46% More Capacity, 0% More Weight

Today Apple is shipping lithium polymer batteries in all of its MacBook Pros. Only the original, white MacBook is offered with a removable battery. Most impressive are the capacities Apple is able to offer thanks to these new batteries.

The table below shows the old and new battery capacities:

  New Lithium Polymer Battery (Integrated)

Old Lithium Ion Battery (Removable)

Increase in Capacity
MacBook Pro 13-inch 58WHr 45WHr 29%
MacBook Pro 15-inch 73WHr 50WHr 46%
MacBook Pro 17-inch 95WHr 68WHr 40%

 

Now there was no 13” MacBook Pro before, so I’m comparing to the old aluminum 13” MacBook. Also, the 17” MacBook Pro was the first and only unibody 17” MacBook Pro so the old battery I’m comparing it to was the previous generation 17” MBP battery.


73Whr?!? Holy crap

The biggest winner is the 15” MacBook Pro, it gains a 46% increase in battery capacity with zero increase in size or weight. The new 15” MacBook Pro is the same size and weight (5.5lbs) as the previous model, it just has a 46% larger battery. Did I mention it’s cheaper too?

Index Other Hardware Changes
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  • JimmiG - Friday, June 12, 2009 - link

    Yeah, a few quick battery tests under Windows would be nice. From what I've read, Macbooks only have excellent battery life under OSX. Under Windows, they are like any other PC with a 50 - 90whr battery.

    Sadly this seems to be one aspect Microsoft won't "fix" with Windows7 - although I guess it's mostly the fault of hardware manufacturers releasing poorly optimized drivers and firmwares...
    Reply
  • solipsism - Friday, June 12, 2009 - link

    • The 13” MBP has a screen that is now equivalent to the 13” MBA. The change apparently happened a month or two ago, silently. People on some Apple-based forums were reporting that their new MB had a screen like their MBA/MBP or that it was unlike their previous MB. This is one reason that the rumour of the MB going Pro was likely.

    • The 60W power supply is indeed for the low-end 15” MBP with 9400M. Apple’s MBP tech specs list both for their 15” mode: "60W or 85W MagSafe Power Adapter with cable management system"
    Reply
  • aliasfox - Friday, June 12, 2009 - link

    I haven't confirmed this, but at WWDC it was announced that the new 15" has 60% better color gamut than the old one, and that the new 13" MBP matches the new 15" screen. A 60% increase in color gamut suggests a move to RGB LED, same as the nice top end Dell and Acer screens that Anandtech reviewed a couple of months ago. The other reason the MBP is now "Pro" could be the re-inclusion of Firewire. Yay! Reply
  • iwodo - Friday, June 12, 2009 - link

    If, and only IF, they are using RGB LED ( which i highly doubt it, honestly )
    Then Macbook Pro would be a Bargain to buy for its price.

    I also wonder why they aren't advertising RGB LED if they are indeed using it.
    The only reason i think the increase of 60% Gamut may be of Better Panel. However i also know there are no Panel Tech that could increase Gamut by 60%...

    Anybody shine some light on this?
    Reply
  • PlasmaBomb - Saturday, June 13, 2009 - link

    A site that reviews notebooks mentions the +60% Gamut, but doesn't mention RGB LED that I can see. Although the review is still ongoing. Reply
  • santala - Friday, June 12, 2009 - link

    I recently took apart an old Macbook white battery and it was already using these thin cells and not the traditional round ones. The battery was dead and at least a year old, more likely two or three, perhaps as old as the first Intel Macbooks.

    So the story about "new" technology is simply not true. I would argue that Macbooks have always used these thin battery cells, they're just able to cram more of them (or bigger ones) into the things once they don't have to worry about the part about the being removable.
    Reply
  • santala - Friday, June 12, 2009 - link

    And obviously the old ones were Li-Ion. Reply
  • PlasmaBomb - Friday, June 12, 2009 - link

    You are confusing a rectangular battery with rectangular cells.

    I presume your battery looks like this -
    http://pics.bbzzdd.com/users/PlasmaBomb/Mid_2006.J...">http://pics.bbzzdd.com/users/PlasmaBomb/Mid_2006.J...

    Which is indeed a rectangular lithium ion pack. It will however contain cylindrical cells. Also lithium ion != lithium polymer.
    Reply
  • RikkiTikkiTavi - Friday, June 12, 2009 - link

    Apple simply got their facts wrong here. Lithium ion batteries can be made in cylindrical forms, but are usually flat.
    Scientific explanation (from yours truly, an aerospace engineer with some, limited experience on the matter):
    Conventional batteries (that is everything up to and including Ni-MH cells) work by dissolving metal in a solution, and then restoring it to recharge. While lithium has excellent properties to store energy, recharging wouldn't work, for reasons I will not elaborate upon here (ask if you really want to know).
    So instead of forming a lithium metal grid, in the recharged state the lithium ions are stored in a different medium, often a porous Graphite grid.
    Graphite is most easily cut into slim slices, and looses a lot of its ion-storing capacity when forced into a cylindrical form.

    Even if you don't use Graphite, you still have the problem, that, in order to achieve sufficient power density to supply a laptop, you have to expand the working surface of your battery by forming layers. These have to be of equal capacity, or else the power density would drop before the unit is completely discharged. No problem with flat layers, but in a cylindrical cell, you'd have to make the inner layers thicker and the outer layers thinner, to keep the capacity constant, which creates numerous problems.

    Yes, cylindrical Li-ion cells exist, but no, they are not common.
    Reply
  • ncbill - Saturday, June 13, 2009 - link

    Many popular li-ion cells are cylindrical.

    The 18500 Li-Ion cylindrical cell is very common and widely used.

    For anything from laptop batteries to the Tesla Roadster.
    Reply

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